Saturday, May 8, 2010

Changeup Night

I was invited to a different game last night, hosted by "The Aussie" - an Australian guy who has played 2 or 3 times in my own home game as a guest. I knew about half the players, some from my home game, some from the Monthly tourney. Friendly bunch.

Fun game. The Aussie calls it his "2-3-4" game - where he changes up what we're playing when the orbit reaches his deal. "2" stands for Texas Hold-em ("2" because players are dealt two cards, not brain surgery), "4" stands for Omaha, and "3" stands for "Aussie Holdem-em" - his own variant where you get 3 cards and all three can be used on a standard flop/turn/river to make your 5 card hand.

The last game is rather silly and I didn't care for it too much. All the standard rules of board reading no longer apply. One could be holding a full house without a pair on the board, or a flush with only 2 of a suit on a board. I actually almost-should have- got stacked in this game holding 7-T-J and hitting an 8-9-4 rainbow board. There was a bet and two calls, and I raised BIG with my straight to chase people away. I had one caller. When the turn came and made a true rainbow board - all four suits displayed, I just decided to shove. No flush was currently possible, yet all four flushes were in play if my opponent held three suited cards! (like I said, rather silly). My action was so stunning and a bit out of character for this "call, call, call" game that my opponent - a very solid player by my reckoning - folded his hand face up - T-J-Q for the nut straight! His reasoning was that my play was so fast and "sure" that he put my on at least full house (again, with no pair on the board, this is still possible). So I got lucky on that hand.

Another thing I liked about this game were the stakes - .25/.25 blinds, small by my cash game standards (we play .50/$1 on Thursdays), but players are allowed to buy-in deep - $60 to start (240 blinds!), and they can top up an additional $20 each hour starting 2 hours into the game. So the game basically plays as a "small pot game" (in absolute $ terms), but the big stacks allow for "big pots" when the monster-vs-monster hands come up. This favors the more experienced players, of course - who can win 200+ blinds off someone making a big mistake.

The small stakes were good for me - a solid Hold'em player who needs more Omaha experience (players transitioning usually make big mistakes overplaying solid Hold'em hands like 2-pair or trips that are only ok hands in Omaha).

As for players making big mistakes - they were plentiful. For myself, I played solid Hold'em, pretty good Omaha (a few mistakes, but also a few big pots), and avoided the 3 card game by playing very tight and sticking rigidly to late position.

My favorite Omaha hand was a 3467 that I got to play in a limped pot. A monster board for me - 3-4-5 gave me the nut straight and a full house redraw. Bet, call, call, then raise by me. Two customers.

The turn brought a second flush draw. I bet out and got checkraised by the blind. Checkraised pretty big. I probably could have shoved with the current nuts and boat redraw (might have been the correct play, not sure), but instead I called the raise and decided to bomb it only if the flushes didn't come in.

Bad news/Great news - the spade flush did come in, but as a 4 and I had a full house. I bombed the pot hoping to look like a desperation play. My solid opponent folded - again face up (lots of show-n-tell at this game) - same 67 nut straight and the other flush draw, actually a - straight-flush-draw. So my redraw came in and his didn't. Too bad. Many of the other players at this table would have called my bet with the nut straight on a paired, 3-spade board. (an awful mistake in Omaha, by the way).

My pull on the night - $170. As in nearly 700 blinds. Not a bad night's fun.

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