Tag Archives: online poker

Caesars Really Wants You To Play Online Poker


WSOP.com, Nevada’s second real-money online poker site to launch this year, is just over two months old. Competitor Ultimate Poker got a five-month head start by getting cards in the air, so to speak, back in April. Its launch was a bit subdued and relied on in-house advertising resources. WSOP.com, owned byCaesars Interactive Entertainment, is taking a more explosive approach in trying to sign up new players and take control of the online poker market. If you have a Total Rewards account, step foot in a Caesars hotel room, or even watch TV in the state of Nevada, Caesars is going to let you know about WSOP.com.

Online, Caesars is promoting WSOP.com through many of its own websites. WSOP.com staff are reaching out to gamblers elsewhere on the web and regularly post on poker message boards. Additionally, WSOP.com targets existing Total Rewards members with a rewards system that connects to their accounts. Although the levels don’t match up exactly, it is possible to advance your casino status through online play and vice versa. Credits earned online can also be converted to credits for use at Caesars properties.

Caesars hotels are pushing guests towards the new gaming site through the use of branded hotel items. Key cards and water bottles with new WSOP.com logos and slogans are provided to guests at check in. Inside our room during a recent stay at Harrah’s, we found that the ‘do not disturb’ sign had been replaced with a WSOP-branded version.

It’s the recent blitz of TV and radio advertisements, however, that has garnered the most attention. The campaign has been limited to areas where the site can legally operate so, if you’re outside of Nevada or New Jersey, you’re safe. The TV ads, which first premiered in Nevada during the season finale of Breaking Bad, seem to run continuously. Nevada residents can’t escape them and, if you turn on the TV in your Vegas hotel room, you will likely find Scotty Nguyen going all-in.


Review: Pokerstars


100% hasta 600$
Código: STARS600

PokerStars.com – la sala de poker más grande del mundo; código EXCLUSIVO para PokerStars: bonus de primer depósito del 100% hasta $600 + ¡Exclusivos Freerrolls de 2.000$!

Información general

Nombre: PokerStars
Creación: 2000
Auditoría: PWC
Red: Independiente
Licencia: Isla de Man
Email: support@pokerstars.com


– Sunday Millon: Torneo con 1.500.000$ garantizado todos los Domingos
– Satélites a todos los grandes eventos en vivo
– Posibilidad de organizar torneos privados
– PokerStars Camp: Campus de aprendizaje con las estrellas de PS
– Batalla de los Planetas: 3.000.000$ en premios
– Copa del mundo de poker. Torneo internacional por paises con final en vivo. Programa de puntos de jugador frecuente (FPP): Puntos canjeables por torneos y artículos de la tienda PS. Freerolls semanales de $2000

Nuestra valoración

· Software 10
· Gráficos 10
· Atención al cliente 7
· Nivel de los jugadores 9
· Tráfico en cash games 10
· Tráfico en torneso 10
· Promoción bienvenida 4
· Promoción fidelización 7
· Opciones depósito/retiro 9


· Software en castellano
· Sitio web en castellano
· Atención en castellano
· Opción multimesa
· Mesas ajustables
· Estadísticas en vivo
· Historial de manos
· Mesas privadas
· Notas de oponentes
· Busqueda de jugador
· Transferencias internas
· Baraja de cuatro colores
· Avatares
· Vista 3D
· Compatible con Poker Tracker
· Compatible con Poker Office
· Compatible con MAC
· Compatible con Linux
· Jugadores americanos

Opciones de depósito:

VISA, MasterCard, NETeller, Fire pay, centracoin, ukash, paysafecard, Western Union.

Opciones de retiro:

VISA, MasterCard, NETeller, Fire pay, centracoin, ukash, paysafecard, Western Union.


Email: Sí, Teléfono: No, Chat: No

Juegos: Texas Hold’em, Omaha, Omaha Hi-Lo, H.O.R.S.E., H.O.S.E, 2-7 Triple Draw, Five-Card Draw, Five Card Omaha, Courchevel and Razz
Límites en cash games Texas Hold´em

– Limit: Desde 0.2-0.4$ hasta 1.000-2.000$.
– NO Limit / Pot Limit: Desde 0.01-0.02$ hasta 200-400$

