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Tournament vs Cash PLO8

There is definitely a difference between tournament PLO8 and cash game PLO8. In my experience, the biggest gap between the two involves the low. In a cash game format, players are able to fold more, since the blinds do not escalate. In tournaments, the escalating blinds seem to loosen up the crowd, and correct folds in a cash game become sometimes foolish in a tournament. Here is a good example from a recent Double Stack PLO8 MTT on Full Tilt.

We were at 15/30 blinds and I had 3,500, 500 more than our starting stacks. In MP, I was dealth JhJsAs4c, a hand that could potentially win high and low, but was not overwhelmingly coordinated. After it folded to me, I decided to limp, since I was already ahead 500 early in the runnings. Two other players under 3000 called from the CO and Button, as did the SB and BB.

The flop was a troublesome 2d 2h 5c. Starting with the high hand, we can see that my spade flush draw is DOA. I have an overpair of Js, but that isn't worth anything in PLO8. I have an inside straight draw to the wheel, which is slim to hit, especially since the limpers likely have low cards. However, if I hit that wheel, I'll probably be a high-low lock, although I'll possibly splitting it with another player with A4. As for the low, I'm drawing to the second nut. If someone has A3, I am screwed unless a 3 hits, so I normally would be cautious.

It checks around to me and I check as well. The Button bets pot, 150. It folds to me and I decide to call. I sort of fear A2, which is a common hand to play, but with no preflop action, the potential for a wheel, and a decent low draw, I decide its worth playing 150 more against a player who may be making a position raise. Also, players seem to love to play their lows strong in these tournaments, so I figured that I may actually have the high if he is betting a low draw from position. The CO calls as well, which mildly concerns me.

The turn is a 7s. I've made the second nut low, and still have only an overpair to the board. It checks to the button who bets pot, 600. Now, here I may think its time to let the hand go. I made the second nut low, but in a cash PLO8 game, second nut lows aren't worth crap. Here, however, the bettor is potentially betting from position and by betting pot, he seems to want to push out the competition. I think I may have the low, but even if I don't, I might have the high if he hit his low with A3 and holds nothing else of importance (like maybe 58 or something similar--players' ranges seem to widen in these tournaments). I call 600, and the CO finally takes the hint and folds.

What was the river? Why its a Jd! That gives me the nut full house, so I'm definitely ahead for the high and my low is the second nut. Should I check it? Hell no. I bet pot, 1,800. He rer-raises all in for another 308 and I call.

At showdown, the Button tables 6d Ac Qs 2s, for a set of 2s (as expected) and an A6 low. My full house beat his set, and my A4 low beat his A6. I scoop and he's busted.

What happened here? Well, I did sorta get lucky by the river, but I figured that my opponent was probably not super strong for the high AND low, even though he may be strong for one or the other. Possible holdings included A2, but that wasn't enough alone. If he had A23x or AA3x (which would give him the nut low and a superior high hand until the river), I'd expect a preflop raise. Instead, I had to figure him for one or the other A2xx or A2xx. Maybe he even had 25xx for a flopped full house, but I couldn't put him on 2345 or A235 because of his lack of raises preflop. Also, post-turn, his pot-sized bet didn't appear to be a value bet as much as it was an attempt to win the hand outright. Had he slowed down and bet 400 into the 600 pot, I would have been more suspicious.

Would this hand be the same if it were a cash game? I don't really think so. In those games, players can be more patient. Plus, they are playing with real money, not tournament chips. The result is that a pot-sized bet in a cash game usually means strength. The same player that can justify pot sized bets with sub optimal hands in tournaments would clam up at the thought in a full ring game.

Opinions, thoughts? I don't think I played this hand optimally. I just saw myself as having lots of outs, and since I had a bit of a cushion (500), I allowed myself to see some extra cards in full preparation for a fold if it didn't pan out by the river.

Ultimately, I made a good run in this tournament before my flopped nut straight (9Txx with a QJ8 flop) lost on the river when the board paired 8s and my opponent pushed with Q8. I've found this to be my biggest shortcoming in these tournaments. The board pairs, I know I'm against a full house (I assumed JJ or QQ), but I still call. Shame on me. That said, I still look forward to trying some more of these.

On that note, I have to reconsider my recent jump in stakes. Variance has swung around and I had two very tough nights at 1/2 NL and 5/10 LO8. I'm still not sure where I'll take it from there, but whatever the case, I'm glad I got some exposure to the higher limits.

I player in the Hoy last night, I think. I barely remember, honestly, as I was half-distracted by Heroes. When I busted and Heroes was over (btw, my Heroes prediction: Horn-Rimmed Glasses will be like the Professor X of the Heroes when they join forces, even though they've painted HRG as a mysterious evil guy so far), I decided to play some video games on my new computer. I really enjoyed myself too, moreso than the poker. Don't get me wrong, I still love poker, but I can't deny that I have a much better record live than online. It really makes me want to reconsider my usual routine. As it stands now, expect to see less of me at the tables and more of me playing stupid mindless videogames. I know, I've said this before, but I mean it now that I have a new computer that can actually play the freakin' games. It really isn't much of a change in routine, as I've been playing online poker like a mindless videogame anyway. Oh, and if you see me in every blogger tourney for the next 2 wks, just try not to rub it in. It's hard leaving poker, no matter what I say.

18 days until I play in the WSOP Circuit event at Harrah's. Until then, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 3:28 PM,


At 12:00 PM, Blogger Pokerwolf said...

When the guy broadcasts that he doesn't have a strong hand, you'd be crazy not to stick around in a tournament. You had a read and went with it. Nuff said.

You can't re-raise at all there because you're not confident that your hand is best. But, I think you're right in calling because you have a good chance at half the pot. Lots of people preach "only play if you can scoop", but that only applies to cash games and not to tournaments.

I'm playing videogames more than I am poker right now too. I think I'm a little burned out on poker and it's nice to play something where the outcome won't mean a financial loss.

At 2:38 PM, Blogger CJ said...

Risky play... I've gone broke with 2nd nut low too many times to count. You got lucky for the high and found out your low was good. It worked out. I'm just not a huge fan of playing the 2nd nut low too hard... it's an easy way to lose chips.

Re: Heroes

No chance he turns out to be good.

At 4:37 PM, Anonymous MattyEbs said...

what video games u playing?

u cutting back in live play too or you goin back to the brooklyn game?

Two random questions no comments

talk 2 u soon

At 4:45 PM, Blogger HighOnPoker said...

CJ, I'm with you on the 2nd nut low, but do you see a difference with tourament as opposed to cash game PLO8? To me, that was the key to this hand, although I'm still not 100% happy.

Ebs, the video games are some old Command & Conquer things. I used to love the ole Command & Conquer: Red Alert, so when I had a free $50 to Amazon a while ago from an old PSO promo, I got the Comman & Conquer pack with like 5 different games. My old comp was too slow to play them. It's stupid mindless fun, just like poker, but I don't lose money when I play stupid, akin to what Wolf said.

As for poker, I want to play live games MORE and online a little bit less. I love poker, but online poker is just not as fun or profitable as live. I'm sure you can appreciate that.

At 2:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Fold flop, fold turn, do a donkey dance for the river.

Cash or tourney.

Five players in the hand, one of em has a 2 about 90% of the time. You're drawing to 6 outs (4 of which could get you quartered by a flopped/turned boat).

This is not a tight fold but a smart one.


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