PokerStars has an excellent option to help reduce the dreaded variance. It is RunItTwice. I have this permanently switched on so any allins with opponents who also have this option enabled are run twice reducing the chance of a bad beat.
Some of the o8 hands on this site are from the 8 Game tables on Stars – an excellent place to hone your skills at multiple games and to take advantage of some very indifferent o8 play. A tricky aspect of these tables is the two big bet games – NLH and PLO. You can grind your stack up for hours only to see it disintegrate in a couple of big hands in these games. PLO is legendary for its high variance and so I find runitwice essential for this game. It also allows me to play more aggressively without avoiding potential coin-flip situations as I am more likely to realise my equity in an allin. In theory.
Hand 1 – Allin 3 way with the NFD
I limped behind speculatively on the cutoff with a suited ace and low rundown on a table with a number of weak players. A bad loose aggressive player raised pot and it was an easy call after the big blind and initial limper called. Here’s what happened next.
Player 5 pot-called off his whole 100BigBlind stack with 3 other players still in the pot holding just a pair of kings on a low board with a straight and flush draw present.
Player 2 tank called with just a pair of tens, an open-ended straight draw and backdoor flush draw, presumably deciding he had the pot odds which is questionable as was his initial call of the pot bet.
My play with the NutFlush draw and a pair in a huge multiway pot was easy. Still I was surprised to see I had 52% equity 3 way allin.
Player 5 was duly stacked and player 2 somehow hit his backdoor flush in runout one and then spiked his set in runout two whilst avoiding all redraws. Around a 16-1 long shot. Baaah.
Hand 2 – All-in with a FullHouse on the flop
I played this hand with a reasonable regular. A friendly Russian guy whom I had been punishing in position endlessly throughout the session as he failed to tighten up his opening range. The whole session had been building up to this pot where I was waiting to get my chance to catch him out in a marginal situation.
You can’t blame him for calling his aces in the small blind here though of course. You could argue that he should raise for value to get me out of the pot given the likelihood that I will call behind. These aces are quite good with a ten and a nut suit, but really cannot hit many flops , so I can understand the flat-call as the initial raiser was aggro and it would leave awkward stacks and a tricky spot out of position whenever they do not flop a set or a flush draw. Plus of course the set is seldom getting any more value as his opponent will put him on aces in the hole. My preflop flat was again speculative, but all part of the plan to make his life hell when in position on him. The flop: bingo. The 2nd nuts only beaten by a highly unlikely pair of case 8s in the hole.
After the loose aggressive Player 1 stabs, the Russian (Player 3) makes a deceptive flat as is his style. My hand is vulnerable to bigger kickers so I need to get it all-in now. I opted for a middling raise as opposed to a pot, both for balance as I like to do this with bluffs and to induce a reraise from trips whilst managing the pot size better.
It all went to plan as the Russian finally snapped and overplayed his hand by 3bet calling allin for a total of more than 220 big blinds. It is a very tricky spot however as his trips top kicker is extremely vulnerable against other trips which likely have 3 live side cards. Almost any turn that is not an Ace or a Ten will leave him guessing, so his play is understandable, but maybe bad. The stack to pot ratio will be approx 4-1 on the turn after a call and he has to believe that I am not going to be putting 200 big blinds in without a good fullhouse minimum. But he is out of position and it is extremely hard to play marginal situations acting first on each street. I would like to think that on a good day, I might be able to get away from his hand at some point. The aces significantly hurt his hand giving him only 2 side cards to hit instead of 3 and blocking an out to those – 4 outs less than other hands containing trips and cards higher than an 8.
But as played he managed to hit all 3 of the case tens in both runs and scoop at a 25-1 longshot. Aaaarrgh.
So much for RunItTwice.