Part 10 – June 1st, 2019 through June 15th, 2019

Originally posted: June 5th, 2019

Omaha Poker Strategy

When I checked the content schedule to find our next outing was down the gold paved road of Omaha, my heart leapt for the fortuitous coincidence of it all. Just as we follow that winding yellowbrickroad to June’s $100K Omaha fest, what could be more useful to our delightful Omaholics and would-be ordained Omaha Omukama than an eyeful of helpful hints, tricksy tips and useful snippets to get you boosted clear of the fence and bounding towards the loot. That’s 30 days to transform our first-time contingent from ginger toe-dippers to grizzled veterans with more cunning than a velociraptor in a three-piece suit.

Without further ado, a brief introduction to poker’s long-maligned and less-loved second cousin. To its fans, Omaha represents ruleset perfection, challenge and a touch of the underground, akin to being the only friend in a group who prefers Anaal Natrakh to Kodaline. ‘Oh you guys play Hold’em, eh? That old thing!’

Omaha is like vinyl records, to Hold’em’s brand packaging and mainstream popularity. It’s also considered the harder game. The chances of creating a winning hand are higher with four hole cards, which can make a transition from Hold’em to Omaha tables more challenging, especially pre-flop.

Here at GGPoker, we cater to all-comers. Learn these strategies by rote and gear up for next month’s showdown.

Long-time hold’em players will note some key differences in strategy, to start:

1. Respect big raises – at PLO, bluffing is less likely. Large raising typically indicates a strong hand

2. Keeping tabs – this is where your player notes come in really handy; play the players, who’s betting, who’s folding, who plays inferior hands. Doing the above will help offset point number 1

3. Patience at the gate – take time to learn which starting hand selections are worth playing, save yourself learning a harsher lesson later in the game; it’s not every four cards that are worth playing

4. Like a life drawing class with a broken pencil, you gotta draw to the nuts, although there are select scenarios where you can play a weak draw aggressively

5. This isn’t hold’em. Just to reiterate. Both card games, both provided by nearly all poker rooms and both popular, but the rules are different and gameplay reflects this. If you’re eager to take the plunge, ensure you’ve taken a practice with your floaties on first, otherwise the PLO sharks will eat you and it’ll be up to us poor GGPoker agents to sweep your bones from the deluge with a net when they pass, and we’ll say ‘Another poor Hold’em player from upstream, may he rest in pieces.’

6. With less bluffing, larger hands in play and generally a stronger pool of knowledgeable players, PLO requires a heftier bankroll than say, regular cash games

7. A keen positional understanding is required. You must recognize and know how to correctly utilize the nuts for maximum value

8. In omaha, your max raise cannot exceed the pot, meaning later positions yield opportunities for higher raising.

Starting hands in PLO

I love the phrase starting hands. It makes me think of old pugilistic manuals breaking down the exact angle a punch needs to clean a chin out. Chapter 1. Starting Hands. Chapter 2. Headbutts and Crotchruiners. Chapter 3. Biting Techniques, and so on – I’ve had my fun.

Starting hands are as important, if not more, than in regular hold’em play. Skilled PLO players will test a wide range of hands. Start out exclusively playing stronger, easier hands. Double-suited hands are strong to start, giving you a chance to flop two different flush draws. Double-suited run-down holdings are also highly playable.


Highs are high. Lows are low. Water wet. When the PLO going is good, it’s milkshakes and rocketcars, but the flipside is also true. It doesn’t rain, it pours. PLO is fast, skillful and the pots increase quickly along with the action as the game continues. Point 9 above is important to remember when managing your bankroll. Although you cannot raise higher than the pot amount, later betting rounds and later positions will yield much higher rewards as the pot grows. In this regard, Omaha rewards the patient, knowledgeable player. Often newly-arriving Hold’em players cash decently with beginner’s luck as the seemingly-random nature of their play confuses reg players, dissuading their daring before they figure out there’s no method behind the madness. The same does not apply in Omaha. Often, new Omaha players will have a difficult task adjusting to the slower measure and keener strategies involved, but as with all things in life, the rewards and enjoyment grow with time and study. In summation, Omaha is best suited to a level-headed player with enough mental fortitude to cope with downswings, and a large enough bankroll to take a bruising and survive reascension.


