Hold'em with Holloway, Vol. 120: Parlaying PLO Win Into Borgata Poker Open Tournaments
For the past two weeks, I've called the Borgata in Atlantic City home as PokerNews live reported the 2019 Borgata Poker Open. While there I not only witnessed some interesting hands — such as the double check-raise discussed in last week's column — but also got involved in a few myself.
Running It Twice in PLO
Despite the title of this column, I thought I'd take a moment to relate a hand I played at Borgata in a $5/$5 pot-limit Omaha cash game. I was sitting with around $1,100 and got involved in a hand against a player — let's just call him "the villain" — sitting with around $1,000.
A player raised to $25 from early position and the villain called next to act. Another player called from late position and I looked down at in the small blind. I called and it was four-way action to the flop.
"I certainly hadn't expected the villain to pot it, but I wasn't about to back down."
While the flop didn't hit me directly, it was great for me with the straight wrap and Royal Flush draw. I checked with the plan of check-raising after one of my opponents bet, which at this table was almost assured.
Indeed, the original raiser continued for $75 and the villain responded by raising the size of the pot. The late-position player folded and action was back on me. I certainly hadn't expected the villain to pot it, but I wasn't about to back down with my hand. I repotted, the original raiser folded, and the villain got it in.
He didn't show his hand, but asked if I'd prefer to run it once or twice. Given I was on a draw, I was inclined to run it twice figuring I'd find an out at least once.
First Run: turn and river
Second Run: turn and river
I made neither the Royal Flush nor the diamond flush, but it was just as good as I made Broadway on both runouts to scoop the pot. I'm not sure what my opponent held, but it's safe to say he had flopped a set of some sort.
It was a nice $2,100-plus win and reinforced my belief that in PLO you have to pursue your nut draws aggressively.
Tripping Myself Up on the Turn
I used some of my PLO winnings to play a couple of tournaments, including Event #7: $230 Deep Stack, an event that drew 292 runners.
In Level 2 (100/200/200), Corbin Avery raised to 500 from the hijack and Donald Williams called from the button. I was in the small blind with and just called, which prompted the player in the big blind to come along.
The flop gave me trips and I checked it. The player in the big blind did the same and Avery continued for 700. Williams just called and I had a decision to make.
Clearly I wasn't folding, so should I just call or raise? The flush draw was scary, but so was the prospect of another player having the case nine with a better kicker.
"He kept the pressure on and something didn't add up to me."
Given it was early in the tournament and we were fairly deep, I opted to just call and see what the turn brought. The big blind then called as well and it was still four-way action to the turn, which was the .
It seemed like a safe enough card for me, and in hindsight, I think I should have shifted gears and led out to see where I was at. Instead, I checked it and so did the big blind. Much to my surprise, Avery bet again, this time making it 2,000.
He had exhibited strength from the get-go, but even with a big pocket pair like kings or aces, one might expect him to check the turn against three players, especially on a paired board. Instead, he kept the pressure on and something didn't add up to me.
Williams called, and I decided to play it cautiously by just calling again. That inspired the big blind to call as well, taking us to the river. With three others players in the hand, it was apparent to me that at least one of them had a flush draw, so at this point, I was done with the hand.
I checked and the big blind bet 2,000. Avery then raised to 5,000 and Williams called, I quickly folded and the big blind called with what turned out to be for an ace-high flush. Williams mucked (he later claimed to have a flush as well), while Avery rolled over for sevens full of nines to win the pot.
I was suspicious of his turn bet, but it made sense upon seeing his cards. Had I went for the check-raise on the flop there's a good chance I could've gotten him to let it go, though I'm sure I'd have gotten action from either one or both of the flush draws. That said, I likely would have fired bigger on the turn, which might've allowed me to pick it up then and there.
The hand was a reminder that offense and aggression will win more pots than playing defense.