Randy Ohel Discusses Beginner Mistakes In Triple Draw Lowball
Ohel Earned First World Series of Poker Bracelet This Summer
Four years ago, Coral Springs, Florida native Randy Ohel moved to Las Vegas to chase his dream of becoming a professional poker player. Since his initial jump into live play, the University of Florida graduate has moved up in stakes, becoming a regular in the $40-$80 mixed games at Bellagio, which includes a rotation of triple draw, Omaha eight-or-better, stud eight-or-better, baduecey and badacey.
Though he considers himself more of a cash game player, the 26-year-old has had some major success in tournaments. In 2009, he won a $1,000 no-limit hold’em event at the L.A. Poker Classic. In 2010, he took down the Sunday $750,000 Guarantee on Full Tilt Poker for $132,787, his first six-figure score.
Most recently, he earned his first World Series of Poker gold bracelet by winning the $2,500 2-7 triple draw lowball event at the Rio for $145,247.
Card Player caught up with Ohel to discuss some of the nuances of the game.
Julio Rodriguez: Can you talk a little bit about the mistakes you see from beginning triple draw players?
Randy Ohel: The number one most common mistake I see out of beginners is true of pretty much any variation of poker, and that’s playing too many hands. In triple draw, that’s a result of not really understanding proper starting hand strategy. Players may look down at two decent low cards to start with and not even take into account their position or the action around the table from their opponents.
The second biggest mistake I see is players that pat too early with hands that are a bit too rough. Someone may be dealt something like 9-7-5-3-2 and pat on the first draw. That’s a completely standard play in single draw lowball, but in triple draw, you really should be trying to draw to that seven.
The third mistake I see is players being way too polarized on the river where their bluffs are out of proportion in relation to their value bets. These players are very easy to play against, because they basically tell you what they’re holding with each bet.
JR: Some players like to snow while playing lowball, meaning they pat with hands that can’t possibly win a showdown in an effort to appear stronger while bluffing. Do you see a lot of that in triple draw lowball?
RO: Snowing occurs more in no-limit lowball, just because it’s easier to get away with snowing on only one draw. That being said, there is enough of it going on in triple draw to keep people guessing and paying off bets with mediocre hands.
If you do decide to snow, you can’t just pick a random time to try it. Your hand really needs to tell you the right time to make that play. For instance, if you are dealt a number of small paired cards, that may be a good time to snow, since it will be more difficult for your opponent to draw to a good hand. Or, let’s say you raise in late position with a hand like 7-5-4-x-x and get dealt straightening cards, like a 6. Depending on the action, you could start to snow in that situation as well.
A good rule of thumb is that you don’t want to waste a premium draw by snowing. You need to be flexible based on the cards you may pick up, but you don’t go into a hand planning to snow. It just won’t work often enough to be profitable.
JR: How does triple draw differ in a tournament format from the usual cash game?
RO: Basic tournament strategy is always going to be applicable, regardless of the game, so your basically trying to keep the pot size smaller, and there’s more of an emphasis on winning the pot right away. Sometimes, you are making plays that have a worse EV, trying to maximize your chances at winning the pot. Those considerations really shouldn’t exist in cash games, where you are always making the optimal EV play.
For complete coverage of the summer poker festival, check out our WSOP landing page.
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