Sunday, June 12, 2011

Omaha Education

Interesting Live game last night - only .25/.25 blinds, but no maximum buy-in. I bought in for $50 thinking that 200 big blinds was more than enough, I was wrong. This game was playing very big. I quickly added on to $100.

The game was dealer's choice Holdem or Omaha only. I ended the night a loser, based on two different Omaha hands - one where I didn't use all the information at my disposal, and the other where I out-levelled myself.

In the first, I flopped middle set with pocket tens on a queen-ten-eight board. I bet and Tony called. There were two spades on the board so that's where I put him, or on jack nine for the made straight.

My situation improved to a full house with an eight on the turn, and I had caught the straight and didn't have to worry about the flush anymore. I bet again and got called.

The river brought the flush in, with the ace of spades. I bet on the smaller side to hope a flush would raise me, and it worked! Tony raised. I reraised, Tony shook his head and called, showing... pocket queens! He had me the whole time. (he thought I had caught him with pocket aces on the river)

Had I thought a little harder, I would have probably figured out the ace of spades told me Tony didn't have a flush - he wouldn't have drawn to a non-nut flush, especially on a paired board. The correct play would have been to call his last raise and lose a smaller pot, not reraise. It's a bit borderline, because pocket queens are really the only hand I'm afraid of (discounting pocket aces in a limped pot), and pocket eights would have started building a pot earlier. I know you're supposed to take the safe route and not push things in Omaha when you don't have the nuts, but is this true when you're only worried about one hand?

The second big loser was a much worse mistake, compounded by it being the last hand of the night. I was the button and opted for the Mississippi straddle. I was dealt ten-ten-six-rag, double suited which got to see a flop for the minimum .50. By the turn, I had the six to ten straight, not the nuts, and a spade flush draw to go with it. I bet and got a single caller. I had never played with him before tonight, but he seemed to be a solid, capable player capable of mixing things up. He put me to the test with a $29 bet on the river.

I tanked and stood up, and tried to run through the hand in my hand. The nuts was jack-ten, I had the second nuts. I knew he was capable of bluffing, though I hadn't seen a big river bluff yet from him. If he had the nuts on the turn, why didn't he raise to protect against the spade draw? Maybe he had the spade draw also, so he wasn't in a hurry to push people away? I had two tens of course, which lessened the possibility of him having one. Was he thinking I was less likely to call a big river bet on the last hand of the night?

I decided there were just enough reasons for him to be bluffing and made the call,
and of course he showed the nuts. He had decided to wait for the river to brick off before betting big, feeling like I wouldn't fold a high flush draw anyway (actually, if I wouldn't fold, the correct play would be to bet, but he was in a stack-protection mode late in the session).

I left the game irritated with myself - overthinking myself into a big river call in Omaha with the second nuts. Many a big pot has been lost in Omaha this way, especially by Holdem players. I had my reasons, but my logic was faulty.

No comments: