Bluechip's avatar


144 points

:-) I assume Yungda Liu meant 5-10$ buy-in, not 5-10$ blinds ? Playing 1k stacks for fun at 16 seems cool by the way. GL mate Yungda Liu

March 13, 2019 | 9:15 a.m.

Hey Henry Lister great video!

1- At 7:12 top left table as CO PFR vs BB you check back 76hh on 4cJh8c. We probably don’t have much equity and have decent outs and backdoors. Why not Cbet 1/3 pot with a GD and BDFD? Is that because it might be more of a favorable flop for BB’s range, you don’t block clubs or any other reason?

2- At 11:15 top right as UTG PFR vs CO you bluff full pot river with AcKs on Td9c3c JC 2s after a flop xC and a turn xx. What’s the logic behind bluffing 100% and not 130% pot, and in which cases do you overbet ?


Dec. 18, 2018 | 6:30 p.m.

Hey ponyneck, I'm pretty sure the latest price I checked around September 2018 was 19$/month for small stakes. So given there's no more small stakes price, yes, it went from $19/month to 49$/month for small stakes players (like me). There is no mention to "EV" or to another product in my comment, you wrote that. Again, I won't comment further here, just correcting what was said. GL in your poker journey!

Dec. 15, 2018 | 5:28 p.m.

Well PLO is not my area of expertise, and neither in NLH as it is not my job. However through my job experience, seeing sentences starting with « if you are serious about X then you should do Y » usually sounds like ads, and from past comments I guess you represent this product, which is fine but should be mentioned. Again, the tool is really good but I still disagree with the price. What needs to be understood as well is that when you increase the price of a service without any consequent change to it, or with small changes just designed to justify price increase and a higher revenue per customer, it creates suspicion from you customers, starting to think like you’re not acting in their best interest. I stated my points and will not contribute further to this post :) GL with PLOMatrix

Dec. 13, 2018 | 8:18 p.m.


As I said here in the post from the author of the PLO Matrix, the price surprisingly went from 20$/month for small stakes to now 49$/month since their Upswing integration. This is unjustified (other than the fact that now upswing take a cut on it for integration), I agree as well on the high price for small and micro players.

Eventually more solutions like this will come in the future, as it has been done with Monkersolver PLO solvers and designed with a simple and clever 2-card matrix system.

Dec. 13, 2018 | 6:27 a.m.

I would tend to agree with you since I tried it as well and it is useful for learning good preflop fundamentals.

However I'm a bit surprised about the recent price increase.

It used to be 19$ / month for microstakes (which is fine for microstakes / small stakes players) and a higher price for mid/high stakes, and recently jumped to 49$/month for any stakes, following their partnership with Upswing.

I'm a bit shocked by this new pricing which of course will always be justifiable by "you get to save X buy-ins at this limit" but don't see any reason why it upped so much.

I was a subscriber before at 20$/month but as a small stakes player will not consider it for such a price.

Any other user thoughts?

Dec. 12, 2018 | 4:35 p.m.

Voodoo32 splitpersonality Hey guys! I'm also learning the game and interested in sharing tools and strategies. Do you have any tools or resources in mind other than Leszek Badurowicz that I highly recommend as well? Thanks guys and glad to start the journey with you as well :)

Dec. 12, 2018 | 3:37 p.m.

Hey Phil, thanks so much for helping me out with the review. Again, it's a tremendous boost of motivation for learning and improving.

Here are some notes that you asked for in the video, that will hopefully help understand my thought process.

Again, I'm probably making lots of mistakes in my thought process so I'm opened to all comments! :)

8:30 : KJJ3ss Cbet on 458tt
I Cbet because I felt my hand would be tough to play on most turns, did not know How to proceed facing a turn bet, and used the spade blocker in hand as an excuse to Cbet bluff. I understand that this hand fits more into our check back range as we have decent equity, and not enough blocker value to justify using this hand as a bluff.

13:30 : A634ss in BB folded to a SB raise over limpers.
I folded because of the low cards with the Ace and felt like the components of the hands were too weak being OOP against multiple limpers.

20:30 : AKJ8ss on 478r
I don’t actually know why I decided to Cbet, perhaps being afraid to face a turn bet OOP on a tough card (5, 6, Q, 9, T) vs an active player.

27:30 : KQ83ds SB 3bet vs BTN
I was disturbed by the specific loose player on my right, overvalued the double suitedness and the 3 main components of my hand (KQ8), and I think I did not want to fold vs such a villain. Perhaps being tired increased my aggression level : I would fold it now, and certainly wouldn’t 3bet it against any other player type.

As said, I don’t really know what I’m doing in terms of Preflop hand process and whether we should fold, call, or 3-bet in various situations. It’s more complicated than playing NLH with A5s or KQs in SB vs BTN for example, where decisions are more clear.

29:50 : AKT7ss completed in the BB
I’ve only completed because I felt like the 7 did not connect enough with the hand, it’s single suited and we’re OOP facing multiple very loose players. But again, I don’t know what I’m doing.

My turn bet on 9T8 T doesn’t make much sense, I would check call it right now.

30:30 7753ds HJ 3-bet vsMP
Just me being tired and too agressive, I would fold it right now.

51:10 ATT7dddh folded
You spotted it, the reason I folded was because of the 3 diamonds and the lack of smoothness (a pair and a 7), I did not recognize the value of this hand.

Why I didn’t take notes
Ironically I developed the habit of taking very extensive notes and review almost every showdown.
This habit comes from playing MTTs where HUD stats are less complete since we have fewer hands on Villains, and observation really makes a difference.

On this recording, this was a first time for me Playing PokerStars as I usually play on other sites, which explained the absence of notes.

Since I was really looking for this review, I really did not want to screw up the video and was afraid RIO would tell me my video was « not clean enough » because of HEM notes jumping around here, and wasn’t used in note taking inside PokerStars client. Last but not least, being very tired made me forget essential behavior and observation skills like these, and I tried to focus on playing good with a « live recording effect » knowing I was recording for you (which did not prevent me from making tons of mistakes :).

Creating a good tagging system
The 'Preflop unsure' idea comes from JNandez and I thought it was a really great idea indeed, as preflop ranges are much more complex to visualize in PLO than in NLH.

If you have any other recommandations for creating a good tagging system, would be great!

I'm thinking of :
- Unsure Flop Cbet
- Unsure Turn Cbet
- Unsure play OOP
- Unsure 3bet
- Unsure Isolation
- Unsure stack-off

My color coding system
My coloring system mostly applies to weak / bad players (so following this logic I should tag myself :). It's not always that clear for me how I should tag, since I'm a beginner but overall :

  • Green : very active player over 35 VPIP / 30 PFR (goes along with HEM2 autorate icon)
  • Dark blue : Loose passive / Calling station
  • Light azure blue : Weak player that either folds to agression OOP or usually checks back IP then folds to turn or river bets
  • Violet : Maniac / Very agressive player
  • Brown : Player that calls flops but either folds to a turn or river barrel
  • Orange : Educated player or reg, not necessarily a good one, but educated
  • Red : Good reg, to avoid

Overall, here's what I noticed on my game based on your review :

General Preflop tendency

Overall I have big difficulties evaluating Preflop hand strength and which hands I should flat call, 3-bet or fold.

Why QJ98ss is a flat call BTN vs CO and not a 3bet, or AKT7ss in the SB a raise facing limpers are two examples of mysteries for me.

Since Preflop guidelines are not really existing for PLO, if you have any recommandations for improving my Preflop game I would be very much interested.

About my CBet sizings

It’s changing all the time and you’re right. The reason is very simple : I absolutely don’t know what I’m doing.

I don’t have a clear picture of why and how much I should CBet in different kinds of board.
Again, any guidelines or resources would be really helpful!

Finally, your recommandations that I noted :

  • I should play much much tighter Preflop which will lead to better results, lower variance and a better mindset encouraging me to learn
  • I should bet smaller in general (around 25-33% pot) or pot with a strong hand, and avoid 50% sizings
  • I should recognize hands that go into our checking range since they have decent equity and are in tough spots facing raises
  • I should be careful about bluffing in the wrong spots especially without good blockers. Also, I note that because of the loseness of the games, bluffing might make less sense.
  • I should evaluate hands in terms of equity, nutiness and playability over multiple streets, not only in terms of "immediate flop hand strength"
  • I should recognize more which parts of my range I'm at : check backs, bets / calls, and bet/folds

I hope this enlightens you and I'm glad some members liked the review, I really feel like a very rookie player here so I have a ton to learn from!

Next step in the upcoming week is for me to go over part 1 again and do the exact same more in depth note taking to reply here and bring some light over my play.

