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PLO -- Interrogations part 2.

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careface_   Canada. Aug 31 2015 03:20. Posts 788

Hey, I wrote a little blog post about me jumping into plo, anyhow, I'd like to follow up here for strategic advice, if that is still shared. Nothing too complicated, nothing too advanced.

I logged a lot of midstakes hands of plo lately, a lot. Learned the game a lot also. Have a much better grasp and feel for the game and what to do in order to win/exploit.

PLO isn't really hard to get good at, but it seems very very hard to get great at. Not in the mathematical (most players can learn that pretty easily) but a lot more in the adaptation, the bluffing, the inducing, the sizings. It's so easy to simply get in 55/45 or 45/55 and grind it out and get free stacks by the fishes. But it is so hard to play those but also be a good winner in all the other spots.

Now that was the blog post. Here are a few of my interrogations and questions.

When grinding Stars, zoom games. It's always pretty much the same thing, you get a lot of HU pots, a lot of 3 handed pots and that's pretty much it, most players are relatively face up, they tend to underbluff (up to plo100z for my experience), etc. The game plays a little by it self, you can certainly grind it out for profit by bluffing casually and by staying in line.

I quit Stars zoom recently, wanted to hit the softer games on networks I used to play on.

Right now, my average players per flop at PLO100 is probably around 4.2 players/flop.

The game is very passive, not a lot of 3betting, a lot of calling stations. It's very hard to make a big mistake. I have watched some videos of how to play vs passive players, but this is a little different.

I have the feeling there isn't simply much we can do. In those games. Like nothing at all. It feels awful.

I tried a lot of things, tried to loosen up my game a little, which kind of failed because it's always 4 way pots and nobody is folding postflop, but you are pretty much playing a guessing game and when you are not drawing to the nuts, it's pretty dangerous/costly.

I tried to tighten up my game, which seemed the thing to do, but which is also a paradoxe since you are facing very weak competition.

I tried to barrel a lot, which went very bad, got called by easy folding hands too often. I tried to pretty much play as face up as I could, and cbet only in good spots depending on my holding and not of the board, that went okay.

But still, I cannot beat those games. That plo100 is a lot softer than PLO25z on stars, but still I simply cannot beat it. Bluffing and semi-bluffing is impossible and that aspect of PLO seems to be a good part of a good winrate.

Flops are always 4 way, there is no point in iso 3bet often/light a player when on the btn, SB and BB will snap call and so will initial raiser. At least one of them isn't going anywhere postflop.

I feel that my equity with whatever hand is always awful, that the grind is insanely hard, that you basically never win a hand. Are those type of games profitable? Like I said, you simply cannot bluff or semi bluff. You also cannot do much with not nutted hands, since someone somewhere will have a nutted hand and your equity will drop/be awful in get in spots.

Anyhow, this is so confusing, in NL I would love those games, you could get in 96/4 spots pretty easily or in 70%+ spot pretty easily. But in PLO, I feel like in most spots, when I have 35%+ on a 4 way-flop, I'm a god. And I always take that equity, but jesus does those spot swing.

I am so confused to the approach to have, and simply, cannot log a winning session to save my life. One last example would be, everytime I barrel my AXXXs hand on KsXsXx and the turn goes 6s, I would second barrel and get insta-pot shoved on. Not once, not twice, not 3 times, almost every single time. Seems fine when you've got the nuts, and obviously it pays off when you've got it. But damnit doe it not compute when you've got the nut blocker, still you've got to fold, that would so rarely happen on Stars for all the obvious reasons. Now seems simple to just wait for the nuts or the nut draws and profit profit profit. But that is not always easy and exactly all of the rest of the time, having to fold, is insanely costly. So in the end, do we really win?

Anyhow, I'd just like input on the approach to have, my only idea is probably to tighten up as fuck, which is boring, but I don't see any other way. I think abusing of check-raising might be better than barreling also. Problem is game is also pretty passive most of the time and you wont always have a bet to check raise. But pot will be bigger because people are not raising cbets often either.

So basically, I couldn't be more confused, I simply have no idea how to beat the softest games I have ever seen in my life. It was a lot easier to grind zoom on Stars and that doesn't make any f-king sense.

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 Last edit: 31/08/2015 03:25

careface_   Canada. Aug 31 2015 03:45. Posts 788

man that post comes from a confused plo player.