6 New Jersey Casinos Approved for Online Gambling


New Jersey today approved online betting at half a dozen local casinos.
Just days after the state completed its “soft play” testing, the Division of Gaming Enforcement gave the OK to six of the seven casinos that hold Internet gambling permits.
Each location was put through a five-day test to prove that its technology is up to snuff and ready for an entire state to log on and begin throwing their money around.
“At this point in time, the casinos are trying to gear up for larger play in the state,” division director David Rebuck told The Washington Post.
Casinos that passed include the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, Tropicana Casino and Resort, Trump Plaza Associates, Trump Taj Mahal Associates, and Caesars Interactive Entertainment affiliates Bally’s Park Place and the Boardwalk Regency Corporation.
The Golden Nugget Atlantic City, however, was held back, and will need to continue its testing before being cleared for unrestricted play, according to the Post.
The setback isn’t a big deal for the casino, which is waiting another week to launch. “It is more important to be among the best” than the first, a company spokesman told the newspaper.
Though Rebuck did not specify why The Golden Nugget initially failed, he admitted that the test period exploited geolocation software problems that incorrectly placed many users outside of the New Jersey borders, therefore locking them out of the online games. Each casino is independently responsible for fixing those issues.
Free of restrictions that limit the number of players, there is no word on how many users are expected to sign in at a time. Rebuck revealed, however, that the five-day test period quickly surpassed 10,000 people.
New Jersey joins Nevada and Delaware as states that have greenlit Web-based gambling.

Isildur1 & Gus Hansen Enjoy Six Figure Days at the Nosebleeds


It’s been a while since both Viktor “Isildur1” Blom and Gus Hansen both enjoyed good days at Full Tilt’s high stakes tables, but yesterday they ended up as numbers 1 and 2 on the daily leaderboard. Blom was the day’s biggest winner with a $177.1k win at the mixed game tables.

Once again, Blom’s adversary was Alexander “PostflopAction” Kostritsyn, and this time the pair played for a little over four hours during two evening sessions, punctuated only by a change of table.

Although it was a swingy match, PostflopAction never managed anything other than breaking even throughout the match, as Isildur1 built a near $200k lead with just over an hour of the match gone. However, the lead was short lived, as PostflopAction responded well, wiping out Blom’s lead as the young Russian momentarily took the lead in the match at around the half way mark. The final two hours, though, saw the Full Tilt pro rebuild his big lead, and he eventually ended the match with a $177k win.

Gus Hansen made all his money from the limit games. His early games were all heads-up at the 2-7 Triple Draw tables. He won $26k from Kagome Kagome in a morning session, and ended up, after a back and forth battle with PostflopAction, with a total of $94.4k profit from the Triple Draw tables after three afternoon bouts with the young Russian.

After a couple of hours hiatus from the tables, Hansen was back, to take on KPR16 at the FLO8 tables. He started the match well, adding a further $60k to his daily haul, before KPR16 hit a good run, which totally wiped out Hansens’s daily profit, and plunged him into the red by around $30k for the day.

During the last 40 hands of their 215 hand battle, however, Hansen hit a huge run of cards which enabled him to end the session up $42k and up $136.4k

There were no other six figure winners yesterday.

Yesterday’s Biggest Winners

Isildur1 +$177.1k

Gus Hansen +$136.4k

yurasov1990 +$75.4k

DrugsOrMe +$70.6k

LAPT Gran Final Uruguay: Ni la niebla impide un final feliz

Punta del Este recibe al Latin American Poker Tour con una ligera niebla, algo anormal en el comienzo de verano en esta parte del continente. Pero eso no es impedimento para que todos los jugadores se acerquen a la última parada de la Sexta Temporada del Latin American Poker Tour en los salones del Mantra Resort, Spa y Casino.

En La Barra, localidad de Punta del Este, el escenario está listo, las luces están a punto, y las mesas están alineadas para un final espectacular de la sexta temporada de este tour. Los jugadores están migrando en vísperas de un gran premio, una exótica ubicación y la gloria de PokerStars.

Los competidores clasificados hasta ahora de Perú, Colombia, Brasil y Chile estarán representados mañana, pero también los harán Panamá, Costa Rica, México, Bolivia, Venezuela y Guatemala.

nacho barbero chip leader lapt brasil 6.jpg

Dos veces campeón del LAPT Nacho Barbero, uno de los muchos argentinos que cruza el Río de la Plata


Esos no son los orígenes más lejos. Las eliminatorias en PokerStars traerá jugadores tan lejanos como Noruega, Rusia, Rumania, Lituania y Nueva Zelanda. Si devin12, radicado en Tailandia, ha hecho la peregrinación, será un punto fino de interés durante la primera jornada.

“El LAPT es mi segunda familia”, dice David Carrión, presidente del LAPT, en un cartel de bienvenida. Y es que David y su equipo ha hecho crecer, durante estas tres temporadas bajo su mandato, al mejor tour de poker de la región. Y faltan muchas por venir David!

El Mantra es un complejo integral de hotel, spa y restaurante en el edificio. La primera prueba seráe alimentar a tal vez cuatrocientos cincuenta jugadores en el primer día. Esos son los números pronosticados por los organizadores. Sería el mayor número de jugadores en un LAPT con un buy-in de $ 2,500 USD. El LAPT Uruguay, de la cuarta temporada, obtuvo 422 jugadores.

