Sunday, March 14, 2010

Paying My Dues

Well, my Omaha learning curve continues its steep upward assent. Every time I think I am getting the game figured out, I slip off the top of a false summit and get waxed on the way down. Yesterday was no exception. I played two 100-hand sessions of Rush-style $10PL Omaha, with the result being a net loss of $45. Most of this was due to just a couple of really poorly played hands. My game seems to consist solely of: win a little consistently, then lose big spectacularly. In fact, I was actually up for for most of each session, grinding out a couple of nice consistent wins.... but then I gave it all back (and more) toward the end of each session.

The worst hand I lost was with a set of kings losing to a set of aces. In hindsight, the opp's bigger set was the most obvious hand he could have had, what with his 4-betting preflop, and then nailing the AKx board so damn hard with re-pots. I actually had a note of the guy that said "Very Tight" and "RRR," which is my code for Raises R Real, i.e., he only bets with the nuts. My KKxx hand was drawing near dead, but I was blind to it. Dunno if I could have gotten away from the hand, but I might have been able to keep the pot size under control if I hadn't forgotten that rule that if I don't have the nuts, proceed with caution. I didn't have the stone cold nuts, but played on like I did. Grrr.

The other big loss was with me holding the flopped second nut flush on an otherwise completely uncoordinated board. Need I say more?

The lesson, once again? In Omaha, if you don't have the nuts.... well, you need to be fearful. And if not fearful, at least cautious. Pot control, pot control, pot control.

The other lesson is that I need to figure out to get the new beta version of PT3 working on my computer. Playing Rush without a HUD is handicapping me, plus I really need to start dissecting my Omaha stats to see where my bigger leaks reside. I've tried a couple of times to install the new version of PT3, but my 64-bit laptop doesn't like it for some reason. I'll need to peruse the forums and find out what's what. Getting PT3 running needs to be a priority.

The only good news to all of this is I also played some Rush $25NL full-ring hold'em and made $75, for a net day's gain of $35 (i.e., subtracting my Omaha losses). Even better, I was running poorly at the hold'em tables, but still was able to dominate the games fairly easily. I really felt I was playing my A-game, putting players on accurate hand ranges, 3betting when appropriate, stealing left and right, and generally just playing solid poker. It also helped that I ran into a lot of fishy play. It felt good.

Gotta run, but I'll leave with this sobering thought. I've been reading James McManus' Cowboys Full book on the history of poker, and I'm currently on the chapter that discusses the phenomena of online poker. Per McManus, the "top online sites" (by which I think he means PokerStars and FullTilt), make, on average, $1000 per minute, 24 hours a day. Seriously. A grand a minute! A kilobuck every sixty seconds. For the mathematically challenged, that's $60,000 per hour, or $1.44 Million per day. The yearly take? $525,600,000, or over half a Billion per year! Holy crap.

Besides just being a staggering number, the thing that really strikes me is the question of where does all that money come from? Answer: you and me. If nearly a million and a half bucks is being taken off the tables every day from just FullTilt, there are A LOT of people in the world losing A LOT of money over the long run. In other words, this is further proof that just breaking even long term at online poker is a significant feat. Maybe I shouldn't feel so bad about my Omaha losses....

All-in for now...

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