Hope it helps Phil Galfond, thanks so much for the help again and I look forward to discussing hands and thoughts here :)


Dec. 11, 2018 | 7:45 p.m.

Ahah, you nailed this one ChipTracker ! More seriously, as Phil said, I have a full full (full)-time job and finally took the time to take extensive notes to share my thought process with Phil Galfond and the community, so it's coming just below ;)

By the way I do a lot of boxing so it takes a lot of punching to knock me down :)

Dec. 11, 2018 | 7:28 p.m.

Hey Phil,

Thank you again so much for this review.

As you said in the intro, I have a full full (...full) time job and don’t have much time for leisure. I see PLO as a long-term investment, starting small, and trying to only play when I’m 100% focused, fresh and with a good mindset, which leaves mainly the weekends.

With all that said, you can fairly well understand that my preflop and postflop skills as regards the game are much lower than a part or full-time player. It takes me a much longer time as well to reach 100k hands, so the long run is much longer for me.

On the upside, every time I play, I keep in mind that my main goal is to make quality decisions in every move I make, and try to review my biggest mistakes after each session. That’s not much, but that’s all I can do for now and it generates pretty decent results for the time I spend on it.

This was one of the points Chris Pimmer talked about in one of his videos, quoting Michael Phelbs advising that “we should emphasize on putting quality over quantity in everything that we do”. Of course, when it comes to any cash game, especially PLO, variance also makes us want to reach the long run and focus as well on quantity.

For the record, and trying a little bit to justify myself, I remember being extremely tired during the session because I wanted to deliver the footage to Phil in time and had the hell of a week. So I basically broke my rule and played during the week after a 13h workday. When I reviewed the video with Phil’s comment, I was shocked by some of the agressive moves I made and totally disagreed with them.

This is interesting because it reallly shows that :
- there’s a difference between our thought process during live action and when we review a session
- there’s a big difference between playing tired (C/D game) and playing fresh (A/A+ game)

I really think your comments helped me tremendously as well, on the sizing, the lines I take, the Preflop choices I make and the overall thought process on the game. PLO is so complex that having such a review from a legendary player is a hell of a help. It gives you perspective, more confidence when the pro agrees with the line, and it gives you the will to understand what you did wrong when the pro disagrees with the line taken.

As regards the table format, I’m playing in France where there are no zoom tables, which has an impact on the way the sessions are played. As it takes longer in between 2 hands, I usually play a bigger amount of tables (closer to 6) which allows me to reach a faster pace while keeping things simple with a tight Preflop approach (which is not really what was seen on this footage for the reasons mentioned :-D).

As regards the review format, I agree with the other RIO members as regards the quality of it, and I think you even commented yourself on the fact that it took you longer than expected to review the first hands. My guess is that because of the format, you focus more on each individual hands and go way more in depth in each hand. In my opinion, this is great!

So again, I want to thank a lot the RIO team, notably Mikey, Nick and Phil for making that review possible, all the RIO members for their high value comments as always, and hope many good things will continue for RIO in the future as I’m 100% confident you guys put a lot of value in your members!

Have a great day guys,


Nov. 12, 2018 | 10:27 a.m.

Blinds: $0.25/$0.50 (5 Players) BB: $58.52
UTG: $53.30
CO: $67.42 (Hero)
BN: $67.07
SB: $14.95
Preflop ($0.75) Hero is CO with J Q K K
UTG folds, Hero raises to $1.75, BN calls $1.75, SB calls $1.50, BB folds
Flop ($5.75) 5 J 9
SB checks, Hero bets $4.31, BN calls $4.31, SB folds
Turn ($14.37) 5 J 9 3
Hero checks, BN bets $9.58, Hero raises to $43.11

Oct. 14, 2018 | 11:05 a.m.

Hand History | Bluechip posted in PLO: PL50 - AA in 3bet pot SBvBTN - Turn play?
Blinds: $0.25/$0.50 (5 Players) UTG: $120.61
CO: $64.31
BN: $72.59
SB: $48.25 (Hero)
BB: $60.29
Preflop ($0.75) Hero is SB with T A 7 A
2 folds, BN raises to $1.50, Hero raises to $5.00, BB folds, BN calls $3.50
Flop ($10.50) 2 4 2
Hero bets $6.25, BN calls $6.25
Turn ($23.00) 2 4 2 K

Sept. 23, 2018 | 9:47 p.m.

