How Skill Games Succeed
When I wrote “Pot-Limit Omaha Poker: The Big Play Strategy” in 2006- 07, PLO was played online and in Europe,
but in the U.S. was largely only played for mid-to-high stakes in the riverboat states of the Midwest and South, and in Las Vegas during the World Series of Poker.
My goal was to change that by setting up sustainable smaller-stakes games and educating players on how to play the game, in order to: 1.
Drive down the stakes and widen the player pool in order to grow the game; and, 2. Slow the rate of attrition to make the games sustainable.
PLO is basically no-limit hold’em on steroids;
it’s hold’em except every player is dealt four hole cards and the player’s hand at showdown is the best five-card.
hand the player can make using exactly two of his/her hole cards and three of the community cards,
while utilizing a pot-limit betting structure (the player can only bet up to the size of the pot at any given time) rather than a no-limit betting structure.
Because the player has four hole cards, the drawing hands run far bigger than in hold’em,
The PLO Revolution where the biggest straight draw in most forms of poker is an eight-out straight draw.
The player can have as much as a 20- card straight draw in Omaha (for example,
J-10-7-6 on a 9-8-2 flop yields 20 straight outs, as any queen, jack, 10, 7, 6, or 5 will make a straight).
When combined with flush draws, the player can have absolutely monster draws that can be a favorite over even a set,
Thus blurring the line between made hand and draw.
Despite the pot-limit betting restrictions, pots get big in a hurry, because more hands can reasonably lay claim to the pot.
Consequently, PLO breeds action, and is often the highest-stakes game in card rooms in which the game is spread.
This is a game everybody would play if: (a) they knew how, and (b) it could be played at reasonable stakes,
Such that the player can blow multiple buy-ins without going broke.
That’s the rub. For starters, $2/$5 PLO tends to play bigger than $5/$10 NLHE.
The first live PLO game I ever played was the uncapped (no max buy-in) $5/$5 PLO game at Ameristar St.
The PLO Revolution Charles in St. Louis; there would be $40,000 on the table with at least one or two $10,000 stacks.
The $10 straddle (in effect, a blind raise) would always be out, and it would often be a blind raise to $40 and $200 to see the flop.
You realize that you have no control over the size of the game—in NLHE,
The action is relatively stunted somewhat pre-flop because you can take AA and simply shove with it.
In PLO, you can’t do that (because of he pot-limit betting restrictions), and nobody cares anyway because AA is easy to outrun with four cards.
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