Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Farewell, Omaha

As I've mentioned before, poker is all about pattern recognition. The patterns don't have to be limited to the actual play itself; meta-patterns can be recognized which overlay the patterns of play. After only six sessions of Omaha, three winning and three losing, I've already recognized a meta-pattern which has convinced me that Omaha is not the game for me.

It's scarily easy to lose your whole starting stack in Omaha; I'll go into the reasons why in a minute. In 267 sessions of Hold'em, the maximum losing streak I had was 3 sessions. In only 6 sessions of Omaha, I'm already ready to break that record. That's not a pretty picture.

Here's why it's so easy to lose your whole starting stack in Omaha: since Omaha hands are most often made on the turn or the river, you have to hold on until then if you want to have a chance of winning. Since you have to hold on to win, you have to at least call every bet, putting your stack at the mercy of the betting patterns of your opponents. For whatever reason, a fair percentage of the people who play the $5/$10 play money tables on PokerStars play very aggressively. Due to this aggressive behavior, the potential skill factor is thrown out the window, and pots are won largely on the basis of luck.

This same theory applies to other poker variants, but it's especially true of Omaha. I was really relishing the idea of trying to hone my skills in Omaha, only to find that it's not really a skill game after all, at least as played on PokerStars.

I haven't quite decided what to do next. I love poker, and will obviously continue to play some flavor. It just won't be Omaha!

delta: $-4,000
balance: $1,036,692

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