Blinds: $0.25/$0.50 (5 Players) BB: $53.00
UTG: $50.00
CO: $50.00 (Hero)
BN: $49.50
SB: $50.00
Preflop ($0.75) Hero is CO with T K Q T
UTG folds, Hero raises to $1.75, BN calls $1.75, SB folds, BB calls $1.25
Flop ($5.50) 2 5 J
BB checks, Hero checks, BN bets $4.13, BB calls $4.13, Hero calls $4.13
Turn ($17.89) 2 5 J 9
BB checks, Hero checks, BN bets $16.42, BB folds, Hero

Sept. 22, 2018 | 1:04 p.m.


I think this format is great primarily because it is mobile friendly. I am willing to bet that many RIO subscribers watch videos on the go, and having clean action on a smartphone is excellent, especially in combination with the RIO offline app for subway during work commutes!

So congratulations and if it could be encouraged amongst RIO pros to have most play and explains on a « one table at a time » format (of course while playing multiple tables and switching), it would be so much easier to read, even on a big screen, and to focus on the main table!


Always excellent to see you play, there’s so much to learn.


Sept. 9, 2018 | 2:14 p.m.

Hey Jason,

Thanks a lot for sharing such valuable advice, and thanks as well to Brian, Seth, Mikey, everyone for contributing with such valuable insights as well.

I’ll start with disagreeing with you Jason on the start of your video when you say it’s not a useful video for recreational players, mainly because I find it cool to disagree with a poker pro on Runitonce. :-D

Joke aside, I’m a recreational player with a full-time job, treating MTTs as a passion, really working on the game whenever I have 10mn of time, reviewing my game with PEquilab, HRC, and PIO very soon.

Love and Balance are critical I would say in anything we do, and Eric Sidel’s example is really interesting. I heard once a poker pro saying that whenever he won a significant tournament, he’d use some of the money to buy himself a nice trip on a beach somewhere around the world. It was his reward to himself and a perfect way to reset, focus on the time of now, and planning the future. It was like the price of the plane+hotel to the beach was included as a package and I found it really nice to see things that way.

I often find myself struggling with “how I should use my time”, and MTTs and live tournaments being a real passion, I’m constantly struggling between how and if it is worth it working on it even though I’m not a full-time pro, compared to using it to spend time with my life partner and close ones, or work on developing my business.

At the end of the day, it’s all about balance and I think we should plan the big picture (year, month, weeks, days), and allow time slots for doing thing that we “feel like doing” as you said so well, because there’s no secret that it’s the only way to get the best results.

As regards balance, here is how I approach it between work/passion/close ones. Some of these insights come from books I've read, other come from personal experience.

1. Finding a professional activity you love and spending most of your time developing it with absolute passion. Having dedicated hours written down for it, and commiting 100% on working during your time with love and energy. Finding a personal mission and setting up goals that go beyond money are great, because it gives us a purpose : while chasing a goal like “I’m going to make 1,5M$ this year" doesn’t necessarily make you happier, perhaps a goal like “Im going to buy a 200 sqm house to live with my family in 2021” or “I’m going to create a fund for helping homeless people in my country in 2020, and for that I need 1M$” are goals tied to a personal mission. That goes with visualisation, it is not money just for money, and I find it gives us a purpose.

2. Finding a passion, aligning it with a mission that you write down, and structuring your leisure time to develop it. What's funny is we tend to structure our working time with goals, tasks and deadlines, but we tend to let our leisure time disorganised like it would stress us if it was organised. I believe it is a good thing to use your leisure time (without becoming a control freak about every minute of your leisure time, which would lead to burn out), by structuring it a little bit to achieve passions. This is what makes us feel better and satisfied, because we have a sense of accomplishment.

To me, my mission is to get better at MTTs, perhaps become one of the most successful non-pro tournament player, and my dream is to win the Main Event, regardless how crazy it is. I know it can’t be a goal, because it is partly luck-based and therefore partly out of my hands, many coaches told me that. But goals and dreams have to be crazy, otherwise they don't wake you up in the morning. Why would you get up and work for an average goal? This actually comes from the 10X rule book, which I highly recommend.

This mission and this dream keeps me moving everyday. When I review hands on HEM2, I'm visualizing 3betting A5s at the Main event from the CO vs an agressive MP opener and playing him in position. This is the reason why I am reviewing hands sitting down on a computer. This is “the biggest thing I could dream of happening”, because dreams are importants to get us moving. Assign dreams a deadline and a plan, it becomes a goal. So perhaps my goal is to become the best non-professional live tournament poker player in the next 10 years, my dream is to win the Main Event, and both are essential to me to get me moving.

