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Old 06-21-2013, 08:01 PM   #1
Aesah
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Aesah's guide to live PLO for NLHE players

This is a (slightly edited) repost from my PG&C, but I get a lot of comments/people asking where to find it so I figure I'll put it here. I'll post an intermediate guide sometime later too Cheers!


Aesah's beginner's guide to live Pot Limit Omaha games for No Limit Hold'em players:


Table selection and buyin:
Dude, you can't table select in live PLO, consider yourself lucky if you even have access to one of these gold mines. Take 10 seconds to scan the table, then buy in for ~75bb if less than half of the players look like professionals. Note that out of the players who do look like professionals, most of them probably suck anyway.

Quick note about shortstacking. Many people try to ease their way into the PLO scene by buying in for 25bb and limp/jamming AAxx/KKxx/4 broadway cards. I highly discourage this as you will develop a skewed view of the game and learn bad habits while not learning anything useful. If you mainly just want to rail the game, then rail the game, don't shortstack it.

Preflop:
OK this is live PLO, and you are a beginner. No need for crazy bluffs, hero calls, floats, range merging, polarization, etc. Expect to see lots of multiway pots where someone out there will have the nuts. Let that guy be you!! And let someone else be the sucker who pays you off with 2nd nuts. Basically I consider there to be 3 main hand groupings that can make the nuts that you should play... they make the nut flush, set, and straight, and they are color-coded accordingly throughout. While discretion is advised to fold the most raggy hands from the worst positions even if they fit in these categories, you can limp pretty much any hand that can make:

1) an ace high flush (AhJh5d2s),
2) a set of queens or better (QdQs6d2h),
3) high card smooth/1-gapped rundowns (Td9s8h6c being the absolute bottom of your rundown range), and
4) Any combination of the above is obviously very premium (AdKdKsJd). Don't worry about seeing 3 diamonds in your hand, it's irrelevant. Trips in your hand is total trash though.

OK so the example hands above are pretty bad and near the bottom of the range of qualifying hands you'll be dealt, feel free to fold them if you want. In fact if you're patient enough... playing only premium hands is 100% totally fine in PLO because you will always get action no matter what, and the only drawback of a low VPIP, getting blinded down, is basically 100% irrelevant in live PLO. You can raise a bit if you want, but I'd start with just limp/calling everything (unless the pot gets ridiculously bloated preflop)- an added bonus of the limp/call everything strategy is that sometimes you'll be able to limp/jam AAxx (note that getting in at least 25% of your stack preflop is equivalent to a jam, since the stack to pot ratio will be less than 1 if you get a caller and you can jam any flop). If your table is 3-bet happy just tighten the hell up and just limp/jam AAxx/good KKxx (high side cards, suits)/suited big cards.

Be very careful to avoid hands that look decent/similar to the ones above but actually suck like AhQsTs7d (you're never going to be happy with your hand unless you make the nut straight on a rainbow board), 5h5s2h2s (since you won't ever overflush or overset anyone), and 6s5s4d3c (since you won't ever overstraight anyone). Hopefully it should go without saying that stuff like QsJs6h5h is just utter complete garbage, you never want to flop an OESD in PLO, you want a wrap. So yea, do not limp with hands like the ones above no matter how pretty they look and how potentially +EV they could be if you were a PLO master (more on this later). They are bad in multiway pots.

Quick note on not having danglers: overrated for hands in category 1 and 2. Obviously QQJT is much better than QQ62, but this is live PLO, any hand that can flop the nuts is +EV enough to limp. Does it really matter if you have an OESD with your set when the flop comes Q93r? Nope. As a NLHE comparison, obviously AQs is much better than AJo, but you still can play both.

Flop:
Start by check/raising a lot with your range of nuts/nut draws. Fold your air, trouble hands like bottom 2 pair (more on this later), and draws to non-nutted hands. If you have position or it looks like the flop is going to get checked through, bet. Don't slowplay. Just bet pot-sized bets or very close to it with anything that you know FOR SURE has at least 33% equity against basically almost anything (for example, AhJh5d2s on Td6h4h, QdQs6d2h on QsJh8h, and Td9s8h6c on Kd7h6s). If you can handle it, try to pay close attention to your SPR and always try to get the last bet in because your opponents will often incorrectly fold out their equity (e.g., folding a T high flush draw + gutter vs. your CRAI with top set on Ks4s3d, or folding bottom two pair vs. your CRAI with ace-high + naked nut flush draw on KcJd6c).

Turn:
Basically same as flop, except that your draws are only half as good (and accordingly, your made hands are twice as good) on the turn than on the flop.

River:
On the river, basically nothing except the stone cold nuts is worth betting or calling with. Again, don't worry about thin value bets/hero calls when you're just learning. However if you follow the guide, you shouldn't have to play too many rivers anyway.

