This hand comes from Tim B., a Tulsa regular. The action took place at the Rio in Las Vegas, Nevada during the World Series of Poker in 2010. He was playing $5/$10 Pot Limit Omaha with a $25 button straddle and started the hand with just over $2,600. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the game of Omaha, it’s similar to Hold’em in that it has the same number of betting rounds, but in Omaha you are dealt four cards. You must use two cards from your hand and three from the board to make the best five-card hand. For basic Omaha rules and strategy, watch the video (at left, below).
First of all, I’m used to playing $2/$5 Pot Limit Omaha around here, which plays pretty big. But I’d been doing so good at the $2/$5 and $5/$10 levels, I started playing $5/$10/$25. Which is three blinds, in that you have the $5 small blind, $10 big blind, and a $25 straddle on the button, which makes the small blind first to act. So I am in the big blind in this hand. This was a pretty typical table for Omaha, I wouldn’t say it was great action, but I was sorta out there just chilling that night. Because I wasn’t focusing on putting in a hard night because I’d just got done putting in a full day at the series–the national championship was going on for that. So I was just looking to relax for a few hours while I ate and play some poker.
Anyway, this hand was kind of a crappy Omaha hand, 2456 double-suited. It’s not the best hand, but if the flop comes with a 3 on it with a connecting card, you can flop a wrap. So the number of good flops is pretty narrow, but with the way the table was playing, there wasn’t a crazy amount of action, so I expected that if I called it would call around.
So the small blind called and I called $15 more in the big blind, the next player called and then the player two to my left raised to $75. And he was a guy that–some players would make it more there, but $75 had been the typical raise at this table. So anyway, it goes: call, call, call, call. Right? So there’s seven people in the hand and the pot’s pretty big so I called the extra $50.
The flop comes out and it sort of hits me, but it sort of doesn’t: 45J. Which means I’ve flopped bottom two-pair and a bad gutshot. It can be a pretty strong hand in Hold’em but in Omaha it’s really weak. You’re just asking for trouble by continuing past the flop with it. So I pretty much planned on check-folding, but hoped it would just check around. Right, so it goes: check, check, check, check…and just checked around.
The turn is a 9 and it brings a backdoor flush possibility. I mean, I didn’t have a flush draw, but someone else might. Anyway, it goes check, check, check again–even the preflop raiser checked–and checked all the way around to the button. The guy on the button was a good player but he was only half paying attention. I mean, I’m sure as a good player he realized it’s checked around twice. But, I know that that guy is a pretty good player. And I know that if he’s paying attention, he should know what the pot size is exactly. And the pot was around $525 or whatever it was. But he had to ask the dealer what the pot size was, which struck me as odd. This guy should know what the pot size is without having to ask. After he asked what the pot size was, the dealer tells him and he says, “Okay, I bet the pot.” I thought that was really strange. I’m thinking maybe he picked up a draw, whether a straight draw or the backdoor flush draw. The only reasonable hand he could have there is a set of nines. I think if he was paying more attention–I mean, it appeared that night that he paid more attention [when he had a strong hand]. But because he wasn’t paying attention, I felt like he had a weaker draw or the backdoor flush draw, or was just taking a stab at the pot.
Right, so the small blind folds and I’m thinking about folding. Even if my intuition is right, it’s still not that great of a play. Because even if I’m not behind, what’s the likelihood of holding up? And I have a bunch of players behind me. But then one player behind me mucked (folded) out of turn and another telegraphed that he was folding. So I ended up calling, figuring I know this guy is bluffing. So, I call–sort on a whim–I call the $525 or whatever. And at this point I decide that I’m going to check-call any river that bricks out (doesn’t complete a flush or straight). [Everyone else folds.]
So now the river comes, and it’s a complete curve ball: a Jack. So now the board is 45J9J. So my hand is a pair of Jacks and a pair of fives with a six kicker. So now I can’t even beat a lot of hands that were bluffing. You know, so now I’m ready to just give up. The pot is like $1,500 or $1,600 at this point, and I only have about $2,000 left back, maybe a little over. So I just check it to him, expecting him to check it back and I’m going to be all embarrassed because I made a stupid call on the turn. Instead, he throws out a yellow chip–you know, out there the yellow chips are worth $1,000. So he tossed out a yellow chip.
So I’m thinking this guy has no hand he would ever bet the river with other than maybe nines full. He can’t have Jacks full of nines because he would’ve bet the flop on the button with a top pair hand to protect it. So I felt like he didn’t have a hand other than maybe nines full, but that’s it. So I rasied all-in, which was basically a min-raise. He bet $1,000 and I made it $2,050 or something like that.
So he goes, “I can’t believe I missed the river!” And he mucked his hand. You could tell he was really frustrated after getting caught bluffing like that. And of course I turn over my hand and collect the pot. He wasn’t frustrated with me, you know, just with himself. He racked up and left right after that. But this hand had a lot of unusual things happen in it. It was higher stakes than I’d played before. And I don’t really call light or bluff the river light, like, ever. I’m a much more cautious player. But I was just so sure of my read I just went with it, and it paid off.
Are you a passionate, knowledgeable writer? Write for quadrust.com! Click here to get started.