Picking Apart The HighStakes PLO Battle

The HighStakes heads-up battle between two of the site’s biggest players continues apace, and this week we have enlisted the analytical help of our resident PLO guru asznee999.

The 25-year old UK grinder has been focusing on PLO for the past four years, playing live tournaments whenever the chance arises.

Describing himself as ‘generally a 100bb specialist’ who has ‘played plenty of shorter/deeper scenarios’, this makes asznee999 perfectly suited to guide us through the continuing Silveroak versus completeirony HighStakes PLO match-up.

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Hand #85120281: Omaha Pot Limit €500.00/€1000.00

Table 'Nosebleeds PLO I' 6-max Seat #4 is the button

Seat 1: completeirony €19500.00 in chips
Seat 4: Silveroak €20500.00 in chips


Silveroak: posts small blind €500.00
completeirony: posts big blind €1000.00
completeirony: 5 A♠ 7♠ J
Silveroak: 5♣ 4 2 A♣

Silveroak: calls €500.00
completeirony: raises €2000.00 to €3000.00
Silveroak: calls €2000.00

The first thing to note is that both players are only 20bb deep.

From Silveroak’s perspective:

Playing only 20bb effective, it might be his strategy to limp majority (if not all) btns. With this specific hand (A♣ 5♣ 4 2) it makes a lot of sense to, as he doesn’t want to raise and get 3b as it puts him in a very awkward spot, and folding seems too tight hu with a connected hand (albeit very low) and an ace hi suit.

After being raised preflop, this hand is a crystal-clear call.

FLOP: A Q♠ 4♣

completeirony: bets €2000.0
Silveroak: calls €2000.00

On the flop, after facing 33% pot bet, Silveroak has three options:

  1. Call and peel a turn in position. This can have merits if he expects completeirony to bluff many turns and potentially rivers.
  2. Raise small to e.g. 5000. This can have merits if he expects completeirony to continue incorrectly (I.e. overfold or continue too wide). It also has the benefit of only risking 5000 to win 8000, and puts his opponent in a very tough spot with many of his marginal holdings.
  3. Pot-sized raise to 12000, committing yourself. This can have merits if he expects completeirony to be betting too frequently with his marginal holdings. Most of completeirony’s AXXX holdings will be getting the right price but will be put in a tough spot and likely have to fold.

TURN: A Q♠ 4♣ 6

completeirony: checks
Silveroak: bets €4000.00
completeirony: calls €4000.00

As played, he chose option 1.

On this turn when checked to, Silveroak should bet. Pot is 10000, with 15000 behind. He has two main options: bet small or bet big (i.e. pot) and commit himself.

If Silveroak has an overall strategy of floating flops frequently, betting small makes sense. If he is more interested in an overall strategy of pushing his equities, then betting big and committing himself makes sense.

Judging from his sizing on the turn, it seems he is more interested in the former option, betting 4000 into 10000.

RIVER: A Q♠ 4♣ 6 9♠

completeirony: checks
Silveroak: checks

The river completes the board of A Q♠ 4♣ 6 9♠. Pot is 18000, with 11000 behind.

completeirony checks to Silveroak, and Silveroak has a fairly clear jam on the river. Most hands that A4 is losing to probably check jams turn; using this logic, only reasonable hand that Silveroak is losing to is A9.

However, in an aggressive hu dynamic, he is likely getting called down by many worse hands, such as worse 2 pairs, or top pair.

completeirony: shows 5 A♠ 7♠ J a pair of Aces
Silveroak: shows 5♣ 4 2 A♣ two pairs, Aces and Fours

Silveroak collected €17640.00 from pot.

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Hand #85120322: Omaha Pot Limit €500.00/€1000.00

Table 'Nosebleeds PLO I' 6-max Seat #4 is the button

Seat 1: completeirony €9380.00 in chips
Seat 4: Silveroak €29980.00 in chips


Silveroak: posts small blind €500.00
completeirony: posts big blind €1000.00
completeirony: 5♣ 5 A J♣
Silveroak: 8♠ 7♠ 9♠ K

Silveroak: calls €500.00
completeirony: raises €2000.00 to €3000.00
Silveroak: calls €2000.00

Firstly, it’s important to note that the two players are 9.4bb effective.

Silveroak’s perspective:

Unsure on his overall strategy but his limp from sb/btn with K 9♠ 8♠ 7♠   seems sub-optimal considering rake (5% uncapped postflop). In this kind of environment, a raise or fold strategy seems like the best option.

With regards to sizing, it’s difficult to raise/fold considering stack sizes when equities run so close preflop in PLO. Thus, a full pot-sized raise with the intention of stacking off all of our raising hands seems reasonable. K 9♠ 8♠ 7♠ probably good enough to do so, assuming there is reasonable fold equity preflop.

As played, a limp call is perfectly reasonable. And on the flop of K♠ Q 2 this is a clear stack off with spr 1.

completeirony’s perspective:

After it’s been limped to him, A J♣ 5♣ 5 is mostly likely a check and see a free flop, especially considering Silveroak is probably not limp folding often. This hand plays terribly postflop and has a lot of potential to be dominated when the money goes in (which will be extremely frequently given stack sizes).

As played, using this hand to bluff shove on the flop of K♠ Q 2 seems reasonable as there should be fairly high fold equity (considering a lot of high card holdings will shove preflop).