Bluffing:
VERY SIMPLE: Don't bluff! The fact that you're betting a mix of draws/made hands already balances your ranges enough that people will incorrectly fold their equity against you. Note that betting ace high with the nut flush draw on an unpaired flop doesn't count as a bluff- you want to think of your hands in terms of equities vs. ranges, not in terms of "what's the hand I have right now if it were to instantly go to showdown".

Medium strength hands:
Easy game up until now- this is the tough part where as a beginner you'll not be making as much money where experienced players are. The most important thing to realize about this is... it's totally fine!! Sure it's -EV for a good player to pass on some of these spots, but it's really no big deal for now.

Most people learning poker try to learn how to play every hand in the most +EV manner. BIG MISTAKE. Poker is complicated. If your goal is to become an Olympic-level figure skater, then yes, you're going to need to learn how to loop, lutz, and axel. However no one learns to do that all at once, they learn how to skate in a straight line without falling down first. Poker is the same. Learn the basics (making nuts/nut draws and betting aggressively), get good at them, THEN you can worry about playing medium strength hands for thin value, hero calls, etc. But definitely don't try learning the poker equivalent of lutzes and axels until you can confidently beat the game playing nutty hands/draws.


So, since you'll end up in this situation a lot anyway... here's a brief guide on what to do. You can basically just deal with these medium strength hands by mixing up check/folding and bet/folding with them (putting more weight on an option based on whether the table is loose or tight, respectively). In general, you can always bet/fold TPTK/overpairs/2pair on uncoordinated flops, and continue with 2pair+ or good draws (8+ outs minimum) on safe turns. Learning to play these comes mainly with experience, by paying close attention to when good players go to showdown and seeing if their line with all 4 of their cards (not just the 2 that play) make sense. IMPORTANT: Always fold to aggression!

For a few examples, on coordinated flops, you basically want to have the nuts or a good draw to the nuts. No shame in folding AhJh5d2s on AdJdTh (2 outs to the nuts, 2 more to "probably the nuts"), QdQs6d2h on 9d8d2d (possibly drawing dead! very exploitable to fold to 1 bet but this is live pokers so lolexploitability. This one is a valuebet though if flop checks through), or Td9s8h6c on QcJd6d (a pair with 16 turn cards that can give you a straight may look really pretty but this hand actually blows! Note that you merely have 2 outs to the nuts!!).

So to summarize, if you're facing aggression and there's some possibility you could be drawing completely dead, don't be afraid to just muck hands like bottom two pair to a single bet when you're just learning the game even though an experienced player could continue with them profitably.

Finally, quick note about board texture. On extremely coordinated boards like 9d7c6h, TcTs8s, and Jd4d2d, an overpair is NOT a "medium strength hand" like it is on most boards. It's total trash.

Conclusion:
Wait a second Aesah, this seems too easy. Are you really telling me I can beat live PLO playing only premium hands with like 2 pages worth of knowledge? YES! Because although you'll probably end up with a few pros, the majority of your table should be recreational players playing a combined average of at least 85% VPIP and stacking off with hands like AhQsTs7d on 9s6s4d to find out they're drawing to 3 outs, 5h5s2h2s on AcQh5d to find out they're drawing to 1 out, and 6s5s4d3c on 8c7s5h to find out they're almost completely dead. If these hands look familar, that's because they're our trouble/trash hands from the preflop section... make sense why now ? These guys will lose lots of money at the tables... the veteran PLO sharks may get more of it than you, but if there's any justice in this world, you will get some too.

Spoiler:

Good luck on the tables!
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Old 06-21-2013, 08:16 PM   #2
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Re: Aesah's guide to live PLO for NLHE players

Grunch: what a pity I didn't read your PGC before, it should have much more insight in total even than this wall of text.

Unfortunately I can't play live now, shall maybe dabble in live microstakes whenever I find myself in a city with a live casino, but I guess many online PLO players would like to read a similar guide on transitioning to live play, especially now, when WSOP is on the go.

Put special emphasis on bankroll management differences between online and live games because, while an online PLO player needs 100 BI, a live one needs 25 or so (because the variance is lower and attainable bb/100 winrates are higher)
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Old 06-21-2013, 09:55 PM   #3
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Super awesome guide, Aesah. Every time I read it I feel like I become more knowledgable about the game

Next step is reading the board correctly haha
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Old 06-21-2013, 10:08 PM   #4
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Re: Aesah's guide to live PLO for NLHE players

you want me to replace ur PGC milestone with this one in the grand digest? seems like an obvious move...
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Old 06-22-2013, 01:00 AM   #5
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Re: Aesah's guide to live PLO for NLHE players

A good one.
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Old 06-23-2013, 09:54 PM   #6
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Re: Aesah's guide to live PLO for NLHE players

Quote:
Originally Posted by GoGetaRealJob View Post
you want me to replace ur PGC milestone with this one in the grand digest? seems like an obvious move...
yes, thanks!

