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Run it Twice -- Brian Rast

Tsarrast Talks Us Through a Pot-Limit Omaha Hand


In this new series, Card Player sits down with high stakes pros to take a second look at a particular cash-game hand.

Brian RastBrian "tsarrast" Rast is a professional cash-game player who makes most of his money crushing high-stakes no-limit hold'em and pot-limit Omaha (PLO) games online. Lately, Rast has been making big money in the $500-$1,000 mixed half pot-limit Omaha, half pot-limit hold'em games on Full Tilt.

Rast took time out to sit down with Card Player to talk about an interesting pot-limit Omaha hand he played while at a $200-$400 six-max table.

The Game

Date: Feb. 3, 2009
Type: Cash game
Game: Pot-limit Omaha
Blinds: $200-$400

The Lineup

Seat 1: trex313 ($44,819)
Seat 2: ahtata ($16,599)
Seat 3: Rabbit_hunterSA ($15,179.50)
Seat 4: tsarrast ($32,324) -- Button
Seat 5: regista8 ($7,600) -- Small blind
Seat 6: The_Houdini ($14,306.50) -- Big blind

Run it Twice -- Review of the Hand

Preflop Action: ahtata limps in, and Rabbit_HunterSA raises to $1,800. tsarrast calls on the button with 9 8 7 5. Action folds to ahtata, who also makes the call.

Kristy Arnett: What goes into your decision about how to play a hand like this to a raise preflop?

Brian "tsarrast"
Rast: So, I’m on the button, which is the best place to be in poker. A player limps, and the cutoff raises. I’m definitely playing this hand. The only question is whether I reraise him or just call. My hand just has so much equity, and I’m just never folding this hand in PLO for one raise when I’m in position. Because of the stack sizes and my position, I think just calling preflop is best here. Maybe if we were really deep I could reraise, and if he four-bet me, I could just call and we’d have a lot of money in the pot. But if I three-bet him here to like $5,000, he could just shove, in which case, if he has a big hand like aces, kings, or A-K, I’m essentially getting it all in preflop at 40 percent equity, whereas if I call right here, one or two other people might call. I’ll have position, and my hand plays well on a lot of flops. So, just calling preflop with our stacks is best, for sure.

Flop Action: The flop comes 10 6 4. ahtata checks, and Rabbit_hunterSA bets $4,400. tsarrast and ahtata both call. The pot is now $19,200.

KA: You flop a big draw, one with which you are probably willing to go broke. What goes into your decision on whether to call or raise Rabbit_hunterSA's bet?

BR: Well, I need any 9, 8, 7, 5, or 3 to give me a straight. It’s a five-card wrap, so a lot of my outs are the cards I have, but this is one of the better wraps in PLO, because I have 16 outs to straight, plus a backdoor-flush draw. Given the equity that I have, when he bets, I am either calling or raising, like you said. I really thought that if I called here, it would encourage the other player to call, in which case, I would be getting 2-1 on the money I put in the pot on the flop instead of just 1-1, so I just called.

Turn Action: The turn is the 10. The board reads 10 6 4 10. ahtata checks, and Rabbit_hunterSA goes all in for $8,979.50. tsarrast calls, and ahtata folds. The pot is now $37,159.

KA: You miss on the turn, and the board pairs. What went into your decision to continue the hand?

BR: The turn is the worst card in the deck, because now it’s possible that I’m drawing dead. After ahtata checked, Rabbit_hunterSA shoved, which was for less than half the pot. I have to worry about either of the players having a full house. I didn’t think ahtata had a had a full house with fours, sixes, or 10-6, because I kind feel like with those hands, he would have check-raised on the flop. He just doesn’t have a full house very often here. Then the question was does Rabbit_hunterSA have a full house. He’d been playing pretty solid, and he raised ahtata’s limp. ahtata had been limping a lot, so Rabbit_hunterSA doesn’t have to have a really big hand. But, honestly, with a raise in the cutoff with a limper, I thought he had a good hand. I really can’t expect him to have pocket fours or pocket sixes, because that’s just not the type of hand that you raise behind a limper unless it is A-A-4-4, which is a very specific hand. There are just not that many hands in his range that include pocket fours or pocket sixes. He could have a 10, but again, even if he has a 10, he probably doesn’t have a full house already. So, getting three-to-one on my money when I don’t think anyone has a full house, my turn equity is 40 percent if he does have a 10. Even if he is killing one of my straight outs with 10-9 in his hand, my equity is still going to be like 35 or 33 percent. So, getting 3-1 to call, my equity only needs to be like 25 percent, so it’s a +EV [positive expected value] call, making some assumptions about the likelihood one of them had a boat. I decided to call. I was right, and actually, he did have a 10, but not a full house and with none of my straight outs.

KA: How would things change if he did have some of your straight outs?

RB: For him to have two of my straight outs, he has to have like J-10-9-8, which he could have, and he would probably raise a limp with that, but again, this is a very specific hand. It’s that or 10-9-8-7 or A-A-6-6. These are hands that he could have, but he could also have any aces or kings hand that doesn’t have a 10, and since he didn’t have much money left, he could just be shoving, hoping that no one else had a 10. The thing is, there are way more hands in his range that I’m +EV against to call than hands I’m drawing dead or -EV against. Most of poker is trying to evaluate the situation, and in a case like this, the decision was based on pure pot odds on my call against the hands that are likely in his range. I really feel that there are way more hands that I’m 40 percent against than drawing dead against or getting 20 percent when I only need 25 percent to make it a profitable call.

River Action: The river is the 9. The board reads 10 6 4 10 9. tsarrast shows 8 5 9 7 and wins with a 10-high straight. Rabbit_hunterSA shows K J 10 2. tsarrast wins the pot of $37,157.

Tags: pot limit omaha,   stack sizes,   cash game,   blind run,   game player,   card player,   seat 6,   game game,   high stakes,   houdini,   plo,   arnett,   quot,   tsarrast,   blinds,   rabbit,   poker,   games,   money


almost 12 years ago

wow I actually read a line I might go with... Time to change gears...