Sunday, May 20, 2018

Project Phaser: Phase 3.4 ($350 Limit Omaha Hi-Lo) The Torture Chamber

Before I get into today's post and word on Omaha Hi-Lo. Skip it if you know how to play Omaha.

In Omaha each player is dealt 4 cards instead of 2 and you must use EXACTLY 2 cards from your hand and EXACTLY 3 cards from the board to make your hand (in hold'em you can use 0, 1 or 2 cards from your hand and 5, 4 or 3 from the board). In Omaha Hi-Lo the highest hand and the lowest hand split the pot, but in order to make a low you have to be able to make a 5 card hand with 5 cards of different rank 8 and below. If there is no low hand the high hand gets the entire pot. Aces are both the highest card and the lowest card making them very powerful and you can use the same cards or different cards for the high hand and low hand. The best starting hand is AA23 with A2 of the same suit and A3 of the same suit, but generally any hand with A2 or A3 in it is good as you can make a really strong low hand and hope to back into some kind of high hand. Aces are great, low cards are good, high cards are OK and middling cards like 6,7,8,9 are total garbage. Also this game is usually played fixed limit meaning you can't just bet all of your chips, there are set amounts that you can bet or raise (equal to the one big blind before the flop and on the flop, and 2 big blinds on the turn or river). Boom! That's Omaha Hi-Lo.

Now on to the actual tournament!

We started with 85 players each getting 10,000 in chips and blinds of 25/50 and I found myself at a great table.

But before I get to the tournament a word on word choice. There are a ton of common phrases for bad player such as: fish, donkeys (or just donks if you prefer!), suckers, chumps, clowns, rubes and so on. The classy thing to do is to call them recreational players, because after all no one is born knowing how to play poker and losing players are there to have fun. I think this is the right thing to do and I try to use this most respectful term whenever I can.

With that said, these chumps were HIGHLY recreational. Donks don't get more recreational than these clowns!

The guy two to my right did not fold a single hand preflop. Not one! On the second or third hand he got to showdown and I saw him turn over 9864 and I was like "Recreational Player Alert!" Then another guy raised what turned out to be J844 under the gun. The other players were not much better!

I wanted to play this tournament because tournament players don't get to play much Omaha and Omaha players don't get to play many tournaments. I've played some number in the hundreds of hours of Omaha, thousands and thousands of tournaments and some poker stuff translates across all games. But I was worried that I might run into some Omaha specialists. Nope! Every singe player at the table did something that was categorically unjustifiable.

I got garbage for 45 minutes and then I finally found a good hand. I came in raising with A25T with the A5 of spades, two players called and Mr. Never Fold 3 bet it with KQJ8, I 4 bet it and we took the flop 4 ways. The flop came down K43 with the 43 of spades. This meant I had the nut low draw, the nut flush draw, and an A, 2 or 5 would make me a straight. Mr. Never fold had a pair of kings, no low draw, no spade draw and no clue. I bet, he raised, I reraised and he 4 bet it (4 bets is a cap meaning I couldn't raise again). I should point out that no one who has played Omaha for more than a couple of hours would even call the flop here let alone go balls to the wall in a multiway pot.

We took the turn 3 way and it came out a red Q. Now I needed an 8,7,6,5,2 or A to make the nut low plus 7 of the spades and 3 other jacks to make the nut high. Mr. Never Fold bet, I made a questionable raise, the other guy called and it came back to me at 3 bets. I just called and the river came out an 8. I made the nut low, but I had no high so when Mr. Never Fold bet, I just called, the other guy called and I got half the pot.

In the second hour of play the torture really started. Keep in mind that every hand has been going down like the above where Mr. Never Fold and many others are WAY over playing their hands. In the course of 5 hands at 100/200 blinds I got dealt a hand with an A2, and two with A3 suited and I just totally bricked out. This is kind of the equivalent of getting an AK and pocket jacks twice and losing them all, but it's worse because it's a split pot game. Missing out on high and low 3 times with really strong hands was rough.

In the first two hours I won two half pots and that's it.

A little later at the 200/400 blinds level I get dealt AQJ8 with the QJ of diamonds in the big blind and call a raise to 800 5 ways. The flop comes down K99 with one diamond and it checks around. The turn brings out the A of diamonds giving me a gut shot, top pair and a Q high flush draw. It checks around to Mr. Never Fold who bets and I call. Under normal conditions you'd never call with the #2 flush draw on a paired board in a 5 way pot, but I knew none of these clowns was checking a 9 or KK on that flop or AA on that turn and Mr. Never Fold could have anything. The preflop raiser also called.

It turns out I was up against QQJ6 that had raised preflop (THIS IS SO TERRIBLE!), and AJ85 from Mr. Never Fold. If you look at the board of K99A what do they need to hit to win? This is an astoundingly rare spot where I have two players drawing almost totally dead with a really marginal hand. The raiser needs the last queen or two 9's to scoop and a non diamond T to chop. Mr. Never Fold has no outs.

The river came out a T which I thought was a good card and I got half the pot, but when the cards got turned over I was like "WHAT THE FUCK! HOW IS QQJ6 OVER CALLING THE TURN! CAN I GET A CLEAN RIVER ONE TIME! THIS IS TORTURE!"

And that was one of my good hands.

On my final hand I got a free look in the 600 chip big blind with KQ73 with the Q3 of spades. The flop came down Q72 with two spades giving me top two pair and a flush draw. I bet out and stack off for 4 bets on the flop and one bet on the turn with AQ84. On the flop I'm 79% to win the high, 25% to scoop and 5% to win the low, but the turn was an A and the river was a 9 and that was it.


My $10,000 starting bankroll is now at $10,180.

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