Since the last time I updated my results on this blog I have exclusively played online. And although I have played no limit hold'em for the better part of sixteen years, in these last few months I would be surprised if I have played even one hundred hands of NLH. Instead I have been focusing my time and attention to playing pot limit omaha, at first the 5-card variant and now almost exclusively 6-card. I have written in the past my opinion that no limit hold'em is a dying game and that other forms of poker such as omaha and short deck are the future. This is not only borne out in my results that I will discuss in this article, but in the quality of players that inhabit these tables. Do not misunderstand me, the hold'em games on the online network I play on are good but nothing matches the action that resides in these omaha games. If you can find two players on a hold'em table playing higher than a 40% VP$IP, that is a game you want to jump into right away. But in the 6-card omaha games I play in daily it is quite common to have all of the other five players on the table with a VP$IP over 60% and I have even seen those that play above 90%.
I should first explain the photo that I have included with this article by stating that in this club 1 chip is equal to 10 Thai Baht, or roughly $0.30 USD depending on the current exchange rate. So my total numbers for the month of November thus far are as follows:
• 2,994.90 chips
• 2,011 hands
• 2,994.90 x 10 = 29,949 Thai Baht
• 29,949 Baht = $986.60 USD
To get my win rate involves a bit more work:
• 2,994.90 / 2 (amount of the big blind I play) = 1,497.45 chips
• 2,011 hands / 100 hands = 20.11 units of 100 hands
• 1,497.45 / 20.11 = 74.46 big blinds per 100 hands
It has only been nine days in this month thus far so obviously this is a small sample size. But my results do show an upward trend that has held consistent for the most part since I started to play exclusively online. The month of August was very good for me when I started to play 5-card omaha. September was also good but October was a losing month as I began to play 6-card omaha. But in the last few days of last month I started to have better results and that has carried into this month as I now exclusively focus on 6-card omaha. I play 1-2 blinds on the club, which is about $0.30-$0.60 USD and since my win rate is about 75 big blinds per 100 hands that means that every 100 hands I play I win about $44 USD. And since this is all online, it does not take that long to play 100 hands and in fact I will play several units of 100 on some days. And this is all without any rakeback so once that is calculated my monthly total will increase all that much more.
Once again I would like to stress that this is still a small sample size, but my win rate for 4 and 5 card omaha was just a bit over 10 big blinds already so signs are encouraging that my recent success is part of a trend and not a random occurrence. I do expect the inflated numbers to even out of course, but I expect to have a healthy positive win rate once the dust has settled. Having said that I am still new to the game and have much to learn. My friends who play on the club critique my game all the time and I must admit when i listen to them talk about strategy I still find myself lost at times. We get together weekly for dinner and drinks and one friend who plays higher railed me this week and told me that I still call too much preflop rather than folding or 3-betting. My numbers were all over the place when I first started to play as my VP$IP was indeed high and my PFR was much too low. But that gap is narrowing and I sense that I am understanding the game more each week. My biggest issue is actually fear, being afraid of 3-betting preflop and getting into situations where I just have to stack off on the flop. That is the thing about omaha, especially the 6-card variant in that equities run really close and many times all the money is getting in where I may have top set but am against a player who is actually a favorite with a 20 card wrap. I have had days in which I have lost $300-$500 playing only $0.30-$0.60 USD, only to win it all back and then some the next day, sometimes the same day. Variance is very volatile in these games, but that is the price one pays to go against players who are involved in 90% of the hands preflop.
It is difficult to ignore these types of numbers, whether it be my win rate or the stats on those that I play against. The switch to omaha from hold'em was inevitable so I decided to dive in a few months ago. My reasons for playing online as opposed to live are a bit more practical. I live by the airport in Phnom Penh which is about an hour out from the center of town. I do come out once a week to meet with players and friends, but it would be difficult to do so on a daily basis to play in live games. But honestly even if I were to live close I do doubt that my daily routine would change and I would still prefer to play online. Once again these reasons are practical in that the sheer speed of the game and also the rakeback I receive cannot be matched by any live game. I realize that at times even live rooms embark upon ambitious rakeback programs for their regulars, but even in these cases they do not come anywhere close to what is offered online. And while bonuses and promotions of this nature tend to have a negative effect on the quality of live games, they seem to have no effect whatsoever on the online omaha games. If I play five hours in a live omaha game I might see one hundred hands. Playing four tables I will see one hundred hands online in less than thirty minutes.
There is certainly a place for live poker and I am merely stating my own preference here. I realize that for tourists the issues I have already mentioned carry less weight as they are just looking for a story to tell once they get back home or just a way to fill their days after they have already seen the Killing Fields or the museum. But I do have to say that being an expat and living here, playing live poker became to me like toiling in the hot sun. I always had to look for a good deal to play with in games that were either no good or ones that would not last. I was bashing heads with too many players trying to do the exact same thing I was attempting to achieve, or trying to squeeze out money from those that would buy in min and play as few hands as possible while trying to achieve their promotional hours. Everything seemed temporary, like a band aid that I used to patch things up until something better came along. Of course it seldom did and as a player it felt like I was going from one toil to the next, never moving up or forward but rather just sideways constantly. Whatever game I was sitting in, I constantly looked at my surroundings and thought to myself that it is not possible that I can still do this in five years, nor would I want to.
Live poker was a big part of why I came out to Cambodia in the first place. But now I obviously have other reasons to stay and continue living here. I do have a family now with a very supportive wife and two wonderful daughters. Everything is still relatively very cheap in Cambodia and I can live my life and afford things for my family at a fraction of what they would cost back in the States. I find the nightlife in Phnom Penh fairly epic and I have the greatest friends one could ask for to enjoy it with. Unlike before, poker seems like a means to an end, a way to achieve the things that I enjoy about my life instead of it being my entire life. Hopefully my good results will continue, both in poker and in life, and I live on to write a part 4 to this weird and wonderful saga that is my life in Cambodia.
Life in the Third World
Just a collection of random and not so random thoughts from my daily life here in Cambodia.