Sunday, March 28, 2010

Oracles, Gurus, and Tightropes

Got up this Sunday morning and played a little poker before the day got going. During the 200-hand session, I cleared my first (PT3-recorded) 3000 hands of $10PL Rush Omaha. The results are shown below, with a win rate of 8.8 PTBBs/100, and a net gain of $54.
In reviewing my stats, I had a few sessions where I ran badly, but most of my losses were simply cases of me not playing smart poker. The trick in Omaha, like Hold'em, is walking a fine line between too loose and too tight, too aggressive and too passive, too many games and too few, etcetera. Even more important is the art of getting off a losing hand. Way too many times I chased down to the river with top two pair or bottom set, only to find out I was drawing near dead from the flop onward. Not drawing dead is a key to Hold'em, but it's even more important in Omaha, where the variance is high and the likelihood of your opponent holding a strong(er) hand is even higher.

The more I play, too, the more I''m becoming an advocate of a tight-passive preflop style in Omaha. I know the Guru disagrees with this approach, but I feel that post-flop is where the money is made at that these low-stakes Rush games. My vpip for the 3100 hands is 17.5%, but my PFR is a minuscule 4.2%. At higher stakes, this is probably a losing strategy, but at these micro-stakes it seems to be working for me. The idea is to see a cheap flop and rely on board and hand-reading after the flop. I have to continually ask myself, "what could he have here that he wants to continue with?" and "why isn't he afraid of this coordinated board?" Generally speaking, it seems to me that villain bluffs at Omaha are less prevalent than in Hold'em. If the opp is betting into you, he/she probably has a very strong hand. The Guru pointed out to me a few weeks ago that hand reading at Omaha is actually easier than in Hold'em. At first I had a hard time believing this, but now that I have a few thousand hands under my belt I'm beginning to see his point. Bluffing is less pronounced in Omaha, which means a bet usually signifies what it seems to signify. In other words, the range of hands the opp can hold preflop is extremely wide, but from third street onward the range narrows very rapidly if the villain is playing "normal" poker. Having PT3 HUD working at the Rush tables definitely helps narrow ranges, too.

I gotta run, but will report back in another two or three thousand hands to update these results and let you know if this slow and steady "Oracle of Omaha" approach can/will continue.

All-in for now...

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