@coon74: I personally don't like talking about bankroll since everyone has different acceptable levels of risk of ruin (are you ok with a 95% chance of not going broke assuming you never move down? 99.9% of never going broke assuming you also move down to 1/2 NL if you lose half your bankroll? etc.)

I would say a 3000bb downswing is extremely unlikely if you have a solid winrate (less than .1% chance you'll encounter one in your first 1000 hours). Keep in mind that if the game is regularly straddled to 5x or something then you have to count the straddle as the bb- so like a 5/5 game where people frequently BTN straddle to 20, that would be $60k not 15k.
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Old 06-24-2013, 12:01 AM   #7
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Re: Aesah's guide to live PLO for NLHE players

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Originally Posted by Aesah View Post
@coon74: I personally don't like talking about bankroll since everyone has different acceptable levels of risk of ruin (are you ok with a 95% chance of not going broke assuming you never move down? 99.9% of never going broke assuming you also move down to 1/2 NL if you lose half your bankroll? etc.)
Regardless of the risk tolerance level, we can discuss by how many times a live bankroll can be smaller than an online one for the same stake and risk tolerance - this ratio is the same for all BRM strategies and can be well approximated by (online_variance/online_wr)/(live_variance/live_wr) (note that they should be taken for the same number of hands, e.g. 100 - I know live players' habit to measure winrates in $/hr!).

Last edited by coon74; 06-24-2013 at 12:08 AM.
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Old 06-24-2013, 06:57 AM   #8
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Re: Aesah's guide to live PLO for NLHE players

Many thanks Aesah.

I was just planning to try some live games this summer and your post is obviously v helpful.
From your intro I understood that the text was written some time ago but you find your tuggt approach as still applicable in today's games?

Looking forward to read the next part.
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Old 06-24-2013, 01:47 PM   #9
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Re: Aesah's guide to live PLO for NLHE players

I updated my post right before I posted it here (on 6-21-13). The original wasn't too long ago, so everything is still pretty much the same.
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Old 06-25-2013, 10:40 AM   #10
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Getting in 25% of your stack preflop doesn't let you shove any flop heads up. And with t986 on jq6 you have 13 straightouts not 16.
Nice guide though!
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Old 06-25-2013, 02:49 PM   #11
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This is great, thanks aesah. Looking forward to hearing you on barts podcast.
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Old 06-25-2013, 03:01 PM   #12
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Re: Aesah's guide to live PLO for NLHE players

Decent post, but I would put something in there regarding how many players are at the table, or is it just assuming 9 players in live plo? THe blinding down being irrilevent also suggests 9 players. 9 max and 6 max actually play very very differently in plo, opposed to in nlhe where the change is not as great.
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Old 06-25-2013, 03:06 PM   #13
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Re: Aesah's guide to live PLO for NLHE players

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aronyau View Post
Getting in 25% of your stack preflop doesn't let you shove any flop heads up. And with t986 on jq6 you have 13 straightouts not 16.
Nice guide though!
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It depends on the AA but I believe the math I read sooooo long ago IIRC had a 19 -33% (AA72r-AAJTds ) unexploited (by complete information) post flop stack off/pre flop pot committal against a 100% range.

25% is the standardized average. I agree though, just because you have 25% of stack in does not mean you should be shoving the JQTsss flops that miss your hand totally - even though you CAN and still ultimately profit due to repetitions of the preflop play but with variable flop.
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Old 06-25-2013, 04:18 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mt.FishNoob View Post
9 max and 6 max actually play very very differently in plo, opposed to in nlhe where the change is not as great.
Could you expand on that a litttle more, how is it different from NLHE from 9 full ring to 6 max?
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Old 06-25-2013, 05:17 PM   #15
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Re: Aesah's guide to live PLO for NLHE players

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aronyau View Post
Getting in 25% of your stack preflop doesn't let you shove any flop heads up. And with t986 on jq6 you have 13 straightouts not 16.
Nice guide though!
Sent from my GT-I9100 using 2+2 Forums
Oops you're totally right, not sure how I missed that.

