PLO - Staying in the game

Pot Limit Omaha RSS / / 12 May 2011 / Leave a Comment

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210 Pot Limit Omaha

One of the interesting things about Pot Limit Omaha, and arguably the thing that makes it by far the most profitable game out there for the astute player at the moment, is how few people are actually rolled to stay in the game. This is a key point in poker, and one which can turn you into a losing player even if you have an obvious edge over an opponent.

Say you start playing a heads up PLO match against a weak opponent with ten buy ins. The weak player is very comfortably rolled for the stakes. Now you have an obvious edge, and could probably win at a rate of 5bb/100 quite comfortably over a large sample. Yet in the long run you will generally lose to this player. As the variance is so high in heads up PLO, pretty much regardless of how well you play the fish will win all your money. Unless you run spectacularly well straight out of the gate to the point that you are then comfortably rolled, you will lose over time. The fish can survive the swings, but you can't, and that soon mitigates any skill edge in most cases.

This example is an obvious and simple one, but the effect runs right through PLO to the very highest levels. Good players, used to Hold'em or tournament poker, sit down at tables where they often have an edge over many of the fish, but not the right size of capital for PLO. Their bankrolls soon get eaten up by the good players in the game regardless, as the huge swings of PLO soon decimate their money pretty much regardless of how well they play.

This money quickly gets absorbed by the players who have the rolls to survive the swings, and it soon pads these players rolls out just as fast as getting their money in good does. You can't bet with money you don't have regardless of how good you are at a game - having an edge is meaningless without adequate capital to impose it.

Even when mega-whale Andy Beal sat down with the 'Corporation' of Vegas pros to play the highest stakes poker ever played, at some point the pros had to give in and stop allowing him to continually rise the stakes. No player(s) can compete with a billionaire in terms of swing handling, and when Beal asked for the stakes to get high enough that the variance could have collectively bankrupted the high stakes poker community, they had to refuse to play - even though they had a clear edge over him and the opportunity to win millions.

Staying in the game is as much a part of a poker players concern as how they play in the game, and nowhere is this more obvious than in PLO. You simply cannot win long term playing the game under-rolled, and it is essential you exercise much greater bankroll management than you would for sit and goes or Hold'em games if you want to stick around for any period of time.

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