MeProOk   Bulgaria. Aug 31 2015 06:06. Posts 246

Hire a coach. Not one that will learn you the theory, but one to spot your leaks, as you should have a lot(coming from an NL background). Most midstakes guys should be able to do this pretty quick. Of course, you will not fix all leaks, but a few crucial ones should make you a small winner from a small loser. Theory/mathematics/gameflow/range constructions/balancing/etc you will learn on your own as you play and work on your game. No idea what coaches' hourly is, but I guess a few buy ins of yours.

Smuft   Canada. Aug 31 2015 20:34. Posts 618

my PLO experience is very limited and would be nice if a stronger PLO reg could read this and point out any mistakes + add on things I missed out on


The games you are describing sound a lot like the 6max version of most live PLO games which I've played a few sessions of recently and did some thinking about it as well.

The stand out theme is everyone plays too loose/passive preflop and postflop.

The adjustment to this seems pretty simple to me and doesn't really matter which form of poker we're playing, we adjust by playing a straight forward value based game

How do we best accomplish this in PLO? Here are some ideas:

1. Play high equity hands - Odds Oracle and check which hands do well vs typical PF ranges 3way, 4way, 5way, etc to help determine your open, 3b, CC, etc ranges

You seem to have started "reprogramming" your PF game coming from a zoom PS background but still have work to do.

2. Cut your bluffing ranges - in general to only your best bluffs w/ good blockers or vs a faceup range

there is probably some bluffs you can make vs this weaker field you probably couldnt get away with vs better players too but that will come with time

3. You can just nit up in games like this and make good money since people are making so many mistakes. It won't be max EV but it'll be easy EV.


So it's pretty much the same adjustments we'd make in NL right?

Also I think the variance is getting to you, 1/2 your post is pretty much venting bad beat stories. Take a step back, look at the big picture, and apply the correct adjustments.

careface_   Canada. Sep 01 2015 00:14. Posts 788

Very spot on on every point, thank you for your post.

My mind was going bezerk when I wrote that, so many thoughts, so many ideas. I agree and have applied your suggestions, I think almost exactly the same.

And yes, variance was mostlikely a big issue when trying to apply all this. This all makes sense, and it does apply as in NL, one of the biggest difference between the two will be like previously said, the variance, a lot harder to win more pots when you are facing many opponents with 4 cards each.

I was steam rolling, I had so many ideas, so many thoughts, something I hadn't had in NL for a few years now. And was getting completely crushed. Had to evacuate and talk about it. Thanks for the post.

traxamillion   United States. Sep 01 2015 02:29. Posts 10333

smuft is right you just need to play a value oriented game and just make the obvious bluffs not every single one you think might be correct

TianYuan    Korea (South). Sep 01 2015 02:39. Posts 6744

Yeah smuft's post sounds spot on... Just do some work in odds oracle with what types of hands you'll be pushing equity pre vs their wide ranges and play straight forwardly.

Hm.. Off-suite socks.. 

TimDawg    United States. Sep 01 2015 09:40. Posts 10167

Ditto on Smuft being spot on.

I seemed to struggle with a lot of the same type of things you are describing as well while playing 100-200PLO 6max. Something that was new, refreshing and I think help improves your all around PLO game is to play HU exclusively. You kind of learn by trial and error what works well vs certain opponents and a lot of things can be applied to 6max/shorthanded games too.

Playing lower/mid stakes vs mostly loose/passive fish can be very frustrating indeed. I would just stick to Smuft's advice of nitting up a bit and just really hammering weak ranges with your high equity hands. The increased variance can really be annoying sometimes (and I haven't even probably felt the full force of it yet) but just keep grinding/maybe post some hands here and you'll do fine.

online bob is actually a pretty smart person, not at all like the creepy fucker that sits in the sofa telling me he does nasty shit to me when im asleep - pinball 

careface_   Canada. Sep 02 2015 23:36. Posts 788

I'm somewhat on a heater. Keeping it very basic. Running maybe something like 34/20 and 3betting 6-7% at most. Not really interested in bringing my 34 vpip and 20 pfr closer for many reasons. 1- I like to see flops vs those opponents. 2- Less variance (at least I think). 3- Too many shortstacks left to act in many spots in order to 3bet in pos certain hands I would deeper.

Anyhow, realizing how much money people punt with AAxx and KKxx (KKxx is awful imo in most stack offs). Trying to limit my loses with those hands by giving up on a lot of spots instead of taking the flip or being behind. Even if I would happen to be ahead, meh, who cares. People bleed with AAxx simply too often.


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