Fear of raising preflop; Pot Limit Omaha

by ~ January 22nd, 2009. Filed under: Fear of raising series, Pot Limit Omaha.

* Modified June 15th, 2010 *

Another one of the benefits of playing a “new” game as I am with PLO is going through the developmental process over again.

Some time ago I did a “Fear of Raising” series where I looked at various reasons why we poker players can be hesitant to raise. Playing PLO I’m re-experiencing fear of raising preflop again.

And there’s two reasons for this. One is that starting PLO hands are not as different in value as the 2 card Hold’em hands. That is to say, the best starting hand is not as much a favorite over any other hand preflop as is the case in Hold’em. The second is that I’m not as confident in my own ability to read the strength of my cards preflop, or even more so on the flop when I have something but am being bet into.

The first reason also means that it’s reasonable for multiple players to call the preflop raise, and multiple callers means it’s more difficult to know what to do post flop.

Different dynamics, different values of hand strength (a flopped set is not necessarily a hand to go broke with in PLO, whereas I’m always getting it all in if I flop a set in NLHE), different board and opposition holdings readings required. All this uncertainty makes it more difficult to convince myself to raise limpers or even to open raise from late position preflop.

In NLHE I can see in an instant where my cards rank preflop, how they fit the flop, and what are likely cards that might have hit my opponent. So my sequence is:

  1. cards
  2. position
  3. limpers/raises ahead
  4. limper’s/raiser’s stats
  5. behind me opponent’s stats

The entire sequence takes at most a few seconds, and less the more clearcut the situation. On the flop, it’s not that different.

  1. board danger level
  2. my cards relative to the board
  3. number of opponents
  4. prepare to bet or check
  5. opponent’s actions if ahead of me
  6. if called or bet into, review the board for likely holdings
  7. if called or bet into, review the opponent’s stats
  8. bet, raise, check or fold

I guess the reason that I list these is to compare with PLO. I don’t have a HUD for PLO, so there’s no check of stats, but trying to read my hand and reading the board and bets takes me much longer rather than the “at a glance” that I can do with Hold’em. All of this uncertainty and difficulty makes it more difficult for me to feel comfortable raising in PLO at this stage of development.

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