Sunday, January 15, 2006

Omaha Stakes

A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. Believing I kinda know how to play PL Omaha (high), I've played 200-300 hands of $25 PL on Stars over the last week and at one point managed to win $100 or so at the game. Nothing like success to buoy one's confidence, eh? These low-level games on Stars are mostly passive affairs. Everyone's willing to limp for a quarter and pots are raised preflop less than half the time. Yours truly is more than willing to limp along with the rest of the lemmings and isn't doing much PF raising, either.

I've read how poker is a counter-intuitive game. One's desire (curiousity) to see the next card is hard-wired while the game demands that you dump your hand the vast majority of times. On one of last season's WSOP broadcasts, Phil Hellmuth can be heard bragging about how no one else in the world would have (correctly) laid down the hand he had just released. While there is a growing body of opinion that Mr. Hellmuth is the biggest donk this side of (fill in the blank), that gross over-overstatement helps drive home a point. In a game where margins are woefully thin, the correct decision far more often than not is to fold, preserve your chips/cash, and wait for a better spot.

After my last few less-than-successful Omaha sessions, I must learn to be less ... optimistic that I'm only a card away from a pretty-good hand. It's cost me a bunch of money. Sure, there were some bad runner-runner beats in the mix. But the rule of thumb for Omaha with all of its possible hand combination appears to be: If you think they might have it, chances are they do. If you get re-raised while holding the king-high flush on the river, chances are good he completed his flush with the ace. Starting to lurk in the 2+2 Forums for Omaha advice, but still have much to learn.

On a semi-related note, my MTT spiral downward continues. I'm 0 for my last 12, including five-straight Stars 180s. Last night, managed to finish 21st -- three off the money. Got nothing to play for the last 45 minutes and ran out of time. This morning's experience, however, leaves me babbling incoherently. Stayed patient. Doubled up early then saw my stack halved by a bad play with A-Q. Got nothing for a while and then managed with some big pocket pairs and a few steals to get myself to just under 10,000 with 28 or 29 left. Looking good at that point.

I try to steal with Q-9 suited on the button with blinds at 200/400/25. Small-stacked big blind has been sitting out hoping to luck into the money. Small blind has around 13,000 chips and calls. The flop comes 7s Ac Qd. He bets 800 and I call. Turn is the Ad. He checks. I have no idea where I'm at and make a mindless 1,600-chip bet. He calls. Turn is the 10c. He bets 2,000 and I don't know what else to do but fold -- I can't believe I'm not beat at that point. I'm left with T5,276.

Second break soon begins. I'm 21/27. A few hands into that third hour, I get A-Ko and raise to 1,800. The formerly sleeping blind, who has gotten back into the action by winning a decent-sized pot with a lucky donk play, calls. He has me slightly outchipped. The flop comes low cards. I check and so does he. The turn is a king. All-righty then. I bet 1,200, attempting to appear weak and he comes over the top. Insta-call. He has K-J. I'm a 12 million-to-1 favorite and anticipating with great glee raking in an 11,000-chip pot. The jack, of course, spikes on the river and I'm done in once again.

Sonuvabitch that hurts. Sharp-metal-spike-through-the-eye hurts. Misplayed the hand? Maybe. A pot-sized continuation bet post-flop would have made me pot committed with a drawing hand. I realize now I probably would have pushed him off had I done just that. And, if I don't play the Q-9 hand so stupidly, I at least have chips left.

I apologize. I've broken one of the Golden Blogger Rules by telling a Bad Beat Story. It's my first, and for the sake of my sanity, hopefully my last.


Anonymous Billy said...

At this rate, you'll be joining me in the free-chip sit-and-gos soon enough. That said, my Neteller account should be ready in a day or so.

12:52 PM  

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