A passion could be fishing, helping poor kids or homeless people, teaching kids from difficult neighborhoods to read, or traveling around the world to discover people and cultures. It’s completely personal, this doesn't have to be "useful" in some way, and no one has to judge it.

3. Spending a decent amount of leisure time with your life partner, family, close friends and keeping them happy. They are the ones that keep you sane. Right now, I'm writing from my parent's home, eventhough I have a home myself, because I felt like I hadn't connected with them in a while. Keeping your close ones happy makes you feel happy and truly gives you a life purpose as soon as your figure out how your presence helps people (to smile, laugh, be creative, be stronger, be dreamers, be joyful).

From my personal example, I found that I’ve always made my close friends and family laugh since I was a kid, because I’ve always loved to reflect on how life is, what the current news are, how people behave, and gently make fun of it. Seeing people laugh, smile and enjoy life while I’m around is the biggest gift life gives me, and it gives me a purpose.

4. Treating your body and your mind like your own child.
Whenever we are experiencing significant levels of stress, the temptation is great to go "outside" (which is actually going "inside" clubs and bars, not outside) and try to release our stress by drinking, buying expensive bottles, staying until 5am, and waking up late to eat bad food. Going the other way around and developing an exercising habit is a great way of getting mentally stronger, with a personal coach if you can afford it, because a personal coach will push you further and will not tolerate excuses.

I found out that establishing an exercising habit has positive effects on the amount and quality of meals I take, the amount of alcohol I drink, and on my overall mindset. It makes you more positive, your body is more fit, you like yourself, and your partner likes yourself.

Establishing an exercising habit for the mind as well is key. There are many meditation techniques, and if you decide to start meditating, which one you choose is entirely personal. The main benefit of training your mind this way is that it allows you to :
- pause
- focus on now, not the past, not the future, just... now, how things are now, how you are now, where you are now, how you feel like now
- slow down your mind
- consolidate all the data and emotions you've accumulated during the day, and making sense of it, like solving puzzles

The best part is that you don't actually need any app or book to do that. You just need to accept to take 10mn out of your day (which is 1% of your day), sit down, open or close your eyes, let your mind wander without any control, and sometimes focus on parts of your body and how this body part feels at the moment (this is called the body scan).

5. Spending time to read non-fiction books to accumulate knowledge of other successful people. Reading gives us perspectives, methodologies for organising time, thoughts, developing businesses, making less mistakes, setting up priorities, viewing the world and viewing life as a whole. Reading accumulated knowledge of others is the best way to improve our modest contribution on earth. Perhaps even planning on writing your own book someday is a great goal, because it would force you to put down your thoughts.

This is a personal approach and anyone can feel free to disagree with it, I don't mind :) This is my system, which I found valuable to share as a side insight because you actually inspired me, Jason, with your video.

As regards the final parts, scheduling parts and backing parts of your video, this is highly interesting and applicable to any business.

Keeping track of every transaction is critical, and I recommend using a tracking method that has legal value. Nowadays, emails have a legal value, so sending an email with a reading confirmation while asking the other party to confirm by replying to the email - with a date stamp, an amount, a subject and being specific about the transaction - is a good protection as well.

Diversification is also key, and it is also applicable to backing. While I am not a poker pro and I absolutely never backed someone, I would find it really smart to only back someone for 1 tournament and a small amount if he has no history with you, establish a spreadsheet grading the quality of people backed with repayment histories, delays, dates between which they said the would repay and actual dates where they repaid, and giving them an overall backing score. Also, regardless of your backing history with someone, I would recommend never backing someone for more than X transactions (X to be determined by your bankroll), because you would be exposing yourself to a risk on a single individual with no absolute certainty to be repaid.

I think I have said a lot of things there and I did not expect this post to be that long :)

I hope you'll find some value here, and I'm glad if it contributed.


Sept. 8, 2018 | 9:38 a.m.

Comment | Bluechip commented on PLO Coaching Sale!

Hey RIOers,

As a current PLO student of Nick, he kindly proposed me to post a review here of his coaching services, which I gladly accepted.

So far, I went for 8h of coaching with Nick and he has helped me a lot.

