Monday, May 20, 2024

Pokernews.com: Strategy future of eight game mix

Poker Strategy H.O.R.S.E.: In the Mix—The Future of Mixed Games? 

The 2008 World Series of Poker featured a number of new events. In my opinion, several of them—like Event #4 and “Mixed Hold’em“—don’t truly fit the definition of mixed games. Although there are two distinct forms of poker being played, I find it a little gimmicky as both are essentially the same game with various betting options (fixed-limit and no-limit). This year did provide one new event, though a legitimate mixed game. It was Event #8, marketed as a “World Championship Mixed Event” by Harrah’s. It was known as “Super Mix” and “Eight-Game Mix” in other areas since it included eight different games: pot-limit Omaha, hold’em, limit Omaha hi/lo, razz, seven-card stud, seven-card stud hi/lo, hold’em, and 2-7 triple draw.

Since the $50,000 H.O.R.S.E. championship was established in 2006, mixed games have gained more attention. Therefore, it’s encouraging to see tournament organisers putting some creativity into the mixed game space. Regretfully, most people—including myself—do not have the money to enter the $10,000 buy-in Main Event, despite what the number of entrants in prior years may indicate.

Not that haven’t played eight-game mixes before. It is available on PokerStars in both cash game and tournament formats. I took part in an eight-game mixed tournament during the recent W.B.C.O.O.P. freerolls. After six minutes, the games were switched around in sequence, and every other game saw an increase in betting limits, so the levels were actually twelve minutes long. This was a little different from the World Series of Poker model, in which wagering restrictions rose every third game. However, the W.S.O.P. organised the games into the following categories:

  • No-limit hold ’em and pot-limit Omaha (the big-bet games).
  • Razz, seven-card stud, and seven-card stud hi/lo (the stud games).
  • 2-7 triple draw, limit hold ’em, and limit Omaha hi/lo (the fixed-limit draw and flop games).

It should be clear that one of the main challenges of an eight-game mix is that you are at the mercy of the other players if you are not a very fortunate or well-rounded player. Just 12% of all hands are played in any one game; your razz edge could be useful six times out of every 48 minutes when that’s the game. Furthermore, in six minutes, how many hands are actually played? Not even on the internet.

An eight-game mix reduces the influence of the stud games on the rotation as a whole, necessitating a level of well-roundedness even higher than that of H.O.R.S.E. The stud, razz, and stud hi/lo games in H.O.R.S.E. are at least somewhat comparable to one another. A player with a firm foundation in one of those games can play 60% of the rotation games well because concepts from one game can be transferred to another with ease. However, even the stud games make up less than half of the games played in an eight-game mix.

Eight-game mix games are played six-handed on PokerStars. Compared to an eight-handed H.O.R.S.E. competition, this is a significant deviation. The outcome should be clear: all of the games’ initial criteria are less stringent than they would be in H.O.R.S.E. Since you will need to press thin edges farther than you would at a full eight-handed table, that also implies that the variance will be bigger.

Accounting for the “big bet” games is another modification that needs to be addressed. The variance in the limit games is fairly substantial (definitely higher than in the huge bet games for an experienced player). No-limit hold ’em and pot-limit Omaha are the two huge bet poker rounds when you can truly punish inferior players and build up enough chips to withstand some downward variance in the limit rounds.

In pot-limit Omaha, for instance, I had 10♣ 4♦ K♠ 4♠ in the large blind and accepted a free three-handed flop of 4♥ 6♣ 8♦. I was on a risky board and had made the bottom set. I launched a pot-sized bet of 450 after the action checked to me, leaving 2,790 behind. My stake was called by the player who had hobbled onto my left. I think he was drawing on this kind of board. I decided to check the 5 ♦ that made a turn as a result. With 750 remaining, he put himself in a 1,350 pot. I had fewer than three-to-one odds to call in that bet, and I had a ten-card draw to determine who I thought would win. Even with 2,000 chips, I would be in a difficult situation if I missed, but there would still be hope. So I gave a call.

The board was paired by the river 6 ♥. I was able to centre my remaining 2,040 thanks to the pot’s size. My rival took a few minutes to replenish his time bank and then called with 7♣7♠8♠J♣. He was unable to avoid it after making his turn straight. That double-up provided me with the support I required in the end.

That is not to say that I had perfect poker. My bust-out hand, which was most likely a misplay on my side, came in a 2-7 triple draw. We’ll talk about the hand, which is a classic example of how position matters in draw games, next week.

The eight-game mix may be the direction of mixed games in the future because of its focus on honing skills in eight distinct poker variations and weighing the pros and cons of big-bet and fixed-limit poker. I predict a significant increase in 2009 compared to the 192 players who participated in the eight-game mix W.S.O.P. event in 2008 since those players have had some time to get used to it. Who knows? Perhaps satellites to the $10,000 no-limit hold ’em main event will be offered by online poker rooms like PokerStars.

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