Jack's PLO Transition Part 1

Most of you who listen to the podcast know that I am currently living in Cleveland. Therefore, my home casino is the Horseshoe, soon to be renamed the Jack. The current reality of the Horseshoe poker room is that $1/$2 PLO is the best game in the room. The Cleveland $1/$3 NLHE game is also very good, but it plays a lot smaller. There is a $300 cap, which is alright, but it isn’t common to find a super deep $1/$3 game. The $2/$5 NLHE game is very inconsistent and is often a very poor game. I think I would normally have a higher win-rate playing $1/$3 than $2/$5 NLHE. PLO, on the contrary, has captured the attention of Cleveland’s deep pocketed gamblers, and with the $5 bring-in and $500 cap combined with very loose play, the game gets very deep very quickly.

Therefore, I am going to learn to play PLO.

Now, to be clear, I have played some PLO before. I have played plenty with friends, some online, and enjoy the occasional PLO talk on my favorite poker podcasts and blogs. Still, while I think I would have a slight edge in the PLO game at the Horseshoe, it will take quite a bit of study before my PLO win-rate would surpass my Hold’em win-rate. However, considering the current trend, I think it will be well worth the time.

So this first post is really to detail my mindset and current understanding heading into this period of study. At this point, I think my most important tasks will be understanding preflop ranges, and having a strong understanding of postflop equities. My current understanding leads me to believe that handreading is less important that understanding equity in PLO. However, I’m sure the importance and art of PLO hand-reading will become much clearer as I begin to study.

My current plan to learn the game begins with reading books that give a comprehensive overview of the game. I am hoping that these readings will give me a broad understanding that will allow me to more effectively study on my own. I’ll then practice the concepts I have learned through my reading by playing online micro-stakes. I think online is a great tool for learning because it is so inexpensive to make mistakes, so convenient to play even a 15 minute session, and allows you to play many more hands an hour than live. I love live poker, and the quality of players relative to stakes is so low that I think there is a lot of money to be made live, but the game is just too slow to effectively learn from scratch. Therefore, I don’t expect to make my live PLO debut for at least a couple of months.

Eventually, I would like to be doing my own analyses regularly. I would also consider getting coaching, because I think that is perhaps the most effective way to learn. I also should mention that I’ll be doing this study along with Jon from episode 14.5. My experience learning Hold’em is such that I would be very reluctant to study a game that I had no-one to talk through strategy with. Forums are an alternative, but I prefer a live discussion.

So what can one expect to find from following along with me on this journey… For one, I expect to be consuming a lot of content. As I encounter books and articles, I will be reviewing them here. I’ll focus on the clarity of the materials, and ultimately, the accuracy. I will be searching for sources that place an emphasis on theoretical understanding over a set of rules to follow.

I will also be recapping what I have learned so far in the process. I won’t necessarily get into specifics, but I will be talking about how my understanding of the game changes and how that affects the way I approach study. When I am conducting my own analyses, I will share these, but with the mindset that my audience will have been studying along with me.

I’m about to crack open Jeff Hwang’s Pot Limit Omaha which I will be reviewing next week. If you don’t want to wait for my review, the book can be found at here. Alright, time to begin, and stay tuned for more next week.

For part 2 of the series, click here