My profile and background :
- 30-40 y.o. working exec.
- Poker is a part-time leisure, a passion, and a dream of achieving major live results in the upcoming years
- Studying and coaching are to me the path to bridging the gap between "a dream" and " a long-term goal" (A goal is just a dream with a deadline)
- I had been moderately successful in small and mid stakes MTTs (50€ average buy-in), and considered transitioning to PLO 6-max cash games in late 2017

As an Essential subscriber, I spent a lot of time studying Phil's great videos, and started looking around for coaching.
I had decent preflop foundations, having read PLO - The Big Play (Jeff Hwang), PLO QuickPro Manual by John Beauprez.

At some point, I started looking around for personal coaching and came across Nick through a RIO post.

My review :
I contacted Nick and he replied to all my questions about him and his approach.

The way Nick works is the following : he asks you to send him a video footage of your game, and he sends you back a recording of his review over your play, a couple of days later.

In addition to that, he provides a support by email in any aspect (technical aspects, mental, bankroll).

This method is I think way better than coaching through Skype, as there is literally no wasted time. This is a very smart format that benefits both him and the player (we don't have to set a meeting time, and you can watch it whenever you like).

I'd recommend to not hesitate to send him specific topics that you wish to review (ex : river spots, 3bet pots OOP) and / or specific selected hands from time to time, as it is to me the best approach to make progress.

The balance between sending him live footage and selected key hands helped me a lot to improve both technically and mentally. He's often advocating alternative lines that he would take, and he regularly complements his analysis with the use of Pokerjuice.

Overall, my experience is highly positive with Nick, and I'll continue to have him coach me in the future.

My results have improved, and I'd like to add that he helped me a lot in the mental aspects.
PLO is a game with huge variance, and you can truly experience big swings (positive OR negative) over a short, mid or long-run. As an example, I was up +1,5k€ in EV and down -2k€ in Net results. Even when poker is not your primary source of income, it makes you consider quitting, without the right mental approach.

Nick did not tell me to shut up, not complain and continue studying and putting volume. He truly understood my stress and instead agreed that I should take a break from any form of poker, while telling me he'd be there when I’d come back.

If you pay attention on RIO forums, you'll notice that I started being active during early 2018 (the time where I was being coached by Nick), posting analysis on RIO Forums, then I stopped :)

What happened is that I let the swings affect me and broke down, and I have no issue with telling it.

I took a 2 month break, came back playing MTTs, made some key scores, built back a bankroll and used it for PLO to start back.

I am now resuming my coaching with Nick and studying back again.

My final advice :
If you want to improve as a player :
* Use a dedicated bankroll and do not make the mistake I made (play low limits with 50 buy-ins at least, until you beat this limit!)
* take some personal coaching with a coach that fits you
* study essential or elite PLO videos and take active notes
* Read the mental game of poker and study the mental aspects of variance
* work on your game and guide the coach to help you better

I 100% recommend Nick as a coach and it is a bargain at this price!


June 13, 2018 | 9:48 a.m.

Thanks Jimmy I've found it on their site! Checking it right now

April 2, 2018 | 3:22 p.m.

Blinds: $1.00/$2.00 (5 Players) CO: $212.67
BN: $200.00
SB: $268.68 (Hero)
BB: $68.91
UTG: $103.61
Preflop ($3.00) Hero is SB with 6 A A 4
UTG calls $2.00, CO raises to $9.00, BN raises to $24.00, Hero raises to $85.00, BB folds, UTG folds, CO calls $76.00, BN calls $61.00
Flop ($259.00) 6 7 8

April 2, 2018 | 3:13 p.m.

Blinds: $1.00/$2.00 (5 Players) UTG: $204.16
CO: $684.98 (Hero)
BN: $479.32
SB: $355.42
BB: $316.08
Preflop ($3.00) Hero is CO with 9 J K J
UTG raises to $7.00, Hero raises to $22.00, 2 folds, BB calls $20.00, UTG calls $15.00
Flop ($67.00) 3 T 4
BB checks, UTG checks, Hero bets $44.00, BB folds, UTG calls $44.00
Turn ($155.00) 3 T 4 8
UTG checks, Hero bets $155.00

April 1, 2018 | 7:56 p.m.

Hey community,

Interested in feedback from RIO instructors as well as midstakes & highstakes PLO players for improving as a player by using the most optimal tools for studying and making serious PLO analysis.

Posting here I believe might help a lot of players also wondering the same.

Solvers are no doubt having an impact on PLO strategies and will continue to do so in the future.