Regarding the shove any flop with AAxx and SPR<1, it's a literature that has been studied in extreme depth and it's a bit beyond the scope of this post- however it's basically completely fine and you shouldn't worry about it.
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Old 06-25-2013, 05:19 PM   #16
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Re: Aesah's guide to live PLO for NLHE players

I suggest not playing shorthanded if you're brand new to PLO. If the table is juicy enough then you can still play the same style I advocate for 9-handed and it will work. But you'll get in trouble if it's 6-handed and there's 2 decent players abusing you.
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Old 06-25-2013, 05:40 PM   #17
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When you get 25% of your stack in preflop and villain has you covered the spr is not 1 though (assuming no one else put money in the pot preflop and the stacks are not too shallow)
100bb stacks:
25bb from hero+25bb from villain+ 1, 5bb blinds= 51, 5bb pot with 75bb behind.
Of course you can still a lot of the time profitable 4bet and b/c but you can't profitable jam because you can't jam at all.
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Old 06-25-2013, 05:51 PM   #18
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Re: Aesah's guide to live PLO for NLHE players

oops. you are right yet again, this is extra embarrassing because it is actually more correct in the original version! For some reason I thought SPR<1 at 25% so I hastily changed it because I thought I made a mistake originally.
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Old 06-26-2013, 09:03 AM   #19
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Re: Aesah's guide to live PLO for NLHE players

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Could you expand on that a litttle more, how is it different from NLHE from 9 full ring to 6 max?
This is a difficult question... It is difficult to answer briefly and I can't think of a way of expressing it in a sentence or two. Just think about 66 in a 6max nlhe game and 9 man game- it is pretty similar how you play in both. But 66** in plo is FAR worse in 9man than it is in 6man.

In nlhe the idea that you have to refine your A* strength due to domination, and the validity of shoving 99 pre.... translates with plo - when considering gaps and hand rank... in PLO there is so much more of this as players increase and it becomes more significant in terms of pot ownership also.
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Old 06-26-2013, 04:00 PM   #20
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Re: Aesah's guide to live PLO for NLHE players

What options are there for us who don't have access to playing online unless it's for play money? Is LLSPLO similar enough to some higher level 'play money' tables that it's worth grinding up some fake chips on pokerstars to get experience past the usual out counting?

Is PLO juicy enough in your opinion that I should move from 1/2 NL to 1/2 PLO instead of taking shots at 2/5 NL?

For reference, I play in Cleveland, which I know you have experience with.
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Old 06-27-2013, 07:39 AM   #21
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Re: Aesah's guide to live PLO for NLHE players

I don't recommend online play money but you can try it. Honestly just sit in the 1/2 PLO game and only play very premium hands (any aces, then high connected cards, some random examples QQJT, JT97, AKKT, JJ99). Otherwise just rail the game and see how other people are playing.

PLO isn't inherently juicier than NLHE or any other game. It's all about the players in the game, and once you learn both, you can sit in a PLO game when it's the best in the room, and sit in a NLHE game when it's the best in the room.
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Old 06-27-2013, 11:07 AM   #22
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Re: Aesah's guide to live PLO for NLHE players

Quote:
Originally Posted by Raidion View Post
What options are there for us who don't have access to playing online unless it's for play money? Is LLSPLO similar enough to some higher level 'play money' tables that it's worth grinding up some fake chips on pokerstars to get experience past the usual out counting?

Is PLO juicy enough in your opinion that I should move from 1/2 NL to 1/2 PLO instead of taking shots at 2/5 NL?

For reference, I play in Cleveland, which I know you have experience with.
The Horseshoe game isn't that great. It runs later in the day for a few hours and the fish went broke a while ago. Usually you will see the same 6+ players at the table. The games not good when its $100-250 stacks and 80% are old guys. But the younger guys at the table are usually pretty good. Point is, $6 rake + $1 bad beat +$1 tip per hand in a short PLO game isn't a good situation. Now the 2/5 game plays huge and they love to gamble. But that's a tough game when its $60-100 to see a flop and flop bets are $400 and turn bets pretty much put people all in. On the other hand, the 2/5NL games aren't that great at the shoe either.

Try it out.
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Old 07-16-2013, 12:56 AM   #23
Aesah
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Re: Aesah's guide to live PLO for NLHE players

Just finished my first video on the "why" of live PLO! You can view it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0L4Kb9embX4
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Old 07-16-2013, 02:49 AM   #24
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Re: Aesah's guide to live PLO for NLHE players

I like the first point of your vid.

Stopped the video on 00:23 and I have to say that live poker is so much more fun than online.. I hope the video is a good one. At least your sound is not irritating..
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Old 07-16-2013, 07:20 AM   #25
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Re: Aesah's guide to live PLO for NLHE players

Pretty hard to find a live poker game in germany (at least where i live) and allmost impossible to find a PLO game.

But i really doubt i can make more money playing live than playing online multitabling at PS.
Hourly should be higher for me playing plo25-100 playing online, but winrate live in soft games plo200+ should be higher as live players tend to be more fishy.

just have to find a good game
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