|Every Omaha Player, On A Draw|
We are now just a little more than one week away from the next home game here at the Man Cave. It's simultaneously my favorite game, and the most maddening. Yep, it's Omaha Time.
For those of you who like your poker basic, your life predictable, and your poker to never, ever change from the format that 98% of the stuff on the Tee Vee is, Omaha is the form of poker in which the player receives four cards face down, and has to play two with the community five. So it's just like hold'em, except for the fact that it's well, totally not. Big pairs crack like mad, your king-high flush is a routine loser, and if you are good enough to muck a small boat before it crashes you aground, this is so the game for you. It's also all kinds of great, especially if you hate Pre-Flop Shove Fest, or can manage a little discipline in your play when all around you, people are losing their heads for a flopped straight that isn't going to look very good at all after the turn and river.
However, this all has one major hidden bummer factor: getting enough people to play.
You see, nothing scares poker players more than Omaha. Bring it up at a cash game of dealer's choice, and you can get hardened hardcore aggro players to tuck their tails and bail. Put forth the proposition that perhaps their brains are big enough to remember a different set of rules for starting hands, and the lips start to quiver. Bring up the idea that if you aren't good at more than one form of poker, and you may not be very good at poker, and you move officially into Fighting Words. And when you give an out to your regulars over how they don't necessarily need to play the tournaments with Omaha in them to qualify for your Player of the Year side pot (what, your home game does not have a player of the year side pot? I bet it doesn't even have a dork-tastic trophy. How do you live without such things?)...
Well, you turn your 3-table tournament with the possibility of turning people away into a 2-table event where you are begging people to come. Or telling those knocked-kneed players where you go for your tips on how to play the damned game. And those who love Omaha (and really, there's a lot to love, just from the simple fact that there are so many more hands that you can play, not that you necessarily should) really do appreciate having a game for once, especially a tournament one. Finally, there's the simple fact that this tournament is only half Omaha, so if you really want to avoid those hands, you mostly can.
Also, I'm not exactly sure how losing at Omaha is all that more exasperating than losing at anything, really. Last time on the felt, dealing ordinary hold'em, I made a massive misread of a shove and put my pocket 5s against another guy's pocket queens... and watched him flop a house while I flopped quads. That had to hurt more than any Omaha hand ever, really.
So, before we wrap this up, let's review...
1) I'm hosting a poker tournament here at the Man Cave in Central NJ in a week
2) You get to play half Omaha, half Texas hold'em, on speed felt, with good chips, with a tournament clock on a monitor in a private home
3) It's a true mid-stakes game with a hand-picked group of people who generally manage to not behave badly
4) There's soda, beer, booze, light snacks and no rake (but a tip jar, so please, be kind), and
5) Very, very few people at the table who are at all confident about their Omaha game.
Seriously, I'm having a hard time filling the room for this?