Sunday, October 14, 2007

Position and Maniacs - PLO and NLHE Strategy

Not had too much time to read my new books, still over in the UK visiting family and friends so eating and drinking rightfully taking priority!

Did make some inroads into Rolf Slothboom's PLO book - turning out to be a good read in terms of getting things to think about (personally feel that this is the main value of poker books - not one to cut-and-paste a strategy!).

Rolf had an interesting short-stacked PLO system where he deliberately sat with the maniac raiser to his left... this defies 'conventional wisdom' which says it is best to have the LAGs to your right and tighties to your left.

Will not cover PLO short-stacking here (another post for another day). But some of the thoughts expressed in this chapter relate to both PLO and NLHE equally... they are really to do with the broader subject mentioned a few times here on PGong of 'absolute and relative position'.

The basic concept is that, with the pre-flop raiser to your right and others in the hand your positional advantage (from being on the button for example) is gone. This is because of the 'Check to the raiser' phenominon after the flop... basically the out of position players are likely to check whether or not they have a hand - giving the pre-flop raiser the opportunity to continuaion bet.

If this player is to your immediate right then you need to act before you know what the other players in the hand are likely to do... you have position on the hand, yet relative to the likely post flop action this advantage is gone - the out of position players may be planning to check-raise the expected continuation bet.

Slothboom's method (well, seen it mentioned by others too!) means that your relative position is good. You can check the flop whether or not you hit or miss. The LAG continuation bets - now you react to this bet last. The other players are sandwiched between the LAG and you. This means they are forced to fold marginal hands (for fear that you'll re-raise) or declare their strength earlier in the hand than they might have wanted to (enabling you to get away).

Another advantage here is that when you do have a monster you'll be able to trap more money into the pot before check-raising - increasing your win on strong hands dramatically. In pot limit Omaha you might even be able to use the extra bets to get all your chips in as likely favourite - while leading out would have required a smaller bet (the pot was not yet big enough to get a large % of your stack in).

Maniac on your left would work in many game types with the right strategy adjustments - certainly something to consider!

Cheers, Mark

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