Preparing for the WCOOP: PLO Tournaments
Learning PLO tournaments is extremely difficult.
It's a completely different game from Omaha cash games. There is no way you can compare it to the difference between Hold'em cash games and tournaments. In a PLO cash game, it's all about pushing edges. If you have a 55% chance to win an all-in, just do it 100 times and you will make profit. In PLO cash games, you're all in a lot! The problem in a tournament is that you won't have a second shot after you lose an all-in. In a tournament, it's all about plugging holes to try and shut out variance and getting in nasty spots super deep.
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You need to make the nuts--preferably the nuts with a redraw to win against other nut hands. This may sound a bit boring, but it's also very challenging. Instead of potting hands to push edges, you're going to go to the river a lot more trying to see how the board develops. This means even if you have a decently-strong hand, you are going to appear weak. People will attack you because of this, and you will have tough river decisions without the nuts. That's what makes PLO tournaments challenging.
I think a lot of the Hold'em guys come in and play the PLO tournaments in a way they see some people play cash. Big mistake. You see people like Jason Mercier and Phil Galfond keep pots small pre- and post-flop with extremely strong hands. This is just to take out the variance that is inherent to PLO. The less variance-dependent a game is short-term, the more skill comes in to play. Of course, it's a different story in cash games, because you can just re-buy and push edges long term.
Even knowing this, it's going to be a challenge, because who can resist three-betting the aces? Keep your cool and remember if you keep going all-in all the time, you will lose eventually.
Lex Veldhuis is a member of Team PokerStars Pro Online.