Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Why am I getting two more cards?

I'm about two-thirds of the way through "Pot-Limit Omaha" by Jeff Hwang. I'm probably also two-thirds of the way through my Omaha experiment.
Both, I think, are going well.
The experiment is playing Omaha almost exclusively for a few months. I know Hold 'Em. You know Hold 'Em. Everyone knows Hold 'Em.
I think I overheard the twins the other day discussing the merits of raising with a small pocket pair in EP.
But not many people know Omaha. I mean, they think they do. But they don't. I'm trying to take advantage of that before they learn.
I see Omaha as Hold 'Em, circa 2004. At the limits I'm playing - $25 if you care - all you have to do is play tight and make lots of "huge" laydowns (which aren't all that huge really) and push with serious draws and you're good.
It reminds me of the old days: Play smart and wait for the mistakes. Football teams win titles playing that way. 
But that doesn't appear to be enough now. It's enough if you don't mind breaking even or making $1.50 a month. But the fish have mostly disappeared, and I'm not sure Barney Frank getting his sensible law approved (gay legislators rock) will bring them back. It seems to me that Hold 'Em's time has passed. I won't give up on it, but I also can't devote the time needed to the game to get a whole lot better than solid, and solid's marginally profitable these days.
Omaha? Well, that's different. Lots of money to be made there if you can stand swings, suckouts and folding flopped straights. And so far I'm right. I obviously need to improve at the game - a lot, actually - but so far solid's working well in Omaha.
I also noticed a nice side effect. When I played Hold 'Em the other day, I was much more aggressive. No, really. Because I do bluff in Omaha - checking is weak and needs to be attacked - and if I can bluff in Omaha, bluffing in Hold 'Em is easy, sort of like running a 5K after completing a half marathon a month ago.
The best thing I like about Hwang's book so far, other than giving me clear, easy-to-follow rules that will help me play a solid, tight game, is it's teaching me how to be aggressive in Omaha. Omaha can be a passive game - it's a fine play to call with a flopped straight with four players left to act behind you on a board with flush potential, for instance - and it's easy to slip into just calling when you have it and checking when you don't rather than taking advantage of position.
Position is just as important in Omaha as in Hold 'Em.
I have a lot to learn, but poker's a lot of fun again, and the best part is I'm learning something new. That's something I never take for granted.


Memphis MOJO said...

"I think I overheard the twins the other day discussing the merits of raising with a small pocket pair in EP."

Too funny.

BWoP said...

Hooray for omadonks!

Shrike said...


Now if I can survive this PLO downswing ...


Mike G said...

I've heard this theory before and it makes sense. More bad players in Omaha. My only problem is I tried Omaha and I hate it. I'd rather just play tight hold em in the right (loose) games and win that way.