Thursday, November 13, 2008

Limp / Trap In PLO... Is There No Longer A Place For Post Flop Play??


Pot Limit Omaha is growing in popularity seemingly every week... at the lowest (recreational) levels I am really starting to notice a disturbing phenomnenon - the limpy weak table syndrome.

In full ring games at 50c / $1 and below it seems like every flop is limped, seen by 5, 6 or even 7 players with a variety of holdings ranging from top quality to uncoordinated junk. The game of 'trap me trap you trap me' then starts in earnest with those individuals who flopped great (and with that many players someone will) trying to disguise their monster by checking / calling.

The result is that a beautiful 'big bet' poker game has turned into a calling-stationesque, wait to trap then win a small pot, forget hand selection and 'looking crafty better than winning cash' game, which is quite frankly ugly.

So, a quick reminder that there are tons of good reasons to raise in any poker game... my thought for today for the weak PLO limpers is that you are only ever going to make money from even weaker players (who will stack with horrible holdings). If you ever want to move up then you'd better stop relying on this as your sole source of income!

So, 5 reasons that raising is good in PLO Cash games... feel free to drop me a comment with any more (or just your thoughts!).

1) You have a decent hand with coordinated cards. Think of it this way, if you played a poker game where every bad hand you were dealt was played at 10c / $25c blinds and every good hand was played at 50c / $1 blinds, you'd make a killing (given time). Now think about how you might achieve this situation quite easily....

2) You have position... the button (or slightly before with weakies to act after you) is a fantastic asset in a pot-limit game, the majority money that you win in any poker game comes from when you act last... this is the same message from every pro, winning player, training site instructor et etc. Do these limpers think that everyone just says it because they like how it sounds! Wake up and raise a wider variety of hands on the button folks!

3) Stops The Limpers... This one should have been first in the list, since it is the big one. If pots are not being raised (or even worse only raised by players with A-A-x-x) it allows people to limp with a wide variety of holdings... that is to say that if no raisers are around every pot will be 7 handed and revert to the 'trapping you - trapping me' post-flop play. By raising your better hands you are putting doubt into the minds of those weakies... sure you can beat them after the flop... but you really want to play an unraised pot against 6 opponents??!?

4) Punishes Bad Hand Selection... understanding PLO comes down to the dynamics of draws and redraws. The best hands are those with the potential to flop great hands with great re-draws. Your opponents may play J-J-2-7 with no suits in the hope of that miracle flop, but you do not - since this is the classic 'win a small pot or lose a big one' type hand. Now, think about the profit dynamic against one or two opponents who overvalue uncoordinated hands in a big pot... one in which you hold the nut straight with the nut flush redraw on the turn... lovely!

5) Disguises Those Aces... Nothing is funnier than the old limp-limp-limp-limp-limp-limp- RAISE!!! routine among bad players... they might as well type 'I have aces and will stack-off whether or not I hit the flop' into the chat box. Of course, anyone with Omaha experience is already aware of this and will happily call that raise with a huge variety of hands, often getting the money in on the flop as 70% favourite... so the final reason to raise plenty of hands in PLO is that you would like to raise those aces without giving away half of your hand. Coordinated cards, high pairs with loads of help and double suited (rundowns in particular) are all raising candidates... so raise 'em.

Hope it did not come off as too much of a rant - I actually love PLO and hate to see the wonderful game turn into a limpy 'trapfest' when there is just so much more to it.

GL at the tables, Mark


AllanDuke said...

I cant disagree with a single thing you said. Unfortunately, I don't have the balls to raise preflop in PLO.

United113 said...

i read a good atrticle on PLO by Barny Boatman today...

Short-Stacked Shamus said...

Been thinking about yr post all day -- proving either yr either onto something here or I have a hard time getting PLO/poker off the brain.

Sounds a little like the question (also) is "Is There No Longer a Place for Preflop Play?" In other words, a lot of folks at these lower levels (where I hang out) aren't bothering even to try to mix it up before the flop, content to limp with all hands.

I agree that the game becomes something very strange (and perhaps less enjoyable) when everyone is doing this sort of thing, but when it comes to table selection, I (of course) love happening upon one of these groups of players, as it gives me a lot of freedom to see a lot of flops, play diff. styles, and try to exploit these folks.

Mark said...

Thanks for the thoughts folks, raising pre in PLO is great fun as long as you have the BR to maintain the hits.

Good article there United, PLO is the only game I know of where you should sometimes fold the nuts on the flop... for example the current nut straight with no redraws is often <30% against 2 opponents with redraws to higher straights / flushes and houses all out there.

Shamus, nice point that you get to experiment... you also alluded to the fact that these games are profitable, which is true since those weak limpers are likely to make all the other classic PLO mistakes such as drawing to the 3rd nuts etc... still prefer to play bigger pots when I have the best of it though!

Cheers and GL at those tables, Mark