LAPT PUNTA DEL ESTE SEASON 3  0004-thumb-450x300-210331.jpg

El Mantra Resort


No se pierdan la competencia por el Jugador del Año del LAPT que está demasiado emocionante.Leo Fernández es el líder de la tabla, pero jugadores muy importantes incluyendo a los Team Pros Nacho Barbero y Christian de Leon se le acercan peligrosamente, y estarán tratando de ganar en los torneos de esta semana.

Este es el ranking actualizado de los primeros 10 jugadores:

Pos Jugador Puntos

1 Leonardo Fernandez 1,840

2 Amos Ben Haim 1,775

3 Rafael Guillermo Pardo Gonzalez 1,550

4 Marco Antonio Pessoa De Oliveira Filho 1,370

5 Julian Pineda 1,300

6 Miguel Velasco 1,250

6 Pablo Alexander Tavitian 1,250

8 Christian De Leon Angeles 1,245

9 Mayu Roca Uribe 1,170

10 Jose Barbero 1,120


Como siempre este blog en conjunto con Código Poker, les llevará todas las incidencias de las mejores manos y jugadas desde hoy y hasta el domingo. Solamente sigue este enlace.

El sábado y el domingo, tendremos la transmisión en vivo, livestreaming, en español y por este mismo medio. Ese día les tendré el link correspondiente a la transmisión en español, si quieren ver el streaming en portugués, desde hoy y hasta el domingo, pueden visitar TV Poker Pro.

Nuestros amigos de Intellipoker en Español (www.intellipoker.es) se encuentran en los alrededores del salón y se encuentran dando clases en vivo durante estos días. Emanuel Marso, el “coach” de Intelli, dará clases maestras con jugadores profesionales, y algunas celebridades estos días. Dales una visita y mejora tu juego.

PERU 2013-intellipoker stand.jpg

Durante estos días, el argentino Carlos Monti, captura los momentos mas tensos y divertidos de muchos jugadores. Todas las fotos son del “El pescador” Monti, así que dale los créditos correspondientes.

por Reinaldo Venegas el 21 de Noviembre 2013 12:15 AM


Phil Galfond reveals all on Reddit

It’s not often that you see Phil Galfond emerge from whatever four walls he is housed in whilst winning millions of dollars in the sickest games online. He sticks his head above the parapet at the World Series of Poker (WSOP), but other than that sightings are about as rare as Dodo poop.

So for Phil Galfond fans around the world it was like Christmas, your birthday, a tooth fairy visit, Easter and winning the lottery all rolled into one fantastic 24-hours, when the great man turned up on Reddit to answer questions by the barrel load.

In total, there were 368 comments and Galfond answered pretty much everything (there was a lot of repetition), but I have decided to give you some feedback on the most interest points, with a smattering of Galfond humor thrown in for good measure.

When asked if players who had stopped playing online poker after Black Friday had fallen behind the times he concurred, but was strong in his stance that there was always time to learn and to improve your game.

He is a great advocate of study tools, as you would expect with his work at RunItOnce, and says that the younger players who come up using them will have an advantage over the older ones that don’t. He included himself in the older bracket despite being just 29-years of age.

“People have figured things out that I don’t understand, because I came up when study tools were a lot weaker.” Said Galfond.

One of the recurring themes throughout the session was Galfond’s insistence that people should concentrate on life first and poker second.

“Your life is much more than your poker career and if it’s not then you’re making a mistake.” Said Galfond.

When asked about his latest learning experiences in the game, he said that in the past few years his greatest realization was the importance of thinking about how the turn and river combinations affect an opponent’s range when considering what action to take on the flop.

On prop bets Galfond didn’t have anything too extravagant to tell. His current biggest prop bet being a $7.5k bet on this season of The Voice. When asked about the rogues from Full Tilt Poker (FTP) Galfond only commented on Chris Ferguson.

“I hung out with Chris a couple of times before Black Friday. He was extremely kind and interesting. I still would like to believe he had no ill intent, and maybe even little to any knowledge of what went on. I haven’t seen him since, but if I did, I would greet him with respect and give him the benefit of the doubt until hearing him out.”

When asked about the biggest winners in the live games in Macau Galfond mentioned the names of Phil Ivey, Patrik Antonious, David Oppenheim, John Hennigan and Huck Seed. He also said that the stakes are the equivalent of $2k/4k so “it would be pretty easy to win or lose $5m. I’d expect that there are a handful of $10m+ winners from those games.”

