Texas Holdem Poker has evolved over the last few years. Players from all corners of the globe are discussing hands, reviewing strategies and there are a plethora of strategy books, and training websites that give players the opportunity to become very proficient at the game. In 2003 Chris Moneymaker took a $40 buy-in and turned it into $2.5 million in the World Series of Poker. The general public suddenly realised that unlike golf, snooker or soccer they could legitimately beat the pros straight away. Poker as a career was suddenly very accessible. The golden age of poker began Cmd368.
Unfortunately the credit crunch and global economic downturn has reduced the amount of bad players that play in the poker rooms. Party Poker was known as a money tree from 2004 – 2007 with many players playing simply for the fun of taking part, and for the more rounded poker player there was easy money to be made. As more and more training sites, e-books, strategy books hit the market, it seems even the most average player understands things like position, the correct amount to bet, and pre flop hand selection. It is increasingly difficult to find a good game especially at the lower stakes of No-Limit Holdem where more and more players are grinding out a living on multiple tables making it harder to exploit the casual players. There are just not as many weak players, or fish as we know them. The overall standard is higher than it was in previous years.
The best way to demonstrate this to yourself is to either play in, or rail the HORSE events online. You will notice that the Holdem level is played as you would expect, fairly solidly with some skill. But when the Omaha Hi-Lo, Razz, Stud and Omaha 8 or better is played then the average skill level drops horrifically. If you can become proficient at these games then you hold a huge advantage in the tournaments, and in the separate disciplines cash games. Not many people bother learning the nuances of the other games. Pot-Limit Omaha (PLO) for example is the same as Pot-Limit Holdem but with four hole cards rather than two. Holdem players do not appreciate that normally a massive hand wins the pot most of the time in PLO and usually overvalue their hands. Playing in, and learning from the HORSE tournaments will ensure that you learn about all the games, then you can take that knowledge into the specific games cash tables and profit from them.
Why HORSE you ask? If you can survive five levels you will get to play each of the games, and whilst one player may be a killer at Limit, they will probably be weaker in at least two of the other games. Especially at the lower limits there are not many rounded HORSE players. This makes the tournaments a good place to play, either from a profit or learning perspective.
Holdem is by no means a solved game, but it is certainly very easy to pick up a lot of the correct things to do from forums and television. This makes the overall standard of the game better. There are many players now moving to PLO, with some professionals going on the record saying that this game is where Holdem was five years ago. If that is the case then get ahead of the masses and learn about all the games. For the Holdem enthusiast these games are still worth playing as they focus on different aspects of the game. For example in Stud you must consider the cards showing from the other players hands and work out your odds to improve based on this. In Holdem you simply count the remaining cards, but in Stud you can actually see if any players hold them in their up cards and can therefore make a better math decisions on how to proceed in the hand. Omaha gives you vital knowledge on not over valuing weak hands. Each game has a benefit to your poker game.
By learning about another game you will get a better chance to profit as you will be one of the experts at the table rather than just another decent Holdem player. I look forward to seeing you on the HORSE tables and only have myself to blame when a bunch of new HORSE players come along and start beating me.