Pre-flop play in PLO 6max. Foreword
Hello, dear colleagues.
Today, I start publishing my new work entitled “Playing PLO 6max on Pre-flop” here on Pokeroff. It is a deeply-detailed piece concerning the problems that arise on pre-flop play in Omaha. It is neither an instruction manual or a book - rather it is simply creative research, based on my small amount of personal experience in playing middle-stakes poker, coupled with some theoretical research.
Separate parts of this work were published on betflop.com – not as a whole text, but in the form of separate blog posts and forum topics. Now I am ready to provide you with the final results of my research.
These texts will be published twice a week, on Tuesdays and Fridays. At the same time they will appear on betflop.com. English translations will be available about a month later on 2+2.
Please understand that I am not the most perfect poker player, and that my views may be too narrow at times – that's why I am totally open-minded when it comes to criticisms, comments and additions.
Let's get started. Today, you will read a short foreword, and on Friday you will see the first chapter entitled “Basics of Poker Combinatorics”.
Playing PLO 6max on preflop
There are two main factors that led me to write this text. The first factor is connected with an independent learning of Omaha: whilst I was analyzing my own play, many calculations and speculations that required public discussion and critical examination appeared. As I started my way in Omaha by playing short stakes, the first topic for my research predictably became pre-flop play.
The second factor was my dissatisfaction with the point-of-view that is spread among beginners – that decision-making pre-flop in Omaha is a secondary skill. The traditional explanation is as follows: Any hand can stand against any other hand reasonably well, and the lack of mathematical probability can easily be compensated with the ability to play the hand post-flop in the right way. Such a viewpoint is particularly harmful, as in reality the wrong decision pre-flop can lead to the loss of one's stake, even if the play is not connected with blowing the bankroll through 3 or 4-betting. A player comes in with a questionable card, which leads to obtaining a doubtful hand on the flop. It feels too good to fold, but too dangerous to play further. As a result, the beginners face the problem of two of their low pairs running into two of their opponent's high pairs, or a low flush draw running into a high one, or a labored low set running into a high one, etc. Further playing post-flop leads to at least additional expense except the bet on pre-flop, if not to the loss of the whole stake.
Until they get used to it, newbies blame bad luck. “Who would have though my set was low? There was no mistake in playing all-in on my set!” That's true enough, as running into a set is hard to predict, but the player who chooses the hands he plays pre-flop with more care, in most cases will end up with more profit that someone who plays, say, 40 percent of hands on the flop. If the flop lands for you more rarely than your opponents, it is most likely that you are playing pre-flop in the wrong way. Crucially, the sense of making a correct decision pre-flop is to end up, on average, with more favorable circumstances than your opponents. The situation concerning profitability on the flop is determined by many factors: the simplicity of playing the hand, the all-in mathematical expectation, the position, pot size, hand non-transparency for the opponent, etc.
Making the right decision pre-flop requires a thorough understanding of all these factors, therefore, it deserves deep research. In setting the stage for the informative part of the research, I will make a few remarks. Firstly, this text is not a 'magic formula' book and it will not give the hard and fast answers as to the questions of which hands should be played, in which position, and under which conditions. It just provides some guidelines and common principles of decision-making; provoking the reader's own thoughts in keeping with his own playing style. To this end, the author's practical reasoning should be viewed as an illustration to the main points of the text, and not as an instruction manual.
Secondly, this text is more orientated towards playing with middle and high stakes, which is expressed in the active use of opponents' stats rates and the assumption that the basic stats measures (pre-flop call, pre-flop raise and pre-flop 3-bet) belonging to most players with stats that are unknown to us lie within the 20/40, 15/25 and 5/15 limits accordingly.
Thirdly, I must admit the use of Pokersmart Studio's OmahaChecker program as my research assistant www.pokersmartstudio.com, an online hand odds pre-flop calculator. This software, together with the offered text, has become an important product in my research, and along with it, a motive to create my own studio, making software for poker professionals.