Archive for the ‘poker strategy’ Category

Full Tilt pot limit omaha games

Monday, January 4th, 2010

Pot-limit Omaha is the poker variation gaining a lot of popularity. Will it replace NLHE in the WSOP main event? Not in the foreseeable future, but PLO is certainly on the rise.

By looking at the history of poker, there is a continual replacement of old poker forms with newer forms, and the newer forms always bring more action and entertainment. First we had draw poker, then stud poker which brought a new angle to the game as every player had some of his cards exposed for all to see. The game changed from 5-card Stud to 7-card Stud, as the latter form introduced more complexity to the game and betting opportunities.

Then came up Texas Hold’em, which rapidly became the dominant form of poker. First as a fixed-limit game, later in the no-limit incarnation. What can be attributed to this unexpected success? The community card not only adds more hand possibilities, but also make the game more social. And more entertaining for the public.

Omaha Hold’em is the youngest form of poker and it was only invented a few decades ago. Omaha poker is an extension of Texas Hold’em poker. Apart from a few minor details the rules of the game are the same, expect that each player has 4 hole cards instead of 2. It is like playing 6 holdem hands each time you play one omaha hand, so clearly there is more action.

This is the trend in poker, games with more action and more entertainment value. Omaha and PLO in particular have both of that. If you play PLO you know that it is like NLHE on steroids, and at the risk of giving an arrow to the bow of the supporters of the infamous UIGEA, it is an addictive game.

The PLO games at Full Tilt

One of the best places if not the best place to play PLO on the Web is at Full Tilt Poker. This is where you will find the most action and the most tables available for your selection.

In the ring games section, the stakes range from $0.01/$0.02 to $500/$1000. In the micro and low limits up to $0.50/$1, there are constantly one or two hundred active tables. There are a few dozen tables at the medium stakes up to $6 big blind and about a dozen tables at the high stakes up to $50 BB.

Next there is what is called Ivey’s room, and this is where the so-called nosebleed ultra high-stakes tables are, from $100 to $1000 BB. This is the section where the top PLO high stakes players meet and play. Phil Ivey, Patrik Antonius, Ilary “Ziigmund” Sahamies, Tom “durrrr” Dwan and many more.

It does not matter what you level is. You will find what you want in PLO at Full Tilt. Observe the pro battle in huge pots, learn the game at the micro-limits, or simply play at your favorite stake level.

If you want pot-limit Omaha action, Full Tilt is the place.

Making the Move from Holdem to Omaha

Monday, August 31st, 2009

Moving from Hold’em Poker to Omaha Poker can be intimidating for the online poker player, but this is not that difficult.

Whatever the setting, online casino, online poker room or the brick and mortar versions, gambling operators always offer new games, and sometimes some of these games take off on their own. This has been going on for hundreds of years, and most recently blackjack and Texas Hold’em poker became instant successes.

Now some think that Omaha poker may become the new success story, and it is thus a good idea to learn the rules of this game. This article is written with a move from NLHE to PLO in mind, but it it also relevant for the most part for other variants of the two games.

The first thing to keep in mind is that Omaha is an extension of Hold’em, so this move is perfectly natural. Indeed Omaha is short for Omaha hold’em, but the short version Omaha is what is commonly used.

When you make this move, it is highly recommended to start Omaha at the micro-limits. This is ideal for learning the nuances without paying for the lesson. In fact the online players are so bad at PLO micro-limits, that if you are a reasonable player at Texas Holdem, it will cost you nothing to get acquainted to Omaha, and you can then progressively climb up the stake levels.

The main difference between the two games is that now you have 4 hole cards instead of 2. The other difference, and that is not a small one either, is that you must use two of your hole cards plus three of the board cards in order to determine what your strongest hand is. This part can be confusing at first to holdem players who are used to take two, one or zero of their hole cards to make their hand.

For the rest, Omaha is essentially the same as Holdem.

Let us start with the first difference: you have 4 cards. One way to think about that is that there are six ways to pick two cards from a group of four cards. So in essence it is like if you were dealt six times your holdem poker hole cards. But because this set of six pairs of hole cards will share the same board, you want your hole cards to work together so to speak, so that you get the maximum power from your hole cards.