When it came to the most common mistakes that he sees players making at the mid stakes level he cited auto piloting as the ‘most serious and most prevalent form of tilt,’ which he believes is due to players learning ‘rules’ when they first learn to play such as pre flop charts, standard c-bet sizing’s, etc. He called these ‘crutches’ and said that although they may help you to play competently faster, they limit your potential for growth.

When it comes to improving your game Galfond said it was imperative to take the time to get reads on your weaker opponent’s, and that talking about poker to his poker friends has been the single most important key to his growth as a poker player.

When questioned about coaching he said that the, ‘biggest and most expensive mistakes as a poker player are the ones that you don’t know you’re making…so how can you ask your coach about them?”

He instead suggests you record your play on video and send it to your coach to watch instead of trying to tell your coach what you need help with.

When asked about meeting Tom Dwan he said that David Benefield introduced the pair 7-8 years ago when Dwan was playing 50/100nl and Galfond was playing 5/10nl.

“He was extremely generous, letting me watch him play NL (and later PLO) even after not knowing me very long. To say Tom had an impact on my early growth as a player would be an understatement.” Said Galfond.

He confirmed that at no time in the early days did him, or any of the other high stakes pro know the identity of Isildur1.

“As far as Isildur- me and the high stakes guys that I talk to didn’t know who he was for a long time. I initially just assumed he was some hyper aggro small stakes guy who ran it up. Eventually we knew he was a big winner on Euro sites, but even then that wasn’t much information.”

When asked about which player he respects the most Galfond said it was Ben Tollerene.

“His work ethic and his mindset are incredible. Not to mention he’s just a great guy. Ben’s one of the only people harder on himself than I am. It’s not a fun quality to have, but it’s one that can make you great.”

When questioned about FTP Galfond said that he has around $500,000 tied up on the site and that he prefers the FTP software to that of PokerStars, and in a live context he cites the Aria card room as his favorite.

In terms of cheating and online poker room scandals he said people underestimate how crazy randomness can get, and during the UltimateBet scandal he received $100,000 in refunds and had never even suspected that he had been cheated.

He said that Ivey was definitely the most intimidating player he has ever faced both live and online, his longest online session was around 25 hours and live was closer to 36hrs.

“They’ve never been a good idea.” Said Galfond.

As well as being uber smart, Galfond is also very funny. When asked what his prized possession was in his famous slide filled apartment, Galfond said:

“I bought a wall safe and got it installed. Then I commissioned a painting of that wall safe and hung the painting over it. I lost the combination within a week and never used the safe.”

If you are unfamiliar with Galfond then the man sums up exactly what he is about when he created this stock answer to the myriad of questions he was being peppered with about how to improve someone’s game.

“I see a lot of questions asking me for one tip or trick to improve your game or get results. How many simple “tips” and “tricks” for getting in shape do you see out in the world each day? And what % of the population is in great shape?

If it were as simple as a quick tip to change your game, everyone would do it.

To get results (in anything), it takes work and dedication, along with some natural ability. Most importantly, it takes time.

You need to accept that you can’t become drastically better at anything overnight. Start yourself on a path of improvement, and be patient.

Fitness is a great analogy for this because it’s very clear to see what helps and what doesn’t…

At the end of each day, ask yourself if you took a step towards your goal (ate well, exercised) or a step away from it (ate terribly, sat on a couch all day). As long as most days are steps forward, don’t focus so much on seeing results right away. Time will take care of them.

If you want to improve at poker: play, read, watch videos, run numbers, etc.

You won’t be dominant tomorrow, or next week, or next month… but you’re on your way.

Enjoy the other parts of your life while including some steps in the right direction each day (but don’t focus or obsess on the goal beyond that). Before you know it, it’ll be six months later and you’ll have made amazing improvements.”

It was one of the best Q&A sessions in the business and it can be found at Reddit here.



It’s easy to look at the monopoly PokerStars seemingly has on the online poker world, but to their credit they tick all of the right boxes. They are one of the few online poker companies that recognize the importance of listening to their customers, a point that was stamped down hard when they created the European Players Council back in August 2012.

Six members of that council traveled to the Isle of Man in late October to sit down with Stars representatives in their semi annual player meeting, and the output of that meeting has been posted in the 2+2 Forum.

Of particular interest is the introduction of Zoom Heads-Up Cash Game tables that are going to be introduced in December as a method of combating the bum-hunting problem that has plagued online poker over the past few years.

The release of this Speedy Gonzalez form of poker coincides with the release of a native Full Tilt Poker (FTP) Rush Poker App to replace the HTML5 version that received so many critics when it was released in May 2013.

The roll out of a Native FTP Rush Poker App is a great example of little sister following the lead of her bigger brother, so what remains to be seen is when they are going to do the same thing when it comes to the formation of the Player Council.

