Tony is a regular on-line and card room player living in England. He mostly plays Texas Hold'em and Omaha (High and Split) at fixed, pot and no limit, at both cash and tournament tables.
This week, I am concluding our on-line session of Omaha Hi/Lo Split. These real-time sessions are, I think, a good way to look at the type of everyday problems you will typically face playing on-line at low limits. It will hopefully encourage you to get out there and play the low limit tables and start making money using the knowledge and strategies I have discussed up to now.
At the end of the last article, we were in the midst of a game of Omaha Hi/Lo Split on Party Poker at limit $0.5/$1.
Trying to keep up the good work!
I am at a full table of 10 and have about $110 from the starting stack of $100. Most players here started with the default $25 offered to them when they sat down at this level.
Hand 20: Jh 2h Jc 7s. Nothing exciting. Fold.
Hand 21: 7d Ks Ad 9s. Not a lot on the low side but, importantly, a good high side with strong double suits. It is raised before me so I call with some others. The flop comes 6s 6h 2d which is not what I want to see. A paired board could kill any flush and the low cards probably take half the pot from me. I give it up and fold.
Hand 22: Qc 7c Ah 8h. Another double suit. I see a cheap flop which is Jh Qd Th. That kills the low side but gives me a nut flush draw. Someone may have the straight in the meantime. I have to pursue this for now. There is a bet and I call. We are heads up. 4s is no help. He bets and I call. I fear he has more than my pair of Q's, A kicker. I need a heart. The river is 2c and I fold to the bet.
Hand 23: 4d 2d Ad Th. Some promising low cards and nut flush potential albeit with a dead diamond. I raise $1. Three callers only. The flop is 5d 4c Kd which gives the nut flush draw and nut low draw. I bet hoping to see a 3 if there is no diamond. It is raised so I call. Kh on the turn is not helpful as it could kill both sides of my hand. I check and see the river for free. 8c on the river makes me the nut low but I have lost the high side. I bet $1 and receive one call. I am quartered as he had the better high cards to accompany his A 2.
Hand 24: Kc Jc 3h 2h. This shows some promise at both high and low ends albeit lacking the ace which is usually decisive. I call under the gun (first position after the big blind). Several people are beginning to fold before the flop suggesting a tightening up on the table. Five of us see the flop. Flop comes 2d Ac 5c which has counterfeited my 2 on the low side but given me a nut flush draw on the high side. I would need to see a 4 to give me at least a share of the nut low and a 5 high straight (the Wheel). Ideally the 4c will drop but that is for my dreams! I bet this hoping no-one holds a 4 3 combination. The tightening of the table is confirmed when all fold leaving a meagre pot of $2.25 for me. Small but welcome as it saves me drawing for a half pot.
Hand 25: Big blind. Jd 5s Qc 3s which is nondescript but I check the unraised bets. Flop is Jc 3d Td and this gives me a 2-pair. I check and there is one bet and two folds. I call heads up. The turn is 4h and I check-call a $1 bet. There is a 4c on the end, not the card I wanted to see paired but there is no low hand available. Check-called again and I have lost to a low card chaser holding A24x. That is unfortunate but it also shows how easy it is to get dragged into pots with no more than a promising hand. A 2-pair is a dangerous hand to trust at Omaha.
Hand 26: 3h 8c 4h 5c. I call this in the small blind as there are numerous draws in this hand. Flop has come a useful 2d 6s 3s which gives me the temporary nut straight (6-high) and some ammunition for the low hand. I am first to bet against three others remaining. The table is definitely running dry as they all fold and leave me with another $2.50 micro-pot.
Hand 27: On the button. 4h 7d 9s Tc. Poor hand but the table folds into me and I call (probably should raise). The big blind checks. Flop Ad Qc 2s. Not a lot of use but the big blind checks so I put in a bet. This induces the fold so I take another tiny pot of $1.75. These all add up.
The table seems to be losing interest in betting and two players have just left leaving eight playing.
Hand 28: 5c Td 3c 6s. Nondescript fare so I fold.
Two more have left so we are becoming short-handed.
Hand 29: Td Qd 2s 4s. Double-suited but not strong. I decide to limp in to a short-handed pot. Flop is 7h 5c Th which misses everything but a pair of T's. I check and get a free look at the 9c on the turn. Still no good but again checked through. Kc on the river will make a flush for anyone with two clubs. Again it is checked round which is surprising, as one player held Qc Jc, maybe looking for a check-raise.
Hand 30: In the big blind. 2s Qc 2d 3h. Low possibilities but thin on the ground. As the table has stopped playing, I get to see the flop. This is 8h As Th so I have a nut low draw but nothing high. I don't want to be chasing this too much. It is raised and called by two others. I decide to ignore my own advice and call! The 9d on the turn is not good. I check again and, this time, get a free card. They must all be chasing the low and that smells like a possible quartering for me as a 5c hits the river and completes the nut low for me. I rashly bet this despite only having a half pot to aim at. Both call and I have been quartered. It is easy to get wrapped up in low chases but I probably broke even here, no more.
Hand 31: We are down to a four-handed table as players have lost interest and left. I have Jh Kh 9h Ks. High potential. Raised ahead of me so I call looking for a high flop. It comes Ah 7h 3d. This gives me a nut flush draw but also probably completes a low hand for someone else. Checked all round. 2d on the turn. A bet is made by one of the other two players still in. I decide to call for the draw. 3s is not it on the river. The question now is whether the bettor is a low hand as I still have a pair of K's in hand. The A on the board is not promising for these. I call and lose to an A. Poor play by me, I have to concede, but the money was thin in the pot.
Hand 32: We are down to three players. No, it has dropped to just me and one other heads up. I have Jc 6c Jd Th. Heads up is a different game and my opponent immediately raises. I call. The flop is 3s Qc Kd giving me an open-ended straight draw. This time it is checked by my opponent so I bet $0.50. It is called and the turn is 9s, making my straight and eliminating any low hands. However there are two spades on the board. It is checked to me and I bet $1. The player folds so I pick up $4.
That was enough for him and he left me stranded. That is a good point to call it a day with a profit of $6.51 after about 35 minutes play.
The objective of recording these sessions has been to put myself to the test hopefully observing the ideas and strategies I have outlined over the first nine articles when entering low-limit games of Omaha and Omaha Hi/Lo Split.
As someone being introduced to this variation of poker, you have to cut your teeth at the bottom so you do not suffer any mortal blows to your bankroll while making the inevitable errors. As the sessions I have played show, it is possible to grind out profits at even the lowest level. Both sessions were first takes and their purpose was to show that you are in a jungle and must navigate through it carefully. If you do, you should emerge fully-clothed and hopefully laden with some souvenirs of the trip. Occasionally, a jungle beast will take a bite from you but, as the saying goes, "That's poker!"
If you are comfortable at $0.5/1, step up and spend some time at $1/2. Only when that feels good should you move on up. The other question to consider is when to take the plunge at Pot Limit Omaha. That is a very different card game where a bullet-proof vest is recommended before diving into the trees. Sooner or later, you will want to face it so, next time, I will make a gentle introduction to Pot Limit Omaha!
29 June 2005
Ed Note: Today, the last WSOP satellites run on Poker Stars don't miss out!