I’d advise GGPoker players to beware anything that came from Lorne Malvo’s mouth first, aces included.

Don’t overvalue your aces. Yes, we know, they’re the best thing since sliced bread at Hold’em tables, and they wouldn’t have written the song if they weren’t worth playing. As a result, thanks Motorhead, many novice Omaha players find this transitional aspect difficult, but I’m guaranteeing you it won’t be more difficult than successfully playing aces in PLO. Aces in hold’em is like the BFG in Doom, there’s little room for ambiguity or tragedy on the flop. In PLO, more hole cards mean higher chances of flushes and straights, thus aces need a ballast of strong cards to survive.


Like a sequel to John Carter Man on Mars, it’s a post-flop sorta show. The range of possible strong hands, combined with a pot-limit structure, means the pre-flop bets pale in comparison to their chunkier, steroid-bulked cousins on the river, which feeds nicely back into my prior statement that the patient and cunning are rewarded first and foremost, an enticing suggestion for some. I think Nomeansno said it best; see you in the river.


Like the large-bottomed man says to his compromised deck chair, you have to be prepared to fold. For the inquisitive students of the game, folding a lot to start will come naturally as you adapt to the new pace and tone of the game, making as many reads as you can to begin, learning and mimicking which hands stronger players make to success, but those daring among us, who never dipped a toe before their head went under, it can be hard to hang back. If you play a lot of hands on Hold’em, and you’ll find many cash players do, you’ll bite your lip and hover over the mouse anytime a halfway decent hand comes up, but send those aces to the cleaners, this isn’t a license to print money, it’s a license to visit the factory where they print the money for a week and watch the experts add their flourishes.

That’s all folks

And what a merry melody it was. I hope you all enjoyed reading through my Omaha strategy guide. Take these lessons to the tables and see how you go, hopefully to the tune of $100K across June. I’ve said numerous times that Omaha tables are inhabited by regs and life-long Omaha players, it’s greatest adherents and propagators, looking at you J-grams, but that doesn’t mean it takes a lifetime to get there. Pay close attention to the strategies and the cards in play, hold your fire pre-flop and before you can say HOLE CARDS, you’ll be prattling on and scoffing at your luddite mates still working off two.

Best of luck during the Omaha fest season. Let us know how ya go on Twitter, we’ll gladly retweet any of your brilliant successes as we approach the high-summer months and the tandem burning of wicker men on the many hallowed greenacres of our verdant island.

Happy trails,

Mike at GGPoker

Originally posted: June 12th, 2019

What are the Single Biggest Poker Winnings Ever?

Hello everyone.

Back from the brink with another eye-beer for you to down, then shake your head and shout ‘God, these are good.’

This week, we’re talking winning. Charlie Sheen style. Tiger blood. The warrior’s prize. Victory is glory is victory is glory.

Online searches yield numerous results for the single biggest poker win ever. If you want just the high-level data with graphs, bells and stats, google is your friend, but you’re in Miketown now going down and dirty into the biggest tournament wins in poker history.

You can play for rent. You can play for love. You can play to wile away the shadowed hours and the horned things which form and strengthen in gloom. Mostly though, you play to win. Whatever your initial intentions, money is the main goal. If not riches, why not play snap instead?

Edgar Allen Poe wrote of an old knight, Gaily Bedight, greying on his quest to find El Dorado, the legendary Aztec city of gold rising like steel fire from the jungle mists. In microcosm, the knight’s plight is the same as the poker player’s. All the way he skips with a whistle, until one day, feeling old and tired, he slumps forward on his horse, realizing his energy is lost, and no matter how his heart did thumb its urgency against the walls of his chest, like a wardrum played in the cave mouth, if El Dorado was to appear across the next rise, he could not summon the vigour to sprint.

