Adjustments to a Villain that is Betting Everyone out of Omaha8 / BigO pots)

BoilerAceBoilerAce Red Chipper Posts: 429 ✭✭✭
I have a friendly Mixed home game where I'm one of the best players. There's usually about 4 of us left at the end of the night with all of the chips...(now online play with all of the online chips.) The later games are always $0.25/$0.50 NL Omaha 8 and NL Big O.

I am one of the winners in this game because I play sound Omaha8 strategy....only playing solid starting hands, sometimes limping with borderline hands in position not spending a lot, and value betting my strong hands and situations where I have a safety net. This gets me to be one of the best in out game.

Unfortunately, one of the players (one of my friends) has picked up on the fact that when we get shorthanded (4-5 players), that he can play almost every pot and bet bet bet until everyone folds. I thought it was a couple of nights of luck until another remaining player pointed it out. Now that we're playing online we compared our stats...I'm playing 54% of hands to the flop usually, and the villain announced he plays 95% of hands to the flop. So what he's doing is playing almost every hand and betting and betting knowing that me and other few players will fold by the river because we are playing sound hi/lo strategy....thus he wins pot after pot that doesn't go to showdown. And my stack lowers the longer the remaining 4 of us play.

Now, the easy solution is to play more hands to showdown with him. Or raise the pots when I have a great hand? Those are few and far between. Unfortunately (or fortunately) I'm a careful player and the last thing I want to do is go full force betting into him and him win even more.

Can someone help me with a strategy to adjust to this player so I can keep growing my stack with the better remaining players at the table?


  • TheGameKatTheGameKat Posts: 4,257 -
    Easiest solution would be to switch to PL instead of that NL abomination.

    How deep are you when this phase of torture begins?
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  • BoilerAceBoilerAce Red Chipper Posts: 429 ✭✭✭
    That's an interesting angle. We started playing NL Omaha variants because no one really wanted to keep track of the pot when we played live. It's something that's not normal to any of us.

    We start out with low buyins... $40 stacks (80bb). The rule is that you can buy in for $40 more if you are at $20 or less in your stack. There is not a rule where you can buy into half of the biggest stack.

    I would answer your question by saying that I don't think NL has anything to do with this problem since when we are reduced to 4-5 players, everyone has equal stacks of $100-$200. But this is when the player takes advantage. One player sees every flop and I think he's just continuously staying longer than anyone else in each and picking up extra pots when he folds. It's not obvious that he's betting $50-$100 per betting round, it's just that he's betting and betting to where any player playing a normal high low strategy (no nuts) would fold out to his benefit.
  • TheGameKatTheGameKat Posts: 4,257 -
    edited May 2020

    Interesting problem but a solvable one. I'd suggest the first thing you might want to think about is what a normal hi-lo strategy looks like when you're playing 4-handed.

    The second point is that you've concluded the player entering 90%+ of pots is a bad player. Is that conclusion based on him entering "too many" pots, or is that a judgment coming from full-ring play?

    Just reading your post, it seems to me that this "bad" player may have found the perfect exploitative strategy against players like you who play "proper" O8 hands. And it's a strategy I've employed in short-handed games. It's simple, which is why I like it.

    If a table gets short-handed and I find my opponents are still playing full-ring starting hands, along with a tendency to fold a lot post, I'm going to open up as wide as possible. My starting hand requirements are: can this hand physically make a nut low? In other words, does it include 2 cards of different rank between A and 5. If so, I'm playing it. If it doesn't, I may play it anyway if it has decent high-hand potential.

    Understand that it's you good players that are making this strategy viable. Hyper-aggression works mostly because you're folding. It also works because, short-handed, if a hand has any low potential, it's quite difficult to get beat both ways. So our alleged maniac can bet with impunity, knowing that your folds are providing a massive equity overlay, and when you do show up with a real hand, he may get bailed out anyway by picking up half the pot.

    So what to do? The good news is that even 4-handed, 90%+ VPIP in this game is too high. It's an exploitative strategy, thus by definition is vulnerable to the correct counter-exploit.

    Step 1: If you restrict yourself to hands no worse than 45xxx with some additional values, you'll have range advantage against VPIP=90.

    Step 2: Discover how your maniac responds to aggression. If you raise the flop with some janky two-way thing, does villain go away? Does villain instead come over the top with a hand over which you have an equity edge? The point is, you can't just open up a bit and call down hopefully. As persuadeo frequently reminds us, allowing our opponent to constantly set the price cannot be right. And you have to take the initiative in order to allow villain to tell you how to beat them.

    Step 3: Craft your own strategy from what you've learned in step 2.

    This doesn't actually solve the problem you set us, which is "what strategy allows me to quietly grow my stack like normal?" because no such strategy is possible. Villain took that off the table. Your options are to quit, or to get involved in a high variance game.
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  • BoilerAceBoilerAce Red Chipper Posts: 429 ✭✭✭
    I definitely don't see this villain as a bad player. The 4 players left at the end of the night are always the good players and he is one of them. But he has now found out and angle to exploit the other 3 good players when it's short handed, something I don't think works for him as well at a full table because there are more chances at someone having a better hand than him and more chance that the hand will get to showdown.

    I don't think he would be one to jam over the top. I think aggression back would make him uncomfortable. It's going to be a couple of weeks before I play him next...but I will study this and implement the counter-strategy. And now I know what the strategy will cause...high variance.

    I really appreciate this!
  • TheGameKatTheGameKat Posts: 4,257 -
    Got it. And agree with that assessment.

    Good luck. Sounds like a fun game, but I would recommend a 5-point racing harness and a HANS device.
    Moderation In Moderation
  • John ValentineJohn Valentine Red Chipper Posts: 106 ✭✭
    I don't know a lot about Omaha hi/lot. I have played plo. However, I have seen people like you describe in my games of nlholdem. Sometimes they are just maniacs and will bet with anything. Other times they only appear to be a maniac. One of his strategies is that he is irritating everyone else. And it works. Angry people do not make good poker players. Follow the advice of gamecat. He has 10 times more poker knowledge than me. However keep your emotions under control. You know that as soon as your game becomes shorthanded he'll start his game. Just stay calm and play your game.

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