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10 Reasons to switch from NLHE to PLO, by Botafogo

Discussion in 'Poker Strategy Articles' started by Botafogo, Apr 6, 2010.

  1. Botafogo

    Botafogo
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    10 Good Reasons to switch from NLHE to PLO:

    1. Fish like “muddy waters” - what do I mean by “muddy waters”, you may wonder? What I mean is that the state of the game right now is such that the optimal winning strategy has not been found yet, so the game is not even close to being solved as NLHE. This way, the skill gap between the fish and lots of mediocre regulars and NLHE converts who haven’t studied PLO theory well enough is very small. This makes it a little easier and more interesting for fish to stick around for longer and have more winning days in the short run because they feel protected by this “muddy area” of knowledge in PLO theory, where hand ranges and equities run so close and are often hard to be estimated even by the most experienced players due to the many more combinations of possible draws/made hands a player can have on each street because of holding 4cards in versus only 2 as in NLHE. This way the fish don’t feel so dominated, as they do in a NHLE game with 5 regulars on the table, where they quickly lose their money to the sharks. That doesn’t mean that PLO is all about gambling with the fish and hoping we run good; there is a correct winning strategy to follow in todays PLO, which will be highly profitable in the long run for the good players. It’s just that very tiny percent of the PLO player field knows the optimal strategy, and so the fish have a much longer short term life. This keeps more fish around in the games for longer, which gives you a lot of long run positive expectation.

    2. Fish like to gamble – How do you feel when you have to play a 10-handed live tournament, after a night of grinding 6-8 tables of 6-max cash games online? Bored…? After 3 hours of constant folding and looking at J4off every single hand, I often want to take out a pillow, lean my hand on the tournament table, and fall asleep. Well, this is how a 6-max NLHE game feels to me compared to a PLO game. In PLO there is 10 times more action than in NLHE, and the games are much more dynamic and interesting. With 4 cards in their hand, fish feel like they can play any 4 cards because the combinations of “strong” hands they can make by the river are so much more than in NLHE. Fish like the action; they like to see pretty flops and make 2 pair on the turn or hit one of their many draws on the river – something that doesn’t happen as often in NLHE. However, the same way fish overplay their one-pair type hands in NLHE, they overestimate their 2-pair or a 9-high flush hands in PLO, except those situations come up way more often in PLO, and the fish pay you off almost every time you have a higher flush or a better 2 pair in PLO. All this non-stop PLO action satisfies the gambling desire of the fish and keeps them very attracted to the game, and they keep rebuy-ing and rebuy-ing with the hope of running hot and building a massive stack, so they can feel great about themselves even if only for a night or two. By maintaining a balanced optimal strategy in PLO, while everyone else is seing close to 100% of flops and gambling with weak dominated draws, you can quickly win 5-10 buy-ins, and you can maintain a long run winning rate of 15bb/100 and above.

    3. Higher Variance = higher skill uncertainty/higher tilt for weak opponents - Since hand equities run so closely preflop, and since your hand is considered a monster if you are 65-35 favorite on the flop, the short run variance of PLO is higher. This makes it possible for fish to build an enormous stack over one session of running hot and feel like they are the king of the world. Sometimes fish can even win consistently for a week, and this makes them think that they are God’s gift to PLO, and that they are doing everything right, when in fact they are playing beyond terrible and just running hot for a few thousand hands. Sooner or later, when the long run variance evens out, they will lose all their money, but they are more likely to deposit again and to get back on the tables, thinking of that one week when they won every single day, which convinced them that they are a good PLO player. Thus, when they eventually lose everything, they think it’s pure bad luck, and they deposit again looking for their luck to turn around. Little do they know that this will never happen in the long run, if they keep playing poorly and making major PLO mistakes. And don't be afraid of the higher variance yourself, because if you play well enough your edge in the games becomes so HUGE, that you will not feel any variance at all and it will become almost impossible to have a loosing session! Also, the higher variance of PLO can tilt weaker opponents out of their minds. I have had opponents call my 4-bets OOP preflop, and snapfold on the flop when they are first to act 5 times in a row. I have seen opponents potting every street with nothing every single hand, until they lose their whole stack, and then rebuying and doing the same until their whole bankroll on the site runs out. So, if you build a knowledge/mental edge over your opponents, you can tilt them and crush them much faster and harder than in NLHE, which reflects on a much higher win rate.

