Taken to school in Omaha.


I enjoy playing a variety of poker games, from everyone's favorite NLH to HORSE. Almost always tournaments though. Don't know why, but even though I'm a very competitive player in tournament format, I turn into a complete moron in cash games. Well, online I've recently taken a liking to Omaha, both PLO and H/L limit but never played either one live. Here in Northern California (I usually play at Bay 101 in San Jose) you can't find live Omaha tourneys. So I decided to schedule a trip to Vegas specifically to get some live experience in Omaha.

Once a month Binion's has an Omaha weekend with PLO on Friday, PLO H/L on Saturday and H/L limit on Sunday. They're all $150 buy ins. That was a little too steep for me to play all three since I was a novice at the game. Also, airfare and hotel are more expensive over the weekend. So the final plan was to fly in Sunday morning, play the Binion's H/L Limit tourney. On Monday I'd play the H/L Limit tourney at The Orleans for $80 and then (unless I lasted until the end) go to Caesars for the Monday night $75 PLO Tourney.

This is going to sound stupid, but the thing I had the most trouble with was figuring out how to look at my cards without looking like a complete idiot, or showing my cards to my neighbors. Eventually I got the hang of it and was on my way.

In the two H/L tourneys I made some bone-headed moves early on, chasing hands I shouldn't have. After that I played pretty well, but I kept making second nut hands, or flopping nut draws that wouldn't come. This is a recipe for getting whittled out of an Omaha tourney and that's what happened. Saw some interesting things though, like a Quads over Quads hand. With the limit betting format it was like watching a train wreck! Raise -- Reraise -- Reraise etc. Half way through the river the guy with the 9's started to figure out that maybe the crazy lady that kept reraising him wasn't crazy, but on quad jacks. Ouch.

Went out mid-pack in both events. Not too disappointing for my first time w/live Omaha. Both rooms were nice (if waitresses with boobs heaving out of their tops is important to you, then the Orleans is the place for you). Both tournaments were well run. One slight complaint at Binion's though. One of the dealers, an attractive young lady, spent one of the breaks trying to share her Christian faith with me and urge me to make sure that my, "name was written in the Lamb's book of Life." I found this a bit out of line and irritating, but didn't complain.

On to PLO at Caesars. This game is a blast! I can see why it is all the rage in Europe. Here I got cards, but bad luck. My best hand was just before the first break, when someone mentioned that someone always goes out before the break. I was in the cutoff and found AA-rag-rag. I decided to raise the pot to try to take the blinds. The big button was a bit shorter stacked than I thought and reraised, committing us both. He had Jacks and tens. My aces would have been good, but as it turns out, it was my rags that won the pot when they made a straight. After the break, my comfortable chip stack was decimated when, pot committed, I called an all in with a nut flush and straight draw. The other guy's two pair held up. Shortly after that I got a great PLO hand, 7,8,9,10 double suited. Got knocked out by AA, neither of us improved.

A couple of last observations about Omaha tourneys. The demographic difference is amazing. I'm 44, and was clearly one of the youngsters in both of the H/L tourneys. There also seems to be a group of locals that play Omaha regularly as I saw several players at more than one of the tourneys. Action junkies might find limit H/L tourneys dull, but I like the variety of a more cerebral, chess match kind of game. PLO would appeal to many people, I believe, if they gave it a try.

Finally, as an afterthought, I decided to play the 11pm NLH tourney at Caesars. Good thing too, I chopped for first taking down $1300. Covering my Omaha lessons and still coming out a grand ahead. I'd like to say that I won on pure skill, but in the last hour or so, I got a run of cards like I've never seen before. AA, KK, QQ, JJ, Ak you name it, I had it in the last hour, and they usually held up. At the beginning of this run I was pretty short stacked, but doubled up w/AK against A-10. Then, I started raising almost every other hand, stealing the blinds and antes several times. It just so happened that I usually had these great hands when the same guy was in the blinds. Then with 11 players left in the tourney, our table 6 handed, utg I had jacks and raised. The same guy was in the big blind, and I'm sure he thought I was messing with him, having stolen his blind four or five times. He shoved all-in. At this point he still had me covered, so I had to think for a minute. If he had AA, KK or QQ, that would just be bad luck. If the had AK or AQ it was a coin flip, anything else I was a big favorite. So, I called and he turned over pocket 3's. I held up, got a mountain of chips and never looked back.

I enjoyed all three rooms I played in. But I have to recommend Caesars for tournament play. True, I've read on here a few times that their waitress service isn't the best. But they give you lots of chips and long (30 minutes in both tourneys I playerd) levels. You can really play poker.

So, I got what I wanted out of my Omaha "lessons" which was some live seat time. AND came back with money. Can't wait to do it again.

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  1. Sounds like a fun trip. I plan to try out the Orleans and/or Caesar's Monday Omaha tourneys this week. Omaha is the crack of poker! :sunglasses:

  2. @Grange95

    Yes, it is. I forgot to add in the trip report that going from playing three omaha tournaments back to hold 'em was like swinging a weighted bat in the on deck circle. I read the game so easily, having only two hole cards, and being able to make a hand with any five cards.

    Good luck, you'll have fun.

  3. I will never play in an Omaha tourney. I've done so a bit online, and play in a mixer cash game where PLO is in the rotation.

    There are nights of my mixer that there is not a single PLO hand that I should have played. Perhaps I will limp in, if I can, with a couple of danglers just to see if I get lucky, but before the turn it is typically, pot/repot kind of thing. I wasted my blind.

    That kind of thing makes it very difficult to cash in a tourney with skill. I find that one has to be very lucky. You have to pick up hands late in the tourney, and have them hold up. Doing so early does almost no good.

  4. @djpeteski

    You have a point here. But I would argue that the same can be said (maybe to a lesser extent) of NLH tournaments. The skill of reading people and stealing blinds, etc. is much more valuable in NLH, but to finish top three in a tournament you still have to catch cards.

    Omaha is a different game that calls for different kinds of decisions. And PLO is very different from limit H/L. But both do tend to reward the patient player. In fact in limit H/L, I would say that you can play like an absolute rock and have as good a chance as anyone of winning the tourney. I realize that's not everybody's cup of tea.

    And again, I'm not advocating that Omaha is a superior form of poker, just different. I don't want to play the same game all the time.

    Finally, I wish the were a mixer cash game near me. Maybe that's a kind of cash game I could do well in!


  5. when do they have these weekends at binnions for the omaha

  6. I think it's the second weekend of each month. Originally I saw this in CardPlayer magazine, and December was the last scheduled one. They said they would evaluate at that time to see if they would continue it. Haven't seen anything official, but I imagine they'll keep it up since it appears it is a popular trifecta of tournaments.

    Their web site doesn't get updated regularly, they still have ads for last Springs's Vegas Grand Prix and last summer's Binion's classic on the front page. Not sure why a property this famous wouldn't update its site. Anyway, give 'em a call, I'm almost certain the next one should be scheduled for Jan. 10-12.

  7. I just noticed the other day that Binions hadn't updated the website in a long time- although they claim to have the most famous poker room in the world!!! Someone should tell the most famous poker room in the world that they need to call marketing to update their website... it only takes about 20 minutes for goodness sake- its not like their website is complex HTML code or anything- LOL.

  8. oh- and caesars has a Omaha game going right now... the Monday PLO has been going on for a few months per other's and the website- but I checked out the website and they now have a Wed Omaha 8OB toruney for 100 and the orleans has one on thursday... haven't found anything yet for the weekends (orleans may have it but I was only interested in the thur game)