Thursday, January 22, 2009

Online Analysis to Date

I have been playing a decent amount of online poker using Full Tilt. My goal is to turn a $100 bankroll investment into $1000 by December. I started off pretty strong, raking in $100 in my first month playing 5/10 cent NLHE 2 and 3 tables at a time. I was playing a more tight-solid game at that point, targeting weak players, keeping pots small, playing pots for value. However, I was having trouble playing against hyper-aggressive players for whatever reason. I would get impatient and would call all-ins with just flush draws or a weak A. It was a dumb strategy, and I started to backslide. Stupidly, instead of just shifting my strategy or table selecting better, I decided to switch and play Pot Limit Omaha (PLO) at the 5/10 cent levels. This was disastrous to my bankroll. I went from a + $80 month my first month to below my initial $100 in bankroll.

Looking back, I was playing pretty much every double-suited hands, big pairs, and suited and connecting hands. While I may have overvalued some of my hands preflop, I was also not accounting for the type of game I would encounter. It is essentially impossible to bluff at this level. Since the variance can be so high, pretty much everyone plays every pot, and you need the stone nuts to even bet. Even when you have the best hand, things swing back and forth. I flopped quads over quads twice and won big pots, only to flop a full house the next pot and lose to quads. At a max $10 buy-in per table, you basically have enough in your stack to play 1 monster pot, so you’re very variance dependent. I like to semibluff my draws (the only way to play PLO), but against 4-5 other players, it is very tough to know where you’re at from street to street.

After getting cracked for pretty much all of my profits that I ground out in Hold Em, I gave up and realized that I really didn’t have the roll right now to play cash the way I want to play. I had been playing some Sit N Go’s (SNG), with pretty solid results (expected profit of $3.50 per 6 max SNG). I decided to rebuild my roll by multitabling $5 6 max SNG’s exclusively. In the past 2 weeks, I’m earning about $2 profit per match. I know that I am significantly better than my competition, so I use that advantage, plus I am being much more aggressive preflop early in tournaments. I set an aggressive image early and tend to get my big hands paid off. For instance, last night I called a raised with 10-7 suited, flopped 2 pair against JJ and doubled up. The very next hand, I picked up QQ and pumped it up again, and got reraised all-in by K-10 (hand of death). I instacalled and busted the guy. All of a sudden, I’m sitting with $5k in chips with 4 players left, and I can afford to sit back and pick spots. In general, I peg the table within the first 7-10 hands, and I pick on the ones who I can pick on, and value bet the heck out of every pot. I also play the short stack well, so even if I have to fold on a scary board, I’m still in every tournament. I’ve gone from 300 chips early to winning the thing by not getting desperate.

At the same time, one big adjustment that I’ve made here (that I almost never do live) is flat calling preflop or checking the BB with AK, particularly if I’ve been playing loose and aggressive. When I hit, I tend to bet out against the aggressor and tend to get met with a reraise, so I get my chips in. Even if the flop is super scary, I just get away from it with a limp. Not overplaying AK has a very high EV for me, particularly with the image that I’ve set.

Overall, I’m back up about $25 over my initial buy ($125 total). It has been a better month with me playing smarter, playing fewer tables, and quitting whenever I feel I’m not playing my best. I’m happy with the result playing the SNG’s, but I want to get my roll up to $200 total, so I can start playing some 5/10 cent NLHE to really build my roll.


  1. Even more so than NLHE, Omaha is a game a position. Play more in position and avoid playing OOP and you will see a huge change in your results.

    Yes, in Omaha you always should be drawing to the nuts. This is why suited kinds and 2 small pairs preflop are shit hands in Ohaha.

    Aggression wins pots.

    Move up to where they respect your raises.

  2. Very good advice that I will certainly heed. To move up to a level where they will respect my raises, I would need to probably play in the .50/$1 game, which requires a $1,500+ bankroll. I'll get there eventually, but I have to earn my way up there.