Thursday, April 24, 2008


By Pauly
Hollyweird, CA

I have been dabbling in PLO.

That sounds very edgy like on the borderline of taboo, sort of like in your 20s when you dabbled in cocaine on the weekends or when your best buddy tells you that he and his wife have been dabbling in the local swinger's scene. By those examples, dabbling means putting your nose or penis in places you don't usually. Perhaps dabbling is a poor choice of words.

I have been feeding my inner action junkie with PLO cash games.

That little monster has an insatiable appetite. The money doesn't matter to me. Neither does the stakes. I crave the inundation of the gambler's high that overcomes my senses when I shove all in with a monster draw, especially when I get called in a three-way pot and I find myself way, way, way behind. Then there's the invigorating jolt of anticipation as the the river card appears and then you magically spike your draw on the river.

You can never come that as close to an orgasm without jizzing all over yourself. Well, maybe at the Rhino.

It's like the millisecond before Kirk Gibson tagged a back-door slider on a 3-2 count against Dennis Eckersley in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series.

Or like that second before Larry Johnson hit that infamous four-point play in Game 3 of the 1999 NBA Eastern Conference Finals.

As Kirk Gibson said, "That's the great thing about the game. People think they got ya and it's so nice to get them and snatch it away at the end."

I've gone on week-long benders seeking out the highs that I can get from sitting at a PLO table. I always get a slight buzz when I utter the words... PLO. I like saying it out loud.

"Pee. El. Ohhhhh."

The letters roll off my tongue and my mouth automatically salivates. I beseech any action. NL Hold'em doesn't do it for me anymore. I don't get off like I used to. I require something stronger. It's like giving an alkie a sip of Lite beer when he has Johnny Walker raging through his bloodstream. My senses need a little more excitement than two cards. I have played so many hands of poker that I built up a tolerance and I really need a game with juiced action to get any semblance of a rush.

PLO has four cards. Double the dosage. Double the rush.

When I sit down at a PLO table, the inner gambling demons are washed away and I sink down into a grandiose feeling of warmth. Relaxtion. Pleasure. Satisfaction.

I won a glorious hand one afternoon. It was a four-way pot. The flop was Kd-10h-8s. I held Ad-Kh-7h-5d and fired out at that scary flop. I got two callers. The turn was the 6d. I redrew to an open-ended straight draw and a nut flush draw. I bet the pot. One player called. Another potted. I took all the time in the time bank as I let the rush build up before I re-potted all in. Both players called. I took a deep breath before the Qd fell on the river. For a couple of seconds I floated a few inches off the ground.

And the thing is, I also take a fair share of brutal beats in PLO and there's nothing I can do about it. You get just as much as a rush when you're ahead in a hand and succumb to the river suckout.

I held Qh-Jd-Jc-9c and flopped top set. I got it all in against a guy with bottom set. He rivered a one outer. But I got a euphoric buzz the moment before the river card was exposed. What you usually recall are the vexatious feelings of the suckout and forget about the burst of adrenaline that rocketed through your body as soon as you got all your money in ahead.

The most intoxicating hand that I had all week was Qh-Qd-7c-7s. It was three-handed. I raised pre-flop. The flop was 10s-6h-2s. Both players checked-called my pot-sized bet. The Qc fell on the turn. I felt much better with top set against whatever draws or two pairs out there. Both players check-called my pot-sized bet. The river was he Qs. Both players checked, I bet half of the pot. One player called and the other check-raised all in. I just called instead of raising. I was hoping to get the other player to call as well. He did just that. My runner-runner quads held up against a flush and a full house.

Here's the thing... there's a downside to the opiated feelings of PLO. Excess of anything is bad for you and moderation is the key to a fulfilling life. But discovering the perfect dosage is the most difficult part for people with addictive personalities. Too little and you don't get off. Too much? And you end up a whacked out cotton shooter jonesin' every hour of the day.

All I need is a little taste as I do backflips on the fine line between a hobby and an addiction.

Original content written and provided by Pauly from Tao of Poker at All rights reserved. RSS feeds are for non-commercial use only.

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