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House of Cards
by Ashley Adams

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PLO Junkie

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

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 always get a slight buzz when I utter the words, "PLO." I like saying it out loud. "Pee ...El ... Ohhhhh." My mouth automatically salivates as the letters roll off my tongue. I beseech any action. No-limit hold'em doesn't satisfy me anymore. I require something stronger.

My senses need a little more excitement than two cards. I have played so many hands of hold'em that I built up a tolerance and I 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, my gambling demons are quelled as I sink down into a grandiose feeling of warmth. Relaxation. Pleasure. Satisfaction. It is tough to find a live PLO game, especially if you don't live in Europe, parts of the South, or in Las Vegas. However, PLO games are available online 24 hours a day. That's where I get my fix.

I played PLO the other afternoon against several Scandinavian players. The flop was Kd-10h-8s in a fourway pot. 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 of a rush when you're ahead in a hand and succumb to the river suckout.

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 check-called my potsized bet. The Qc fell on the turn. I felt much better with top set against whatever draws or two pairs were out there. Again, both players check-called my pot-sized bet. The river was the Qs. Both players checked, I bet half of the pot. One player called and the other check-raised all in. I only called; I didn't raise. I hoped to induce the other player to call too, which he did. My runner-runner quads held up against a flush and a full house and I dragged a monster pot.

PLO is an action game, but it can also wipe out your bankroll. Moderation is the key to a fulfilling life; however, discovering the perfect dosage is difficult for people with addictive personalities, which is why I'm afraid that I'm turning into a PLO junkie!

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