What can all this mean, Mike? Do I really have to know Edgar Allen Poe to understand poker? No, not really, but it can’t help. The point I’m making is that everyone wants to be the winner in the end, whether you’re appearing humble for the sake of others or genuinely low on ambition, the gold is still somewhere in your mind, a glinting nugget whose shimmer keeps your sails full, even when the lungs of the earth empty.

You can spend your whole life in pursuit of a goal and never reach it, and like old Gaily Bedight you wake up one morning and realize it’s another dog’s day.

We can’t all win the big ones all the time. That’s the facts. If everyone had El Dorado, it wouldn’t be special. In the world of golden houses and multivallate earthworks like dryad kingdoms, the king’s coin goes far as the wingless bird. But some people, knights perhaps or unlikely daring pageboys, summit that mountain, slay the dragon and pocket the gold, while we’re left reeling and wondering what we’d spend that share on.

There’s levels to prizes. Winning ten quid from each of your mates, while not particularly equitable, is unmatched in good feeling. Perhaps your ambition grows with victory. Why not 100, why not 1000? Why only people you know? Surely there’s other like-minded players out there willing to donate their bankroll to your will, right? Damn right there is, and when you finally find them and reach the top-tier of winning, the zeros start to arrive like premature party guests.

Let’s into the meat of this thing and find out what are the single biggest poker winnings ever.

5. World Series 2014 Main Event

This auspicious game began July 4, in the wake of Bastille day, the air presumably humming with latent possibility. While the 2006 Main Event boasts the accolade of largest tournament in poker history, the 2014 event saw nine players returning in November to determine a winner. Beating 6,683 entrants for the luxury, Martin Jacobson from the land of flaxen-haired giants took the $62.8 million prize, plus $10M and a bracelet a thrift shop would gladly pay a dime for. All in all almost $80 million total winnings, not a bad start from the year that brought us Megan Traynor, Atlas Shrugged Part III and McGregor manbuns.

4. World Series 2006 Main Event

Aforementioned, the largest tournament in poker history. $82,512,162 on the line – one hot tamale. Jamie Gold made good on his name and put his Lannister similarities to good use. I don’t know if hands of gold are always cold, but I’d rather that than a hand of cold longing for gold. Gold himself won $12 million at the 2006 ME, enjoying a substantial chip lead from Day 4 onward.

3. 2014 Big One for One Drop

Big One for One Drop is not a Lithuanian techno festival as the name implies, but a $1 million buy-in event held every second year as part of the World Series, unmatched by any other tournament in entries and payouts, drawing the sharkiest sharks from this pool of Great Whites. It will come as no surprise that the top 3 largest single wins in poker history all happened at the Big One, how apt.

2014 was a big year for the WSOP. $65.8 for Jacobson, $15.3 million for Dan Colman, winner of the Big One, triumphing over 42 game stalwarts like Negreanu to the finish.

2. 2018 Big one for One Drop

World Series 2018 brought the excitement like never before as Fedor Holtz lost to Justin Bonomo heads up, snatching a whopping $10 million first prize (lower than our current GGS2 guarantee, wink wink) which sent Bonomo like a broken rocket fizzing uncontrollably toward the all-time money list, sitting like a dragon atop $43 million in live career earnings.

1. Big One for One Drop

48 entries, $46 million in the prize pool. Have mercy. Antonio Esfandiari took home, presumably by wagon train, an eye-watering $18.35 million dollars, the largest single poker tournament payout in the history of the game. That’s right, from cowboys betting their shoes for the next drink, to the mafioso days of early Vegas, right through to 2018, these pots are getting bigger.

Auspicious omens for those eager to attend 2019’s festivities. Who knows, maybe you’ll be on next year’s list?

Well, I hope you’re as jealous as I am. Back to my cupboard for another week.

Until the next time,

Mike at GGPoker