This is the best poker book to come out in a long time, and I imagine it will remain the best poker book to come out for many years to come.Bradley Chalupski, PokerUpdate.com
Dr. Tricia Cardner
RT @Georg_Grey : Hard work doesn't guarantee success, but improves its chances. - B.J. Gupta
Dr. Tricia Cardner
Dr. Tricia Cardner
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We are delighted to announce that Alex Fitzgerald (known in online circles as TheAssassinato) has agreed to write a book for D&B Poker. We’ll be uploading full details about the book over the coming days. Alex is quite possibly the foremost poker coach in the world and his chapter in Excelling at No Limit Hold’em has been much praised.
Alex has a particular talent for expressing complex ideas in clear and simple terms so that the key information can be easily absorbed. He also has the knack that all great communicators have of telling you information that – essentially – you already know but making it seem fresh and interesting and, most importantly, memorable.
Here is a simple example which really struck me. It is based on material in his chapter in Excelling at No Limit Hold’em. He asks the following question:
If you bet half the pot as a complete bluff, how often does your bet need to succeed?
This is easy. I know the answer without thinking and every competent poker player should too. It’s 1 in 3 or 33.3%. What about if you bet full pot? Again, easy – 50%, obviously. I play a lot of heads up sngs with starting stacks of 25BB (you can find my bonus chapter on this topic here). Ranges are really wide so there is a lot of bluffing in these games. I’m very familiar with this topic and didn’t expect to see anything that would surprise me. I’m constantly assessing Villain’s range in terms of whether they are likely to be able to call a bluff with frequencies around the 30-50% mark.
Then Alex suddenly asks: what if you bet twice the pot?…
In my previous blog I passed on the excellent PLO advice from our author Herbert Okolowitz, co-author of Mastering Pot-Limit Omaha. This was, “In PLO, it’s often best to close your eyes and bet…” Here is an example of this deep thinking in action.
Playing around 100BB deep I open with AQ97 from the cut-off and get called by the big blind. The flop is J94, giving me a very marginal hand indeed. As the authors explain in some detail, having decent draws is important for post-flop play in PLO and, here, I don’t have any. The big blind checks, I bet around 75% pot and the big blind calls. The turn brings J943 and the big blind checks again. In hold’em this would be a classic marginal hand checking spot. You check and if the villain bets the river you get to see whether the draws get there and so can make a fairly informed decision as to whether to bluff catch. Not so in Omaha. The problem is that almost any card will complete some sort of draw so when villain bets the river you are just playing guessing games.
Actually here I don’t really even have a marginal hand. I have second pair and no draw on a pretty wet board. In PLO this is essentially garbage. However, it is garbage that can win if the villain’s draws miss. So, following Herbert’s excellent advice I closed my eyes and shoved some chips in (again about 75% pot)…
If you’ve read some of my earlier blogs you’ll know that I’ve been trying to improve my PLO game. My main reference source has been the excellent Mastering Pot-Limit Omaha – both book and video pack. I strongly recommend both of them to anyone who wants to improve at PLO. Well, I would, wouldn’t I?
One of the authors, Herbert Okolowitz, has been kind enough to give me some feedback and assistance in my attempts to get out of base camp and scale the PLO learning curve. I was recently struggling with a certain situation and so asked Herbert’s opinion.
Now, Herbert is obviously a highly sophisticated PLO player with a deep understanding of concepts such as light and heavy boards, equity shifts and other complex PLO themes. He distilled all of this experience and knowledge into the following nugget of wisdom, “In PLO, it’s often best to close your eyes and bet…”
Thanks, Herbert – deep stuff. Seriously, though, I can see what he means. In the book it is perhaps more academically phrased as, “The key concept in PLO is to get opponents to fold their equity”. Clearly, you can get opponents to fold if you don’t actually bet…