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Excalibur Debuts Pot-Limit Omaha Poker

Lyle Berman Kicks Off the New Game


Players enjoy the rare chance to play PLO at small stakes.Last summer, Lyle Berman was playing against some of the best pros in the world at the $50,000-to-enter H.O.R.S.E. final table. Last week, he was playing the $0.50-$1 pot-limit Omaha (PLO) cash game at the Excalibur.

Berman, the chairman of the board of the World Poker Tour, played at the low-stakes cash game on Thursday night in what was considered the kickoff event for low-limit PLO in Las Vegas. He is also the chairman of the board of PokerTek, the company that makes the automated PokerPro tables currently running at Excalibur Hotel and Casino.

“The goal is to get pot-limit Omaha more popular at the lower limit levels,” said Berman.

Although PLO had been experimented with on the tables prior to last week, Thursday was the ceremonial premiere.

“This may not look like much,” said Jeff Hwang, Card Player columnist and the author of Pot Limit Omaha Poker, “but in a year or so, people are going to look back at this as a great moment.”

The reason why PLO enthusiasts are so excited about the Excalibur experiment is because the automated tables provide players the opportunity to play the game live at a lower limit than ever before.

Excalibur hosts the PokerPro tables.Hwang explained that a $1-$2 PLO game could play like a $2-$5 no-limit hold’em game, so that’s why it is so crucial to have this $0.50-$1 game so that new players could try out the game without risking several hundreds of dollars. The buy-in for the Excalibur PLO game is $100 minimum and $200 maximum, and it will be played every Thursday night, starting at 8 p.m.

There were two PLO tables in action for Thursday’s kickoff. The Excalibur also features a $0.50-$1 no-limit hold’em game, the only place in Las Vegas where players can play no-limit with such small blinds. Although the room is still in its beta-test phase, poker room manager Ed Peterson told Card Player earlier this month that he expects the automated tables at Excalibur to stay.

“I think there’s a big future for automated tables in Las Vegas,” said Berman, who has three World Series of Poker bracelets. “We’re looking at doing things at our tables that can’t be done at live tables.”

Berman said the company is contemplating offering variances of eight-or-better games, where instead of splitting the pot 50/50, the high hand receives a larger percentage. They are also experimenting with allowing players to make side bets on the action, like for what cards will come out on the flop. Currently, the tables have a “rabbit hunt” feature with which a player can pay a small fee to see what card would’ve come out on the river had the hand been played to the end.

“I love these automated tables because there’s no conflict,” said Berman. “There are no misdeals. No one can act out of turn. No one can make a mistake.”

Across the country on Thursday, the Trump Plaza was simultaneously launching its PLO game on its PokerPro tables in Atlantic City. According to a representative from PokerTek, due to player interest, the casino also featured a PLO game on Saturday, which ran for about 10 hours.



over 12 years ago