The tools that seems to be mostly used in PLO right now :
- Monkersolver
- PokerJuice
- Odds Oracle
- PLO Calc (PIOSolver Team)
- Simple Omaha (beta testing yet)

Monkersolver seems to be used more and more right now, being if I understand right the most complete and only preflop and Postflop solver for multiway and HU.

I’ve seen a post by ZenFish explaining the added value of PLO Calc as a range explorer to Monkersolver.

Here are my questions :

1- Which PLO Tools do you use for your analysis right now and what do you achieve with these tools? Which stakes do you think this is useful for?

2- Do you think Monksolver is a no-brainer to be purchased for midstakes players looking into serious analysis, limited by the range guessing we make when input with PokerJuice?

3- Are you using PLOCalc, and how? Do you think it is a tool to be used for any serious analysis?

The reason I’m asking this :
- We all have limited time in our day, being efficient and using accurate tools is key
- Questioning the way we do things on a regular basis and the tools we use seems important to get where we want
- Monkersolver seems to be a time investment and a money investment of roughly :
fixed cost of $500
+ optionally purchasing a 6-max sim for $150 or more
+ at least $80-100 per month for running Postflop sims through renting a virtual machine

What’s your feedback on all of this to make the most accurate PLO analysis?

As the saying goes : “Alone we go faster, together we go further.”

Thanks for the feeedback guys and GL for crushing at the tables.


March 31, 2018 | 11:06 a.m.

Hey guys I’m currently playing midstakes PL200. I’ve been using a lot PokerJuice for my study and did not consider solvers primarily because of my understanding that it required to rent a virtual machine for at least $100 / month to run it. Is it still the case? Would you advise me to purchase PLOCalc from PIO’s website (which I understand doesn’t handle multiway) or dive into Monkersolver? Based on your experience what is the price of running MonkerSolver monthly? How hard is it to set up a 6-max 100bb sim? Thanks a lot for your help guys!

March 31, 2018 | 8:22 a.m.

Hey Phil,

Thanks again for the answer. It does help tremendously in my thinking process, like, say, Tiger Woods telling you to “just raise your left palm from a degree or two when you play”.

I try to think more in ranges, as said, and as you and Nick mentioned also, who has the range advantage on this board, what should I do with my range and where does this specific combo I’m holding should fit into my range.

I actually first did a range vs range on this Flop, which ended up being very complex and subject to error.

However it made me think about which combos of my range would I value bet, bluff bet and check back here.

I ended up with
- value betting of course any set, any two pair (given my stack and SPR, otherwise I’d probably check back at least bottom two), and T97x
- betting 99-AA mainly for protection (But they would have to fold to a check raise)
- bluff betting 77 as a straight blocker, any bare bottom pair, 9T gutshots
- checking back anything else (any 6,8, OESD)

So technically, it made me think that this combo had to go in my check back range.

That seemed reasonable to me, but again, I’m learning :)

Your point is very very interesting about equity vs his calling range.

I guess that’s what some regular forum posters would tell you “yeah it’s obvious” once it’s been said but they probably wouldn’t come up with it themselves.

I’m saying that because it does seem very logical when you say it, and I actually never had thought about that.

Interestingly it happens a lot in many parts of business, when we’re going into a deep analysis or thinking process and start lacking the global ‘helicopter’ or ‘roadmap’ view.

When someone pulls our nose off it, we start seing the bigger picture and say “Oh well, of course, why did I focus just on this particular city?”.

So point taken, it makes sense.

I’ll actually try developing my other form of thinking although I don’t really know how that would be correct.

When we’re unsure about things, we either ask someone else or start making some calculations, that’s the state I am in right now.

So if I start developing my own critical thinking :

I actually like a bet from my part way more than if I was open raising from UTG/MP and BB called. On this second scenario I think BB would have a clearer range advantage on this board.

Here we’re on a situation where opponent limped on CO making him a passive and probably loose player that splits his range into good raising hands and parts that he limps that are probably made of weak / high and medium disconnected cards and that he doesn’t know what to do with, but connected, suited or high enough (according to him) that he plays them anyway. I confirmed that at showdown (since he called river with a holding that was apparently indifferent to the fact that straights and sets were here, making me question my barrels and river bluff in the first place).

The board is medium / light semi-dry and I have one BD flush draw (the fact that it is the third nut FD is probably not that important heads-up?), an OESD and two overs that don’t complete draws, which is important.

