Thursday, September 29, 2005

Monkeys at Feeding Time

So yesterday I was waiting for a chair at one of my favorite petting zoos, UB.

I noticed that the game had an average pot size of 18 big bets!

Watching a couple of the action players, I saw that two of them had short stacks and were putting bets in like feeding pellets in the monkey house. They were sitting across from each other.

When I got my seat, I was to the right of one of the primates, whilst the other was across the table from me.

Knowing they were itching to get all-in, I knew I would have to monitor my strategy to help them achieve their goals with absolutely no way to win the pot, nor any portion of it.

While it might be said that this hand could "play itself," I still kept my mind alert to the fact that I'd like to have their chips in my stack, especially since they were intent on losing everything, then leaving the game. Why be charitable to the other lemmings when the charity should come home first?
Mega shortstacked Flying Lemur with only 3 big bets left is in late position and raises two limpers, including me.

I have A355 ds in middle position.

There are three cold callers, and the previous limper and I call one more.

The other monkey, Tamarin, to my left, calls both bets cold. He has 20 BB's left. Six of us see a flop with 12 small bets and a dead ten cent small blind.

The flop comes 225 rainbow. Come to mama!

Tamarin Monkey bets right out from the BB. Two smooth callers, including yours truly.

PFR Flying Lemur immediately raises. Naw, I didn't see that coming!

One cold call, Tamarin calls, Felicia re-raises. Everyone calls, Lemur reraises all-in, which closes the betting, we all call.

The turn brings a six. Oh, happy day!

It's checked to me, I bet, all call.

The river is a nine, which also brings a runner flush, but who cares, I flopped full! It is possible that one of those primates stayed in all the way with 99, but I'm not stopping now!

Cold calling, passive wacko actually made his flush and thought it was good. He bets right out with: 78KK ds. I raise, two folds and drawing dead flush-monkey flat calls (rats, too bad he couldn't just keep raising me!).

I scoop a pot of over 21 big bets :)

PFR Lemur with mega shortstack had: A44J with a suited ace. He sat out, then left the table shortly thereafter. I managed to get almost four big bets from Tamarin Monkey.

My, O8 is such a great game!

Felicia :)

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Maximizing Value in an Omaha 8 Hand

So here is my less than earth shattering theory about limit Omaha 8 which every decent player already knows (and does), but we never talk about. The "theory" is regarding only one, particular situation, but it is one that happens all the time, every day, on every site.

It is regarding maximizing the wins of any given pot by playing in a deceptive, or tricky manner.

Lots of us have played in the loosest, lowest limit games online. Whether we play at .01/.02 when we first start out, or dive right into something like .50/1, we see players who simply have no clue how to play Omaha.

I play in these games which regularly have six to eight players seeing every flop. Some players simply always see a flop, and claim that anyone who doesn't see every flop in O8 is a "fool." Mostly I keep the chat off, but I went through that phase of reading, in shock, the claims that if we don't see every flop that we are bad players, because we have "so many" hold'em hands, and so many ways to make a hand with four cards, blah, blah. These are the same guys who look so sane at the hold'em tables when they tell me that T5 is the best hold'em hand, since it can make "all" of the straights.

Anyway, I have found there are two ways to play these types of games in a reasonable manner. The first is to be aggressive and raise early, jamming with premium hands before the flop and until one believes he is beaten badly without enough of a chance to win at least half of the hand or get 100% return on his investment. We've all had those days. Raising pre-flop, hitting enough of the flop to keep leading, seeing a turn that probably still has us ahead, and being outdrawn both ways on the river. It happens all the time, every day, online and live, in every available limit that O8 is played.

Ray Zee has helped us conquer that hump, overcome the need to push hands that will eventually be losers if we jam all the way.

Soooo, where does this unspoken, yet well known theory come into play? Well, it comes into play during every hand we play to showdown. It is a type of pot manipulation that has no name (to my knowledge).

I have been trying to think of things to name it. We've all heard of "implied odds," "effective odds," "pot manipulation," "reverse implied odds." All of these things bring to mind something that I'm not trying to define, so naming them thus would only confuse us.Maybe something more along the lines of "future equity," but since what I'm talking about actually occurs during the same hand, that might be confusing, too.

