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Should You Slow Play the Flop in PLO?

Jay HoustonRe-published courtesy of our content partner Ante Up Magazine.

When is it correct to slow play on the flop in pot-limit Omaha by checking behind in position? The answer is rarely. For the most part it’s correct to never get tricky in PLO because you need to balance your ranges so often that betting tends to be the most optimal play in the long run.

Imagine you’re heads-up, in position and looking at a flop of 10-9-4 with two hearts and you hold 10-10-x-x. You should never really check behind in this situation for a few reasons: If your opponent has a set then you’re missing a golden opportunity of getting it in as a huge favorite.

If your opponent has a draw, you’re making him pay for that draw if he calls. If he check-raises with his draw we can get it in as a favorite most of the time.

Balancing your range: So when SHOULD we check behind? Most people would argue the exception comes when there’s a locked board (e.g. a flop of A-4-4 when we have A-A-x-x.

The logic in checking behind is: Your opponent usually doesn’t have much and you can possibly get him to bet into you on the turn with nothing.

Most people are hoping for that incredibly slim chance that the turn is something like a king and your opponent has K-K-x-x, but relying on coolers like that is not the way of the optimal ninja, now is it?

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WSOP 2012 Schedule Now Out

The World Series of Poker staff has release the 2012 Schedule for your viewing pleasure.

This year's series spans May 27 through July 16, with the now standard three month break for the final 9 players of the WSOP Main Event.   This year's November 9 will be the October 9, played in two installments, on October 28 and October 30.  The planning committee wanted have the Main Event conclusion prior to the U.S. General Election, which is the first Tuesday in November.

There are 61 bracelet events this year, up from 58 in last year's series. There are also a few new interesting events, namely:

  • $3,000 Heads-Up No-Limit Hold’em/Pot-Limit Omaha (Event #3, Tuesday, May 29 )
  • $5,000 Mix-Max No-Limit Hold’em (Event #6, Thursday, May 31) - 9-handed Day 1, 6-Handed Day 2, and Heads Up when the field reduces to 32 players
  • $2,500 Four-Handed No-Limit Hold’em (Event #28, Thursday, June 14)
  • $1,500 Ante Only No-Limit Hold’em (Event #49, Wednesday, June 27)
  • $1,000,000 buy-in, Big One For ONE DROP (Event #55, Sunday, July 1, ESPN)

There will also be some WSOP Exhibition Events (non-bracelet) which you can read all about in the WSOP release.

Massey - Variance and Run Bad - 30 Days in the Hole

Aaron Massey1st blog of the new year…. Unfortunately I have nothing good to report. I wrapped up 2011 with a blog that featured my highlights from the year and my passion for the game. I talked about the things I wanted to accomplish this year, listed specific goals, and even made promises to work hard and win. Fueled with optimism, I was eager to get back to the table and start the year right. I was ready to play a tourney everyday and crush it just like I did in 2011. I knew I was gonna get off to a fast start.

(Clears Throat)

Not so much. I went to LA and played the WSOPC at the Bike. I think I played 11 events; I came within 10 places of the money 6 of those times and did not cash once. I got 20th place in the $1080 event that paid 18, after losing AK to A8 on what was basically the stone bubble, and having the guy fist pump in my face after binking a lucky 8. I also bricked the Main Event twice. It was really hard to deal with bc I knew I was playing well and doing everything in my power (which isn’t much in poker in the short term) to win. I put myself in a position to go deep several times but the deck never cooperated with me. It was arguably the worst I have ever run in a 2 week span. Me and my friend Eli rented a car (Mustang convertible- Omar if you are reading this…) and stayed at White Brian’s condo in Venice Beach for a few days. Then we flew to Atlantic City for the Borgota Winter Open, so I could get back to winning. I knew my days of running bad were over.

Not so much. Another 11 tournaments, another 5 finishes within 10 places of the money, which included a stone bubble in the $1090 event (sound familiar?). I went out in 28th place when my KK lost to AA on the bubble while play was hand for hand, in a hand that took 7 minutes bc the third guy in the hand eventually folded QQ, with the entire tournament surrounding our table to see if they will make the money or not, add another 30-40 spectators and the fact we all had stacks, it equals one of the most tilting bustouts I have ever gone thru. I shook his hand and said good game then walked away to let the other 27 players enjoy their money in peace. The one positive thing was that none of the players celebrated when I busted and none of the spectators on the rail made any noise either, out of respect for me as a player. Usually all these mops cheer, hoot and holler when the money bubble bursts. Not this time though, so I appreciated that, but it still really stung. I kept fighting and playing well the subsequent days but was rudely met by a couple of 3 outers, a rivered straight, and half a dozen lost coin flips in a row. Oh wait, I did miss a nut flush draw in the 2k bounty tourney so that one is on me. I played day 1A of the Main Event today. A $3500 which is over 4x my average buyin, I really needed to do well…but, I got it in KK vs AA, 15 minutes into the tournament to bust. I have been beating myself up all day bc I know I should have folded. I am really hard on myself though, it is kings to aces after all so whatever. Still, it’s just demoralizing.

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Harrah’s Joliet Cash Game Reputation on the Rise

Harrah’s Joliet could not have timed the spring 2011 opening of their World Series of Poker room any better. The Department of Justice had just shut down online poker in the US and players, like me, were left scrambling to find a place to play. For a few weeks I bounced around between The Horseshoe, Majestic Star, and Hollywood Joliet, while waiting for Harrah’s grand opening. When it did finally open its doors I was there and have been a regular ever since.

I live much closer to Joliet than Hammond, so convenience was the biggest draw to Harrah’s. Once I started playing I found many more reasons to continue. Due to its smaller size (8 tables) it is very easy for the players to get to know the staff, and vice versa. From the poker room manager, Doug Walters, down to the dealers, the number one priority has been to cater to the regular player’s needs and requests. From lowering the initial rake, to starting a weekly poker league, adding more chips to the starting stack of the tournaments, instituting tier credits for poker players (17 per hour), and most recently adding additional cash games, Harrah’s has been taking the advice of the players and changing the room accordingly since they opened their doors.

For the first few months as the room was still in its infancy, the standard games were 1-3 NL Holdem, and a nightly 3-5 NL Holdem. The 1-3 is their most popular game and most days have 2 to 3 tables running. The games play nine handed with a $100 minimum and a $300 maximum buy-in. The rake on this game is 10% with a $6 cap on a full table. If you are an early bird they reduce that rake to a $4 cap from 9am-12pm.

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