Sunday, December 23, 2007

Slot-Boom-Bam! by SmoothCaller

I'm reading Rolf Slotboom's "Secret of Professional Pot-Limit Omaha". If you've never heard of Rolf, you probably should have. He's one of the best long-time contributors to Cardplayer magazine and editor of Cardplayer Europe. He's also one hell of a strong PLO player and has built quite a legacy among the biggest games in Vienna and Austria.

He starts by outlining the system that made him a lot of money at the start of his career. (and for all I know, he still employs it today). The premise is simple: buy in short (about 20 BB's) and wait for a monster hand to get all the money in pre-flop. Sounds corny, right? Hard to imagine one of the winningest PLO pros of all time championing a playing style that seems so....basic. Well, he does, and the beauty of the system is how little thinking and risk is involved. Without going into full details (of which there are plenty), you try to get a seat at a loose-aggressive table, preferably to the right of a maniac, limp and then re-raise preflop with a monster hand and hope for the best.

What will happen many times is that the maniac will either isolate you or bet the others out of the pot - players that may have beaten you, but who are now out of the picture. And if you've played even 40 hands of PLO, you know that a lot can happen by the river...

So I started on Ultimate Bet, one of my favorite sites next to FullTilt, with a small roll of $288 last Friday. I had been building it up from $100 playing tiny NLH and PLO games, but was ready to put the Rolf system into action and see how it went. Another key to keeping the EV positive is you have to have at least 2 tables going at once. So 2 it was. (I tried 3 and PLO gets exponentially harder to pay attention to above 2 least for me).

The only problem with UB is their low-level games of PLO aren't ever all that full. I like the .50/1 tables, and .25/.50 as a backup, and there just are never more than 1 or 2 tables at those levels with players. So I put $30 into a $.50/1 table and on the very first hand of my Slotboom adventure, picked up double-suited aces. Then, believe it or not, I got it all in pre-flop with no less than 5 callers! Flopped one of my flushes and felt only semi-good. Of course the board paired and I got boated, losing only my $30 but also a chance at $150. Oh well.

The next few days have been a rollercoaster. Went down to $200, up to $280, down to $140, back up to $215, and finally tonight got to $297. Every session was at least 30 minutes long, and 2 tables. Yet another tenet of the Rolf system is that once you've doubled up or more, pull out...unless you're still a very short stack in relation to the rest of the table. What you don't want is to be in the middle of the pack. Stacks are deep and the decisions get tougher. Of course, on a site like UB where you may not have multiple options to hit and run, you're stuck - cause you can't leave a table and jump back in with any less than what you left with. Makes sense, but also tough to keep the system moving if you hit some big pots.

All in all, I love it. Great way to keep you focused on only playing the most solid PLO hands, and yet not risking much of your roll even if you're all-in. I've had a few major triple and quadruple ups, which are always fun. The book runs down some odds which are very interesting, as well as other tips on table selection and betting patterns. I'm only about 1/3 of the way through and can't wait to see what lies ahead.

I'll post back in a week or so with some more results. At this point, I'm not too concerned with building the bank too much, just making the right plays. Still, would be nice to say I'm up a few hundred...oh, and go pick up Rolf's book, pronto!

Hope to see ya at the UB PLO tables. I'm the tight arse one they call Smooothcaller.

Happy Holidays!