    4. Lots of NLHE converts without proper PLO knowledge appear every day on the tables – There are many good NLHE players, who think that all concepts of NLHE transfer to PLO, so all they need to do is play a few thousand hands of PLO and they will automatically be good at it. This gives you a whole new pool of “semi-fish” that you can play against. With PLO becoming more and more popular, you see new names on the tables every single day, and you can tell that many of them are former NLHE grinders, taking a shot at PLO. What they do is – they are a winner at 400NL, so they load up 2-3 tables of 400PLO, and think that they will be able to beat the same level. There is a lot of value in these type of NLHE converts, because inevitably they make many cardinal mistakes, because there is a lot of important differences between PLO and NLHE that they are not aware of. This is mostly due to the fact that there is not that much good info available out there on proper Omaha play, and it is very hard to learn the optimal strategy without a lot of research, math and hard work. So, all these NLHE converts, who want to just jump in there and have a quick success at PLO, are not much better than the pure fish in their skill of play at the end of the day. By putting the extra effort to learn the correct PLO theory and the best winning strategies, you will immediately turn almost all of your opponents at a give level into fish, wether it is pure loose passive donks or NLHE converts, which overestimate their skills and keep playing PLO as though it is NLHE.

    5. You rake much more in PLO than in NLHE – For a serious grinder with a good RB/Rake Race/deposit Bonus deal. It is quite possible to be a breakeven player at 50PLO or 100PLO, and still make around 3K just from RB/bonuses. Because when people hold 4 cards, they like their starting combination of cards much more often than in NLHE, people are often seeing flops, and players are often all-in, and so the rate at which you earn rake points is huge. So, if you are a multitabling grinder/RB pro, this is the game for you! I easily used to rake over 4K a month, playing mostly 50PLO and some 100PLO. This is where Grinders.org comes of huge help, because you just need to look at our offers, find the ones where you like the combo of basic RB+Rake Races+Deposit Bonuses, and start grinding some PLO, and you can boost your bankroll/make a living just from rakeback.

    6. PLO provides a new challenge and an endless room for improvement – After playing NLHE for 2-3 years, I felt like it was almost impossible to improve more at some point. All regs had similar stats and played in the exact same way, and so did I because the optimal winning strategy for 3,4,5,6 or 9-handed games was almost solved and you could not be a winning player if you deviated from it much. Towards the last few months, the game was becoming a massive boring grind for me. Until I found PLO! Some people play poker for the money, others play it for the thrill of the gamble, and others because they like to learn and excel at strategy games and to dominate their opponents. Well, in PLO there is more of everything – more money to be won in the Long Run due to higher % of fish+bad regs, more thrill and gamble due to the 4cards in your hand and the heavy postflop action, and more room for learning due to the fact that the equity/range calculations in PLO are much more advanced and complicated than in NLHE and the optimal strategy of play is far from being solved at this point.

    7. Live PLO games are getting very popular and profitable – lately big major tournaments are more and more often being accompanied by a juicy live 10/20 or 25/50 PLO cash game, where players are the worst you can every dream of. So, it is a massive EV+ situation for those of you who travel for live tourneys, to be able to take on all these good opportunities to go back home with a bag full of cash from the live PLO games, even if they cannot cash in the tournament. I see more and more people on Grinders.org posting hands from live PLO games, and it sounds like everyone plays beyond terrible. I am almost considering starting to go to tournament events just to play the PLO games.

    8. PLO games are the most EV+ situation in the poker world right now – as professional poker players we believe in finding the most EV+ decision in every situation and then taking that decision because it will earn us the highest profit in the long run. Poker is like a financial market and poker players are the investors in it - they look for situations which will earn the highest expected return and they invest their money in those situations. Well, PLO games right now are like PartyPoker NLHE games 3 years ago – full of fish, full of gamble, full of uneducated regulars. If there is an EV+ decision a NLHE grinder, who is stuck, flipping coins against regulars every day at the NLHE tables, can take - it is to start learning PLO and boost their winrate by multiples. It is clear that most NLHE games nowadays have dried up, and a winrate of 5-6bb/100 is considered great. Will you believe me if I tell you that in PLO you can easily maintain a winrate of 13-14bb/100 over a 50K+ hand sample? If you don’t you can look at my graph below:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    9. I will work hard at Grinders.org to provide high quality articles/videos/hand discussion and personal coaching - so every member of the site will have access to a lot of invaluable information, which is hard to find online. I know that I am one of the few players in the PLO field who has the proper preparation, technical and mathematical knowledge on how to approach and learn PLO correctly. I post frequently on 2+2, and out of hundreds of people who post along, I can see that about 10 at the most have a pretty good understanding of the game, and the rest are pretty clueless about the correct way to play in todays games. With my guidance you can gain a quick edge over the mediocre competition in the PLO world. I have absorbed massive amounts of PLO theory though books/articles/videos and have gotten coaching from one of the most respected 2+2 PLO regs and a major training site instructor, and I have posted and discussed many hundreds of hands on 2+2 myself. I believe and hope that I can quickly teach you many advanced important PLO concepts, which will help turn you into a winning player.