This is why draws are so important in Omaha. Let us say for example that you have QJT9 rainbow as your four hole cards. This straight hand gives a high chance to hit a straight draw at the flop, because most boards with two or three cards higher than 7 or 8 will give a straight draw, like KT3 for example.

Henceforth, some of the strongest hands are either straight hands like above or “double suited” hands, with two cards in one suit, the two other ones in another suit. These hands give you the most chance to hit either a straight or a flush draw. The top hole cards in this category are straight double suited hole cards. In this vein, QJT9 double suited is believed to be one of the strongest hole cards, if not the strongest.

The other category of big hands are two top pairs like AAKK, double suited even better. Mixed hands like KKJT double suited, holding both the power of a big pair and many draws are similarly extremely strong hole cards.

So the thing to keep in mind is that you want your 4 hole cards to work nicely together. If you have 3 cards of the same suit, it is a negative feature as you can only use 2 of the suited cards for your flush draw, so one of your hole cards is not used at 100%. Toss that hand.

The other confusing aspect that needs some training to eradicate is that you must use 2 of your hole cards. So if the board is 8855K without flush possibility and you hold A842 rainbow, you have a set of eights ace high and not a boat. Or if the board is KT854 with four hearts and you have the ace of heart and no other heart, then you do not have a flush. As you need to replace one heart from the board with a non heart from your hole cards.

Spend some time practicing to get used to these nuances. You will not regret trying PLO because this is a very exciting game, where there are more often big hands and where the fish are so abundant.

Best Poker Training Videos Site

Tuesday, July 14th, 2009

I recently discovered a very useful online poker training video site, so I thought I would write a post to share it with you.

First a quick note about online poker training videos or online poker session videos as they are called. This is a form of poker teaching that has arisen in recent years due to the cheap availability of computer screen recording and high speed internet allowing fast download of large files. A poker player (preferably a pro) plays a session of online poker, records it and makes comments as an overlay to share his thinking process as he plays.

This new poker coaching format has become very popular as you will learn things who cannot get elsewhere, not in books, not in forums, not even chatting with great players. Because you will watch a “real” session” as it unfolds. It is more genuine than other material, as it is unprepared. It is a little bit like the difference between a lecture in medical school and going to the surgery room to watch an operation.

Of course you must know the content of the material from the lecture first, but until you go to practice on a real patient with an experienced surgeon, you will not know how to deal with real unexpected situations. Same with online poker.

There are a few coaching websites, but I just found this newer poker training videos site called pokersavvy plus, and it is great value.

Pokersavvy plus is a poker training site with a team of about ten poker pros plus some guest pros as well. They are real high level pros, like Mike Watson who has 8 money finishes at the WSOP and one WPT title. Mike Matusow used to be a member and they still have 24 videos of Mike playing and commenting his own games.

The great thing about pokersavvy plus, and I never saw that anywhere else, is that you get a 7 days free trial. You can watch as many videos as possible, so if you have time, you can watch many poker training videos for free. You will learn more during this time frame than at any other time during your poker career, I guarantee it.

In addition, you can download the videos and keep them on your computer for later watching. This is not allowed at other poker training websites, because even though you download some videos on you computer, you will only be able to watch them later if your membership is still active. But not at pokersavvy plus, one more reason why I think it is great value.

Last but not least, the quality, quantity and variety of their online poker videos is unmatched.

  • quality: the content is strong, taught by real pros who know poker very well. They speak clearly (the images are clear too), and their thoughts are well organized; the videos are edited and some lecture type format is added to some of them, making the teaching more complete.
  • quantity: it is hard for these poker training websites to produce videos on a consistent basis; but pokersavvy plus posts one new video every day of the week, every week; this is 260 new videos per year; they currently have already over 400 videos.
  • variety: it is hard to produce diversified poker videos, and the users at some of the other sites complain that there is too much of one type, like short-handed NLHE ring games; at pokersavvy plus, you get every type of game and format, even HORSE, Stud, many heads-up, tournament and cash games, etc.

Anyway check for yourself. This is a freebie as you can use the 7 days trial period to watch videos and to download some of them. I love the collection of 24 videos by Mike Matusow, a real gem. Here is the link to pokersavvy plus. Enjoy while it lasts.