Monday, September 25, 2006

A New Adventure Into No-Limit Omaha 8/b

I’ve found a new princess, no-limit Omaha 8/b at PokerStars. Dave has been blogging about the sweetness of these games for a long time, but I didn’t feel comfortable with my knowledge of O8 until just recently. I used to get a little confused with the whole counterfeiting issue but have a firm grasp on that concept now. It’s certainly one of the more complex poker games which means the skilled players have a larger advantage (EV) over an average field. Also, I like the lower variance of the game compared with PLO where there is rarely a split pot (this is a philosophical change of mine given recent ass beatings). In short, it’s easier for a fish to get lucky and scoop you in PLO versus PLO8 or NLO8. At least that’s my impression at the moment. I’ve lost my stack countless times with AAxx in PLO but it’s hard to get stacked with AA2x in NLO8.

Like all games, starting hand selection is extremely important. If you’re new to the game, take a look at this starting hand guide. Play hands that have the opportunity to scoop (win high AND low). Suited aces, pairs and low connecting features are very valuable when packaged together correctly. A hand like A234 is garbage in PLO (rarely makes the nuts) but strong in O8. AA23 double-suited is the best starting hand in O8.

Post flop, think about high first. If you don’t have a good high hand or draw, it’s usually correct to muck to a bet even if you have the nut low since you’ll only get 50% of the pot at best. The one time you might keep your hand in this spot is if you’re playing a large multi-way pot in LO8, but even then there may be another nut low out and you’ll only get 25% of the pot. I witnessed this mistake many times over the weekend at the $100 tables. Example: on a board of A67 rainbow, a good aggressive player bet the pot and a poor player called. The turn was a T and put 2 diamonds on the board; the good player moved all-in and his opponent quickly called with 23KJ (nut low but just a gutshot straight draw and no flush draw for high). His 4 outs to the gutshot didn’t get there and he lost 75% of his stack to 7723. Don’t play low without a strong high, especially for a large stack!


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