Feedback on the 2+2 forum regarding the meeting was positive to the extent that it makes you wonder if it’s a case of ‘when’ and not ‘if’ they will roll out a similar players council for the site that needs one the most – Full Tilt Poker.

Here are the main bullet points taken from PokerStars rep Steve Day’s account of the meeting.

VIP Program

  • No changes will be made to the VIP program in Jan 2014, but they are not ruling out the potential to make changes later in the year.
  • They do not expect to see any additional value offered to Supernova+ players in the foreseeable future.

VIP Store

  • They are looking to improve variety in the electronics and books department of the store.
  • Also considering changing t-shirt design more frequently.

Ring Game Rake

  • PLO rake is too high/ PLO rake is unbeatable.
  • Stars have been discussing this issue with their players for over a year.
  • They have compared PLO rake with other games in at least three different ways. Each analysis leads to the same conclusion: PLO rake is not too high and the games are beatable for a healthy profit.
  • A promise to continue to listen to the player’s council, and share their analysis with them, but no change is intended. The review did identify rake discrepancies in other games where they will now be lowered or increased where applicable. No mention of which types of games this refers to.


  • These are tailored more to the recreational players, but there have been some exceptions for regulars such as Happy Hours and Battle of the Planets. They plan to add more promotions in 2014.


  • Acknowledging the ascent of mobile and the need to tailor software to that area.
  • Players were able to play on the PokerStars 7 software. Although no feedback given.
  • Anti rat holing functionality has been developed and tested. Planned to roll out later this month for at least one stakes.
  • They are to continue to improve their ability to prevent data mining of the site. They acknowledged this was the most effective method of preventing the sharing of hand histories in violation of their terms of service and the inappropriate public display of results based on data mined hands.
  • Automated deal making in tournaments. This will get a priority.
  • Open Face Chinese will not be coming to Stars. Programmers have already developed very sophisticated bots that perform at a very high level in this game of perfect information, making it a poor choice to add to our selection of games.

Ring Game Seating

  • Ring game seating is easily the largest player behavior problem we are currently facing. Unfortunately there is no easy solution.
  • Players want seating scripts banned. Although Stars agree that this is a problem they don’t feel banning it is the solution. Enforcement will be ineffective and may even negative side effects.
  • Getting rid of seat scripts will not stop bum hunting.
  • It’s better for poker, and for PokerStars, if the primary focus of successful players is on play at the tables, not lobby gamesmanship.
  • They recognized that the important skill of table selection is now damaging the game. But they don’t have a desirable solution yet.

Ring and SNG Offering

  • They plan to launch HU Zoom as an alternative to traditional HU cash tables.
  • They don’t want to offer too wide a variety of SNG games because of liquidity issues.

The next player meeting is scheduled to take place in April 2014 and PokerStars players should check the thread periodically as more and more council members attach their own meeting notes.

Link to the thread here.

Social Gaming Features Gain Popularity at Online Poker Rooms


PokerStars November Mission Week promotion adds another mission format to the social gaming features being adopted by major poker rooms.

Social gaming features have made their way into the promotional portfolio of some of the top online poker rooms. This month, PokerStars joins the club with…

Social gaming features have made their way into the promotional portfolio of some of the top online poker rooms. This month, PokerStars joins the club with November Mission Weeks and MPN adds “Achievements.”


November Mission Weeks provide a promotional tool for PokerStars to encourage higher volume play. At the start of each week players select a mission appropriate to their game preferences and likely volume of play. At its simplest, players are setting themselves a VIP points (VPP) target for the week.

If they hit the target, they receive a freeroll “All In Shootout” tournament entry where the prize pools range from $10k to $250k. The “All In Shootout” format means that players that don’t turn up will be automatically put all in on every hand.


MPN has just introduced “Achievements” along similar lines. Achievements reward players with a badge that can be displayed at the table for completing a series of challenges.

Players who win three badges by the end of November will be entered into a $500 freeroll tournament.

Each achievement comes with a “Pips” rating. The more difficult the achievement, the more Pips players earn for completing it. Pips add up to a score and MPN suggests that players can challenge their friends to beat their score.


Since introducing missions with its radical software upgradePartyPoker has regularly introduced new missions of varying complexity. An example from last month is the WPTMontreal Mission. Players who achieved the mission tasks were given a freeroll entry into a tournament that awarded three seats—one a full package—to the WPT Montreal.

The tasks that players had to complete to achieve the mission crossed several game formats, and each was tenuously linked to some facet of Canadian history, geography or culture.


French regulated site Winamax has taken a different slant on the mission idea. The challenge is called “Guns and Glory” and players move up in levels as they collect experience points (XP).

Starting with a plastic sword at level one, new weapons are provided as players move up levels. Players can wear this weapons with a chosen character avatar, and with increased levels, new character avatars become available.

