Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Playing Against 'Calling Stations' In PLO

A quick '5 thoughts' post today, covering some 'things to think about' while playing against habitual 'callers' in PLO Games.

The first thing we need to mention is that this is actually most opponents in the lower level (50c / $1 and below) online pot limit Omaha games - maybe even higher in live PLO... those types happy to call, call and call some more trying to hit that hand (whether a nut hand or not), regardless of position, stack sizes, image / tendencies of raiser and texture of the board these opponents will be happy just to call, call and caaaaaaaaaaallllllll some more.

Before we get to the list, one more point. I do not want it to sound like a complaint... these loose / passive opponents are actually the most profitable out there!

Playing Against Callers In Online PLO Games

1 - Tighten up in EP... sounds obvious when it is written but 'speculative' hands need to be mucked more often pre-flop. The danger is that you find yourself 4 or 5 handed on the flop, out of position with a hand that has very few nut possibilities and opponents who will not fold - not such a great combination. Stick to premium omaha starting hands only from EP.

2 - Raise And Re-Raise From Position: While most PLO callers who have limped into the pot will call and see a flop there are still good reasons for raising. For a start loose passive opponents will usually 3-bet (or 4-bet) you with a real monster such as a quality aces hand, giving you valuable information. Secondly, while the limpers may call, you are reducing the chances of those players behind you entering the pot... and slightly reducing the propensity of players to limp in front of you in future too. If you never raise and re-raise pre-flop you are giving the loose-passive types a 'licence to limp' which is exactly where they feel the most comfortable!

3 - Bet Out On Both 'Dry' or 'Scary' Flops: Uncoordinated flops such as 3-8-K unsuited should usually be bet against a small number of opponents, you'll often win immediately and can safely fold if you have missed and get re-raised. Scary flops such as paired boards or single suits (especially when you have the ace of that suit) can also be bet a large percentage of the time. If you do not win immediately then be cautious!

4 - Draw Heavy Flops And Calling Stations: With several draws on the flop your bets will be called, what is more you will have no idea where you stand in the hand. That is not to say you should never bet a draw-heavy board into a caller, just be aware that the reasons for doing this are to build a pot when you have the best of it and / or make it too expensive (in terms of implied odds) to draw on a 'safe' turn (you can bet enough to make calling for the draw a clear mistake against all but the most stubborn calling stations!). If you are called on a draw heavy board and the draw comes in then think twice before 'representing' the hand on the turn... you could easily find yourself pretending to have the exact holding you are up against.

5 - When They Bet, You Should Often Fold: Loose / Passive opponents are characterized by their tendency to call your raises and chase long-shots. When such a player re-raises later in a hand, when the pot (and so bet sizes) are large... then alarm bells need to start ringing! Folding ess you have a nut hand will probably save you chips over time, of course adjusting to the individual opponent may have even bigger expectation. Of course a loose / passive opponent raising pre-flop is a great sign, you face aces (or maybe quality kings) and can call with some excellent implied odds against a 'face-up' hand.

Well, thought of a few more, including noting which passive opponents call with non-nut draws and how to react to a turn 'scare card'... but will save these for another time.

GL at those PLO Tables, Mark

1 comment:

Dr. Pauly said...

Solid advice.

On scary flops, I usually fire away and pray that they call to the river and miss.