Good folds prevent bad decisions in PLO



I was in the big blind of a nine-handed $10-$20 PLO game with {a-Diamonds}{10-Diamonds}{j-Spades}{2-Spades} and a $4K stack. A player in early position raised to $80 and five people called, including the button and myself.

The flop fell {9-Diamonds}{5-Spades}{4-Hearts} and the action checked around.

The turn was the {k-Spades}. The action folded to the button, who bet $300 into $480 and I was the only caller.

The river was the {8-Diamonds} and I checked. My opponent checked as well and he won with a pair of fives ({a-Spades}{q-Spades}{10-Hearts}{5-Clubs}). What did I do wrong?

PREFLOP: A no-brainer call with A-J-10-2 double-suited. There are tilt monkeys who three-bet hands like this out of position six ways, and while it isn’t the worst play in the world, I would consider it far from optimal. I would be more likely to three-bet from the big blind with this hand if it was just between me and the small blind or button.

FLOP: We whiffed the flop and it’s an easy spot to check-fold since we have no pair and no real draw. No mistakes so far.

TURN: With the {k-Spades}, we have a double gutshot straight draw and a jack-high flush draw. I hate to take a stab at the pot right here with six players because there are a plethora of draws and a lot of made hands that can come over the top of me. When the button bets $300 into $480, I prefer folding rather than calling.

My opponent’s bet-sizing and check back on the flop potentially indicate he’s betting some type of draw and since I am out of position with only three outs to the nuts, I’m going to find myself in tough spots on the river. Also, if I call, there are still people left to act behind me. I prefer folding on the turn, but since I decided to call, let’s go over the river.

RIVER: The {8-Diamonds} is a blank, leaving me with ace high. I checked, and what a pathetic check it was.
My opponent’s range includes so many draws because of how he played his hand, and I am essentially giving up the pot with no hope of winning when I check. A better play on the river might have been to bet $750, but I had my reasons for checking.

It’s hard for my opponent to believe I’m value-betting the river because it’s so unlikely I called the turn with 6-7 in my hand when there are bigger straight draws on the board as well as a flush draw. It’s just an ugly river. Avoiding these types of situations ends up being a key element in PLO because it helps to tame variance, it prevents you from making unnecessary bluffs and it plugs a lot of general leaks you probably didn’t know you had.

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