It is likely that missions at online poker rooms are going to become a permanent fixture. The combination of social and financial rewards make them an effective method of encouraging more play and adding entertainment value to existing players’ poker experience.


PLO from scratch Part 1-12

This is mainly a PLO beginner series, but we’ll also discuss topics that will be useful for more experienced players. Our goal is to learn a solid fundament for winning PLO play, both preflop and postflop.
1. Introduction
This is part 1 of the article series “PLO From Scratch”. The target audience is micro and low limit players with some experience from limit or no-limit Hold’em, but little or no PLO experience. My goal with this series is to teach basic PLO strategy in a systematic and structured way.In part 1 I will first discuss the background for this series and how it will be structured. Then I’ll give an overview of the (in my opinion) best PLO learning material on the market today, and we’ll end part 1 with a study plan for learning basic PLO theory from literature and videos. We will then start discussing PLO strategy in part 2.2. The background for this article series

When I started playing poker in the spring of 2005, limit and no-limit Hold’em were the dominating games, and the skills of the average player were low in both games. All you needed in order to climb up from the FL or NL Hold’em low limits to the middle and higher limits was normal intelligence and some dedicated effort.

Armed with this you could climb from the low to the middle limits in a few months and start to make good money. Many winning players learned the necessary skills and strategies strictly “on the job”, and did nothing in particular to continue to improve systematically.

These days are mostly over. Limit and no-limit Hold’em have become much tougher games since the golden age of online poker (the years 2003-2006 or thereabouts). There are several reasons for this, but it’s beyond doubt that a lot of the average player’s improvement stems from the fact that good strategy has become common knowledge through books, forums and coaching videos.

There are many smart people in the online poker player pool, and in the 6 years that have passed since online poker exploded (in 2003), these people have played, analyzed, and discussed optimal strategy. This has lead to a rapid development of FL and NL Hold’em strategy. Today you can easily find low limit tables that play just as tough as the middle limit games did a few years ago. If you want to start at the bottom in Hold’em and work your way up to the middle and high limits, you have to be prepared to work very hard.

So what are the consequences for ambitious players in today’s online environment? For starters, you have to be willing to work hard to improve your skills continually and systematically. If you don’t, your edge will slowly be reduced as your average opponent continues to improve. Another consequence is that you have to put more effort into game selection, both with regards to the games you play today, and with regards to learning new games to give yourself more good games to play in.

And this brings us to pot-limit Omaha (PLO). For me, PLO sailed under the radar for a long time. I heard a lot of talk about how fun and profitable it was, but I didn’t give it a try until 2008, and I played it mostly for variation (I grinded Hold’em at the time). I splashed around without much knowledge about how the game was supposed to be played, but I gradually started to get a feel for the game. I also observed that the average player in this game often made horrible mistakes, and that the skill level of the player pool reminded me of the Hold’em games of old.

This gave me the motivation to learn the game properly. In the autumn of 2009 I therefore decided to start a systematic learning process and teach myself solid PLO strategy from scratch. And since I like writing about poker theory, I decided to simultaneously write an article series for Donkr’s micro and low limit players.

In this series I will write about PLO strategies and concepts I have worked with in my own learning process, and my goal is to lay out a theoretical framework for PLO learning, aimed at beginning players. I hope the series will help the readers getting started with PLO, and that they can use it as a starting point both for learning PLO strategy and for learning how to think about PLO (which can be very different from the way we think about Hold’em).

3. The plan for the article series

I have previously written an article series (“Poker From Scratch”) for limit Hold’em where I discussed basic limit Hold’em strategy and ran a bankroll building project on the side (grinding up a 1000 BB limit Hold’em bankroll from $0.25-0.50 to $5-10). I plan to use the same form for this series. We will start with preflop strategy and principles of starting hand strength. Then we will move on to postflop play.

Also, the general principles for “big bet poker” (pot-limit and no-limit) will be a common thread throughout the series. Many of the strategic principles of PLO are consequences of the game’sbetting structure(pot-limit) and not of the game type (a flop game where we use starting hands with 4 cards, and we have to use 2 cards from the hand and 3 from the board). Thinking about any poker game as a combination of betting structure and game type makes it easier to understand why proper strategy is the way it is.

We will also include a micro/low limit bankroll building project in this article series, and there are several good reasons for this. The series is aimed at beginners, which means most of the target audience will be playing at the lowest limits. I have never grinded microlimit PLO, so I should ensure that the strategies I discuss are appropriate for the limits the readers are playing. This means I have to gather experience from these limits myself.