    10. PLO improves your poker thinking in general
    – learning PLO actually improves your NLHE game as well, and makes you an all round poker player, like the best out there – Phil Ivey, Patrick Antonius, Phil Galfond etc. Actually, after playing PLO for 2-3 months, NLHE seems so simple, easy and boring that I see no challenge and intrigue in playing it again. There is hardly ever a situation in NLHE where I feel like I don’t know what the correct play is and I feel like I cannot calculate the correct ranges and equities. As you probably know Brian Hastings won $4 million of isildur1, and the highest poker games that run nowadays are all in PLO, so it is clearly that all the best players out there are also finding PLO more interesting and challenging. This makes me think that the interest in the game will only rise more and more, and it may become the game of the near future. So, learning it now and staying ahead of the competition is probably a good idea.

    For those of you who are tired of Holdem and are considering quitting poker because they feel like they are stuck in one place, and that everyone is solid in NLHE – do not quit poker, but just switch to PLO and rediscover your love for the game. Honestly, that’s what I did 4-5 months ago, and since then I have not played a SINGLE hand of NLHE, because the thrill and the challenge of learning PLO and dominating the current state of the games is quite exciting.

    Good Luck at the tables,
    Botafogo
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 7, 2010
  2. radotdr

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    Intresting read !
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2010
  3. gazavat

    gazavat
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    FUK IT, LETS FLIP A MILLION!
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2010
  4. piskun

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    Very nice, greetings for the thread Botafogo. I hope that many people in this site will appreciate your hard work to write and give the information in such "light" form. It`s really interesting and definitely I will start to play PLO from tomorrow.
    I didn`t till now because I`v heard that variance is way bigger than in NLHE, but it seems that this is something really + EV for the expirienced and good player.

    Thank you again, great job!
     
  5. beanit

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    nice read ;]
     
  6. Slowninja

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    Hi, now i was wondering what are u going to say about HUPLO vs HUNL? Cuz lately im trying HUPLO and i figured that with almost no experience in that game im outplaying large part of the players (100nl).. But unfortunatly i still dont have omaha manager and im not aware what is my wr ^^ .
     
  7. Glista

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    well thats pretty good evidence supporting the article above :)

    Nice read, looking forward to the next article.
     
  8. Zografa

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    Great first article - keep it up!
     
  9. Botafogo

    Botafogo
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    Be careful about HUPLO and thinking that you are outplaying people at PLO100. The variance in HUPLO is so HUGE, that you can be running very hot for a large sample of hands, but still making mistakes and playing poorly. Maybe you are just out-flopping people/your draws are getting there over a few thousand hands, but this doesn't automatically mean that you are outplaying everyone. When I started tryin HU PLO, I was feeling the same way, until variance caught up with me and quickly lost everything and realized that I have a lot to learn.

    So, I would say that table-selecting and bum-hunting in HU PLO is key, because vs a decent regular who knows what they are doing the variance of a HU match can be devastating and the edges are very very thin, so you will be flipping for stacks left and right! But if you can get a HU game versus a fish who is playing any 4cards and is making lots of postflop mistakes - THIS IS A GOLDMINE IN PLO!!! You can easily bust them for 5-10 buyins in a session and tilt them out of their whole bankroll. I just did this last night to a fish, he kept loosing 3 buyns and sitting out, and then coming back for more 15-20 min. later, loosing 2-3 more until he finally couldn't rebuy for full-stack and lost all his money on the site in the end :p
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 8, 2010
  10. Slowninja

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    Thanks for advice, i think it will be useful for the future :) , when im going to put more volume into poker and omaha in particular. Up to date i think i have like 15-20k hands and i know its not enough for wr sample in the most variance poker game, but i made that conclusion for my game based upon my decisions in thin spots (or what i think now are thin spots :D ) and opponent's, adjusting (mine, opponent's) etc..
     
  11. konselieri

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    The Variance is visible from the posted graph.... It seems that patience is required in this game much more than at NLHE and that's the most important advantage for the good players i think.
     

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