Diary of a microstakes donk

July 6, 2011, Posted by Pokerfarm

Diary of a microstakes donk

Only a month ago, I was a microstakes No-Limit Hold’em (NLHE) player. I beat $0.05/$0.10 for around 1bb/100 hands, which is a good win-rate at that level because the competition is so tough. A friend of mine suggested that I look into a game called “Pot-Limit Omaha Hi” (or “PLO”, as some regulars call it,) as a lot of new players try it and aren’t very good, meaning I might be able to achieve a better win-rate. Always up for a challenge when it comes to poker, I decided to take a shot, and boy, Pot-Limit Omaha is great! After playing $0.05/$0.10 PLO for a week, I’ve learned a lot about this exciting new game, and won a lot of money (almost $100!) If you’re interested in PLO, here are a few things I’ve learned this week:

In PLO, you have four cards rather than two, so you’re twice as likely to win.

You should fold less often in PLO than NLHE. This is because you have more cards, so more chances to improve. For example, where you might fold second pair to a strong turn bet in NLHE, you should call in PLO, because you might have a straight or flush draw (even if you don’t see it!)

A somewhat related point is that you should bluff more in PLO. This is because sometimes you have the best hand and don’t realize it (because you have four cards in your hand, and it’s complicated), so even when you bluff and get called, you might win. This is called “merging your range”.

It’s called “pot-limit” because you always have to bet the pot, unless you don’t have enough for a pot-sized bet or raise, in which case you go all in. You should try not to check in PLO - just bet pot as often as possible before the river. This is because before the river, you always have a chance to win, so going all-in maximises your equity.

Quads are low in PLO. That means quads are the worst possible hand. I found this out to my surprise! I was dealt 2222 pre-flop, yet at showdown I lost to an opponent’s full house. I was shocked that people don’t talk about this important rule more, because it’s very counter-intuitive! Now, I always fold quads - yesterday, I was dealt AAKK pre-flop, so I raised (pot, obviously) with my two pair, and the flop came AAQ, giving me quads. It goes without saying, I insta-folded. A bad player might be tempted to continue with just the pair of kings, but there’s a good chance one of the opponents had another ace giving them trips on the flop (although quads are low, trips are still high - very confusing!). It also seems that some flushes and straights are low at some times, but not at others. I haven’t quite worked that out yet.

If you have the second-best hand in PLO, you should always go all-in as fast as possible, because it’s harder for your opponents to tell what you have, compared to having the best hand.

I have played a pretty large sample (5k hands) and have won a lot more than I do in NLHE. I’ve heard that PLO can be high-variance, but I don’t really buy it because I’ve won fairly consistently all week. I’m looking forward to getting back to the tables, playing some more, and winning some more! Nosebleeds, here I come!


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