A grinding project will also be a source of situations and hands that can be used in the article series. Finally, a grinding project will hopefully give us an indication of the win rates a solid and disciplined player can achieve at the micro and low limits, and how fast he can move up the limits using a sensible bankroll management scheme. This could serve as inspiration for small stakes players new to the game.

So where to begin the grind? I decided to start with an article series bankroll of $250, since my impression is that most micro limit players start with similar bankrolls. The next step is to pick a bankroll management scheme, and I have chosen a scheme I call “50+10”. This means playing with a 50 BI minimum bankroll (so we start out at $5PLO), and we can start taking shots at the next limit whenever we have 50 BI for the current limit plus 10 BI for the next limit.

If we lose the shotting capital, we move back down to rebuild and try again (grind in 10 new BI for the next limit and take another shot). So we take shots with 10 BI at a time, and we always move down when the bankroll drops to 50 BI for the previous limit.

The next question is where to end the project. I like a challenge, so I plan to make this article bankroll ready for taking a shot at $200PLO. This means we end the project when we have 50 BI ($5000) for $100PLO plus 10 BI ($2000) for $200PLO. In other words, we will turn our $250 into $7000.

How much time (e.g. how many hands) will we realistically have to use for this project? First we find out how many buy-ins we have to win (minimum) for the different limits:

  • $5PLO to $10PLO:Grind in 20 BI ($100) at $5PLO and build the roll to 50+10 BI ($350) for a shot at $10PLO.
  • $10PLO to $25PLO:Grind in 40 BI ($400) at $10PLO and build the roll to 50+10 BI ($750) for a shot at $25PLO.
  • $25PLO to $50PLO:Grind in 40 BI ($1000) at $25PLO and build the roll to 50+10 BI ($1750) for a shot at $50PLO.
  • $50PLO to $100PLO:Grind in 35 BI ($1750) at $50PLO and build the roll to 50+10 BI ($3500) for a shot at $100PLO.
  • $100PLO to $200PLO:Grind in 35 BI ($3500) at $100PLO and build the roll to 50+10 BI ($7000) for a shot at $200PLO.

If all shots succeed at the first try, we have to grind in 20 + 40 + 40 + 35 + 35 =170 BI. If we (somewhat arbitrarily) assume an average win rate of 7.5 ptBB/100 (ptBB =2 x big blind), we will make 1.5 BI per 1000 hands on average. So we have to play a minimum of 170/(1.5 per 1000 hands) =113,000 hands.

Piece of cake for a grinder with a minimum of professional pride. We have made some assumptions here, so take this estimate with a grain of salt. But we are probably close to the realities.

(And by the way .. if I haven’t already said so we are playing 6-max in this house. Not, and I repeat not, full ring)

4. Learning material and poker tools for PLO

Until recently there was not much to be found for PLO on the book and coaching video market. But in the last couple of years several good books have been published, and most coaching sites have started to produce plenty of high quality PLO videos.

In this section I will give an overview of the best (in my opinion) books, videos and tools for PLO. I will also design a brief study plan for those who want to take up a systematic study of PLO theory and concepts.

4.1 PLO books
Below are short reviews of the best (again, in my opinion) PLO literature on the market today:

Pot-Limit Omaha Poker – The Big Play Strategy (Hwang 2008)
As far as I’m concerned, the publish date of this book marks year zero with regards to good PLO literature. The book discusses full ring strategy, and it’s main theme is to set up profitable situations where we play for deep stacks as a favorite. In order to achieve this, we need to understand starting hand structure, and this is where the book really shines in my opinion.

Regardless of whether we’re playing full ring or shorthanded PLO, we need to know what makes a good starting hand. We also need to know which hands are suitable for winning big pots, and which hands are more suitable for winning small pots.

Hwang’s discussion of PLO starting hands is the most thorough in print as of today. He classifies starting hands both according to type and according to strength. He also thoroughly explains structural defects, and the consequences of getting involved with hands that have poor structure.

Hwang’s main game plan for deep-stacked full ring play is to get involved as a favorite in big pots, and that’s why he devotes so much of the book to understanding starting hand strength and structure, and which type of postflop scenarios the different starting hand types prefer.

We will be playing 6-max, but Hwang’s discussion of starting hands will be very valuable to us, since we will frequently find ourselves in “big play” situations where our good hand clashes with another good hand in a big pot.

Hwang then moves on to postflop play and discusses the principles of postflop ABC poker in pot-limit Omaha. In addition to playing for stacks with quality hands we also need to be skilled in small pot play, and Hwang discusses both big pot and small pot postflop scenarios.

