Friday, January 12, 2007

Does the E in HORSE stand for +EV?

The beauty of low limit HORSE -- particularly in the Omaha and Stud Hi/Lo games, is that you'll get three or four players going to the river, and if you're going for the low, it's usually pretty easy to see that the other players are going for the high. Therefore, you jam the pot, because betting $4 to make the other two players put $8 in the pot is a very +EV maneuver. Two amazing hands from last night illustrate this well. One now, one in a future post.

It's Stud Hi/Lo, and all eight players post the 5¢ ante. I'm dealt (8 5) A. My strategy for Stud Hi/Lo is to go for the low, with the idea that I might back into the high. I'll only go for the high if I get dealt a monster to start. 85A is a decent hand to go for the low, and as I look around the table, there's only three low-blockers visible (two sevens and a four). I keep track of the number of blockers on one hand; when it gets to six, it's time to start thinking about folding.

Seven players, including me, go to fourth street for the 25¢ bring-in minimum. I get 7, for an 875A low draw with three cards to come. With my ace showing, I'm the current high hand, so I lead with a 5o¢ bet. I get four callers, with only one other person possibly going for the low, toffee74 with 7 A.

Five of us go to fifth street, where I get 6. I've made a low, but not a very good one, 8765A. However, I now have a straight possiblity -- might I scoop this one? Toffee74 got a 2, giving him three to the nut low. Cardrush, who is sitting on my left got a second ten, giving him the current high hand of T 9 T.

Cardrush checks, as does everyone else, so when it gets to me, I put in the $1 bet. Cardrush then checkraises me to $2, implying that he's got trip tens. With just five cards, I can't imagine he's got a boat yet. Toffee74 folds to the checkraise (this is huge!), kt10k (with 4 Q K) calls the $2, ssvaw25 folds, and I reraise to $3. Only two more blockers have come out, so I've got 7 outs to significantly improve my low, plus two more nines to make a straight (the two fours remaining for the straight are also part of the seven low cards). Nine outs with two cards to come almost demands that I raise here, and doing so will tell me the strength of Cardrush's and kt10k's hands. More importantly, though, I've got a made low, and I'm facing TT9 and KQ4. I'm pretty much a lock for half the pot. With two other players still in, building the pot is almost mandatory here.

Cardrush and kt10k both call (a sign that they fear each other's high hand), and on sixth street I get 7; the low Hellmuthian pair is not much use to me. Cardrush gets a worthless looking 5; kt10k gets A, giving him a possible broadway straight, but with two of the tens in Cardrush's hand, I don't think that's a strong possibility, particularly after they both check to me. I bet $1 to build the pot, and they obligingly call.

On the river, I get 6, for a high hand of 7766A, and a low of 8765A. They both check to me, I bet $1 to build the pot, and they call again.

*** SHOW DOWN ***
LauricT: shows [8d 5h As 7s 6d 7h 6s] (HI: two pair, Sevens and Sixes; LO: 8,7,6,5,A)
cardrush: mucks hand
kt10k: mucks hand
LauricT collected $9.60 from pot
LauricT collected $9.55 from pot
kt10k leaves the table
LauricT said, "wow"

The hand history shows that Cardrush mucked [2 J] T 9 T 5 [8]. what was he even doing getting in the hand with JT2? And checkraising with TTJ92 with only two cards to come?

kt10k mucked [Q 3] 4 Q K A [8]. He never raised during the hand, just calling every bet. Q43 is not a good starting hand, although when he hit a pair of queens on fourth street, he might have thought he was good to improve. Two aces, a king, and another queen were already out, though, so he couldn't have felt too good. After that, he was just wedded to high looking cards.

It was Toffee74's fold on fifth street that told me I had the green light to jam the pot with my made low. Every bet beyond that point was going to pay off 1:1, with a 100% +EV. Backing into the high was the icing on the cake.

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