Okay, so say we are in a typical, loose/passive online game of low, fixed stakes. We are dealt something like AA24 with one of the aces suited. We have a frequent raiser on our right. He raises, and since we have so many players left to act behind us that we want in, we cold call only. Seven of us see the flop for two bets.

We flop our dream. Say it's something like 35J with two of our suit. So this is clearly a betting and raising hand, in most circumstances, but then we see that we are in the position where many opponents will call one bet, but not two cold, and the majority of our opponents are to our left, not right.

So the ramming and jamming guys would ask, "So what?" They are thinking in terms of cutting down the field, increasing our chances of winning, putting in as many bets as possible. But are they correct or are they really only very slightly increasing their chances of winning, while letting go of many double turn and river calls?

I maintain that there are many players who will not call two flop bets cold, but will call one or two double sized bets later in the hand if they turn enough to keep them coming and only have to call one small bet on the flop. I further maintain that betting these guys out of the pot on the flop raise will only diminish our expected value later in the hand.

Playing the hand deceptively early on, convincing naive players and aggressive raisers that you have a hand not worthy of a raise, but that you are unsure of where you are in hand, and are simply calling along with the second or third best draw in any direction, is the way to more value when the pot is being pushed.

And don't go thinking that they have some kind of "aha" moment when your hand is shown down. I can state with conviction that they will continue to play their way, and bet into you over and over again, no matter how many times you "play along" with them, passively calling and overcalling until the bets double, or until the river, or even at showdown (if you are getting something like four or more overcalls versus maybe one call by the original bettor if you raise out immediately).

So here we are, with our monster hand. AA24, and the flop is 35J with two of our suit. The original raiser to our right bets out immediately, like we expected. We have a hand that is a clear favorite under almost any circumstances, but we can't think of it like hold'em, we can't think that we HAVE to raise, HAVE to narrow the field, HAVE to get it heads-up in order to give ourselves the best chance to win. Because we are NOT playing hold'em, and our hand will NOT get weaker with many opponents.

So we look for the overcalls. Hmm, five opponents left to act behind us, and we figure all of them will call one small flop bet, but not two. If we raise, we may get one overcall, as well as the original bettor, but we certainly won't get FIVE. And after all, five overcalls puts seven more small bets into the pot. Yum yum, think of the equity we are getting in a scoop situation, or three-quarters. Why raise out the potential for about 20 big bets down the river, for only maybe 10 right now? We know how players get tied to a hand. We know players are lulled into thinking their second and third nut one-way hands must be good since Mr. "rock-tight" only called along after the raiser on the flop and/or turn and/or river. We KNOW they will keep calling if they catch just enough to make them think they have a chance, however slight it might be. We see three guys raising and reraising with a lone A2 low and no chance at the high. Mindless, pointless raising when WE know they are being quartered or even worse. Literally throwing at least 25 cents on the dollar into the fireplace with every bet and raise. We know that, but the great thing is, THEY don't! Even better, they never will. I have been playing with the same, low limit schlubs for the past few years on UB, and they simply don't get better, they never learn. They cap with a bare A2 every time the low is possible, no matter HOW many other opponents have that same A2!

So there you have it. The un-named theory. How to maximize the value of a potential scooping hand in low limit, passive Omaha 8.
Anyway, it's tough for me to write without rambling, and to write completely coherently at any given time, but during these months after chemo, I tend to make less sense than ever. Which is why I wanted some help with this subject.

So the real question is: what should we call this theory, when we play a hand a particular way in order to maximize the value of each pot we are shoved?

There, that is the krux of it. God help me.

Felicia :)

Monday, September 26, 2005

The Theory of Limit Omaha 8

I am working on a theory of limit O8. It is something that every decent players knows, but I have yet to see a name attributed to it.

Sort of like the theory that David wrote about in TPFAP. The "gap theory." He said everyone knew about it, but he had yet to see it written down, discussed openly, with a name assigned.

I have no illusions that players don't know about this theory, but we don't really ever discuss it, nor have I seen any kind of unique name attributed to the theory. I can't figure out what I should call it, because every name that comes to mind is something that is completely different in another game, like HE or Stud.

Anyway, I just wanted to type out a quick FYI, so that I didn't forget to write about it, as soon as I get it more clearly cemented in my mind.

Maybe I should conduct a poll, so that the right name can be used.

Felicia :)