Advanced Pot-Limit Omaha – Volume 1: Small Ball and Short-Handed Play (Hwang 2009)
The is the follow-up toPot-Limit Omaha Poker – The Big Play Strategy, and it’s the first book in a planned series of (probably) 3 books on advanced pot-limit Omaha. Hwang assumes that the reader is familiar with the principles laid out in his first book, and he now takes a big leap forward. The book’s main theme is utilizing position, and Hwang demonstrates through discussion and hand examples how good use of position gives us new opportunities for profit. It also allows us to loosen up our starting hand requirements, sometimes dramatically.

“The Big Play Strategy” from Hwang’s first book is still our core strategy, but by learning to utilize position we will get more opportunities to win small pots in situations where we suspect nobody has much of a hand (this is frequently the case in heads-up and shorthanded pots). Hwang calls this strategy “small ball”, and it’s his preferred strategy in shorthanded play.

Secrets of Professional Pot-Limit Omaha (Slotboom 2006)
A book mainly targeted at full ring players, and it isthebook for learning the principles of shortstacking (our filosophy is that shortstacking is nothing but an annoyance, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t profitable). Slotboom explains his (sometimes unconventional) full ring PLO strategies in great detail, both his shortstacking strategies and his strategies for deep stack play. He does not give an integrated game plan like Hwang does, but he explains how he thinks about PLO, and this should give the reader lots of things to think about (at least it did for me).

Secrets of Short-Handed Pot-Limit Omaha (Slotboom/Hollink 2009)
Like Hwang, Slotboom followed up his full ring book with a book on shorthanded PLO. He uses a structure similar to the first book, which means he discusses his own strategies, and explains how and why they work for him. His process of moving from full ring to shorthanded games (which became necessary partly because the full ring games got flooded with shortstackers who had read his first book) is described in detail, and he discusses the strategic adjustments he had to make.

The last 1/3 of the book is written by coauthor Rob Hollink (a well known high stakes player). Hollink analyzes 33 PLO hands played by himself at limits ranging from $25-50 to $200-400. Many of the hands involve well known online nicks like durrrr, Urindanger, OMGClayAiken, etc.

How Good is Your Pot-Limit Omaha? (Reuben 2003)
This little gem of a book contains 57 hand quizzes taken from live play. Stewart Reuben is a very loose-aggressive player with a relaxed attitude towards starting hand requirements and such. This works well for him, since he is skilled in live deep stack play. But trying to emulate his play in today’s 100 BB buy-in online games will probably lead to bankroll suicide.

But this is not a book you read in order to copy strategies, you read it to train your PLO though processes. I recommend that you take the quizzes seriously and solve them as best you can before you check the answers. You get a score for each hand, and Reuben does a good job of explaining his recommended strategies.

You can learn a lot from comparing your own though processes with those of a strong player. You will sometimes discover logical inconsistencies in your own play, and you learn to think about things you previously didn’t consider.

4.2 PLO videos
Here are some of my favorites among the coaching videos currently on the market. Note that how much you learn from a particular coach can be a matter of personal preference. Different coaches have different playing styles and teaching styles, and a coach that I learn a lot from does not necessarily have to be the best one for you. That said, here are some good videos from some of the different coaching sites:

– The video series2 X 6(Vanessa Selbst & Whitelime)

An introductory series i 8 parts where PLO specialist Vanessa Selbst (who also has a WSOP bracelet in PLO) helps NLHE specialist Whitelime making the transition to PLO. Whitelime is good at asking relevant questions, and many interesting topics emerge from the discussions.

– The video seriesPLO(Whitelime & Phil Galfond)

Whitelime continues his PLO education in another 8 part series, this times with the one and only Phil Galfond (OMGClayAiken/Jman28). When you listen to Phil Galfond explaining PLO concepts, your brain will be filled with light.

– Everything by Stinger (19 videos).
– Everything by lefty2506 (11 videos)

Stinger is a PLO god, that’s it and that’s that. He is also very good at explaining his thought processes. Stinger’s approach to the game is not the most mathematical, and this makes his explanations easy to follow. He mostly uses sound poker logic and reads, and these are things all players can understand.

Note that Stinger uses a pretty loose preflop style. This is fine for a player of his caliber, but probably not something a beginner should start out with. So don’t try to copy everything Stinger does, but pay close attention to his decision making processes.

lefty2506 is a solid TAG player who also explains things very well. Watching a good TAG play makes poker seem simple (and when you play solid poker, thingsarein fact simple most of the time).

– Everything by LearnedFromTV (16 videos)

LearnedFromTV has a very analytical approach to the game, and he is good at explaining theory. I recommend that you start with the two videosLearnedFromTV #16: PLO Fundamentals – Part 1andLearnedFromTV #18: PLO Fundamentals – Part 2(note that these are not his first videos).

These are theory videos where he explains the most important PLO principles. His live videos are also of high quality with very good explanations of his play.

Continue reading PLO from scratch Part 1-12