Even when called, A J♣ 5♣ 5 has reasonable equity a lot of the time (in this instance completeirony had 36% equity on the flop).

FLOP: 2 K♠ Q

completeirony: bets €5880.00
Silveroak: calls €5880.00

TURN: 2 K♠ Q 2♠

completeirony: bets €500.00 and is all-in
Silveroak: calls €500.00

Run it twice…

RIVER 1: 2 K♠ Q 2♠ 9

completeirony: shows 5♣ 5 A J♣ two pairs, Fives and Twos
Silveroak: shows 8♠ 7♠ 9♠ K two pairs, Kings and Nines

Silveroak collected €9192.40 from pot

RIVER 2: 2 K♠ Q 2♠ Q♣

completeirony: shows 5♣ 5 A J♣ two pairs, Queens and Fives
Silveroak: shows 8♠ 7♠ 9♠ K two pairs, Kings and Queens

Silveroak collected €9192.40 from pot

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Hand #85029626: Omaha Pot Limit €200.00/€400.00

Table 'Irony's Den I' 6-max Seat #3 is the button

Seat 3: completeirony €28586.56 in chips
Seat 4: Silveroak €17552.00 in chips


completeirony: posts small blind €200.00
Silveroak: posts big blind €400.00
completeirony: K 4♣ 5♠ 4
Silveroak: Q♠ K♠ K♣ 4

completeirony: calls €200.00
Silveroak: raises €800.00 to €1200.00
completeirony: calls €800.00

Firstly, it’s important to note that the two players are roughly 44bb effective.

completeirony’s perspective:

Unsure on his overall strategy but with 5% uncapped rake postflop, having a limping range seems sub-optimal. However, at this stack depth, limp calling K 5♠ 4♣ 4 seems reasonable as it cannot raise and continue vs a 3bet.

Silveroak’s perspective:

Facing a limp from the sb/btn, Silveroak has a clear raise from the BB with K♠ K♣ Q♠ 4 as he is well ahead of the limping range.

FLOP: 5 9 4♠

Silveroak: bets €1200.00
completeirony: raises €2219.01 to €3419.01
Silveroak: calls €2219.01

completeirony’s perspective:

Having called the raise, the flop comes 9 5 4♠ (SPR 6.8 SPR=Stack-to-Pot Ratio), giving him bottom set with middle pair blocker and a backdoor flush draw. Facing a ½ pot size cbet, he has three realistic approaches: flat, pot-sized raise or raising small.

Flatting seems OK if he expects Silveroak to bluff most turns/rivers. Pot-sized raise seems the most reasonable option as at this SPR as most hands he’s raising on this flop at this SPR will be hands he’s committing to.

Raising small has merits if completeirony has plans to raise small (and fold vs a 3b on the flop) with hands that don’t play well future streets but have blockers to Silveroak’s continuing ranges: e.g. hands like J977, A665.

completeirony does decide on the latter option, which Silveroak calls.

Silveroak’s perspective:

Flop 9 5 4♠ (SPR 6.8). This is an interesting spot where many options are viable. He can check call and see what develops on the turn as many cards will help define his equity in the hand.

Alternatively he can check shove if he believes completeirony is overstabbing the flop in position once checked to.

However, Silveroak takes the third option in betting ½ pot.

Personally, I’m not a fan of this play as it sets up an awkward SPR once called (SPR 3.2) and there are many turns that are very difficult to continue on out of position.

Once his cbet is raised, Silveroak probably has to continue here considering he blocks a set and no draws (unless he chooses to make exploitative fold if he believes that completeirony is only raising this size with strong, made hands).
On the other hand, Silveroak could 3b shove the flop if he believes completeirony is raising this sizing too wide.

TURN: 5 9 4♠ Q

Silveroak: checks
completeirony: bets €9053.26
Silveroak: raises €12932.99 and is all-in
completeirony: calls €3879.73

completeirony’s perspective:

Turn Q (SPR 1.4). This is a very dynamic card bringing in many more straight draws and flush draws. Silveroak checks and completeirony has a clear pot-sized bet in this spot: any other size wouldn’t make sense as there are virtually no hands completeirony is betting where he is not committing his stack.

He gets check shoved on for a little more and has a very easy call.

Silveroak’s perspective:

Having called the flop raise, Silveroak has another interesting decision. To lead pot and commit himself or to check shove.

The former has merits if he believes completeirony will check back most of his weaker holdings to realise his equity, whereas the latter has merits if he believes completeirony will cbet on the turn with a wide variety of holdings and continue with a lot of bluffs.

Silveroak decides on the latter option: sadly for him, he has run into a very strong hand and has very little equity (7.5%).

RIVER 1: 5 9 4♠ Q 7♠

Silveroak: shows Q♠ K♠ K♣ 4 two pairs, Queens and Fours
completeirony: shows K 4♣ 5♠ 4 three of kind, Fours

completeirony collected €17,200.96 from pot.

RIVER 2: 5 9 4♠ Q 8♠

Silveroak: shows Q♠ K♠ K♣ 4 two pairs, Queens and Fours
completeirony: shows K 4♣ 5♠ 4 three of kind, Fours

completeirony collected €17,200.96 from pot.

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If you enjoyed this deep analysis let us know in the comments below and we’ll bring asznee999 back for more insight on the HighStakes heads-up duel.

If you fancy your own chances at the four-card game, or just want to join the rail as the big boys battle for stacks, then check out the HighStakes cardroom here.

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