So overall I think betting make sense and your comment gives me confidence now as well (of course it’s easier when Phil said it, yes I know).

I also stand with what I did during the hand and given your commentary, once I bet the flop and the SPR shrinks at this level below 1.7, I saw the Kd as a great semi-buffing opportunity (although the Ad would be better as it hits my range a lot more) and provides me more outs.

Perhaps if I changed the sizings (betting 45-50% pot on turn), it would give opponent slightly worse odds on the river over my shove?


By betting twice on the larger side we’re representing either good AA combos with diamonds, top two, top and middle set, and wraps.

When this river hits we either have a lot of two pairs, some sets and a lot of straights.

I’m sticking with a shove as we have almost zero equity at showdown.

We’re representing straights, big sets (88, KK), and top two pair.

So here we either give up with a <5% equity hand or bluff with it representing value combos.

I think any ‘decent’ opponent that had played some PLO would fold at least anything but two pair K3 and more.

Does it even make sense for him to have the bottom of his calling range at K3+?
I’m starting my own critical thinking outside the math, I don’t know what it is worth yet and how I should structure it :-)

Let me know what you think.

Again thank you for the help, I’m starting to see a more accurate picture of the golf course, hand by hand, and this makes a lot of sense.

March 31, 2018 | 5:22 a.m.

Hand History | Bluechip posted in PLO: PL200 - QJ97ds 3barrel shove
Blinds: $1.00/$2.00 (5 Players) UTG: $259.28
CO: $160.00
BN: $129.97 (Hero)
SB: $171.70
BB: $128.82
Preflop ($3.00) Hero is BN with 7 Q J 9
CO checks, Hero raises to $9.00, SB calls $8.00, BB folds, CO calls $7.00
Flop ($29.00) 6 8 3
SB checks, CO checks, Hero bets $17.00, SB folds, CO calls $17.00
Turn ($63.00) 6 8 3 K
CO checks, Hero bets $54.00, CO calls $54.00
River ($171.00) 6 8 3 K 7
CO checks, Hero bets $49.97 and is all in

March 29, 2018 | 9:23 p.m.

Hey Phil,

Here’s the answer about weighting ranges in PokerJuice made by his founder :

Bottom line : it’s not possible with a percentage like “80%” but is possible manually via range distribution with trial and error (we exclude a range that is roughly 20%).

It’s not really accurate but it is one option.

March 29, 2018 | 12:24 p.m.

Thanks Richard, thanks Nick, this helps a lot.

The reason I’m asking is because of the limited amount of tools available in PLO (I think, but I can be wrong) right now.

I think (but again can be wrong) it’s either PokerJuice or Monkersolver.

Using Monker from the discussions I had with JNandez is at the very least 100$/month for renting a server + 500$ Fixed cost for using it + setting up your 6-max sim yourself (which I believe is pretty tough when you don’t know the software) or buying it / paying for coaching from another user.

This seems like an investment to be considered.

I take Phil points, Nick points, your points about using PJ properly and not driving false ranges / conclusions.

So from what I see so far, the way to improve is therefore to post and ask but it relies to others and coaches :)

I’d like to find a way to be able to make a sim myself with a proper tool or a solver, and be able to drive my own conclusions.

I don’t know how / if that’s currently possible. :)

Hope this makes sense and again thanks for your inputs


March 29, 2018 | 12:21 p.m.

I’m also pointing out something I find really tough with PJ or any simulation :
- Here I assumed he would check flop with A9 and AQ, I’m assuming he check calls.
- I’m also assuming he bets Q9 bottom two mainly for protection (probably as a bet / fold), and he bets for value 99, Qq, AA.

Here’s the thing : these parameters highly influence the outcome of the simulation, and the fact that it IS or it ISNT a profitable call or shove turn.

The thing is : we have no clue how these opponents at these stakes actually react. Most of them don’t even think in terms of ranges. This logic might apply if we’re facing a good regular who’s actually splitting his range and making logical actions with each part of it.

So how do we deal with that? Where do we draw the line between making a simulation and obtaining conclusions that can either make us a tougher player or give us false conclusions, or just thinking in terms of player pool and exploitation?

In the second part (thinking in terms of exploitation), there’s a good chance our simulations will be wrong, as it’s really hard to get inside the mind of a recreational player. The only case of when we see a showdown, that can help us be more accurate with “some” parts of his range (the part where the hand he actually showed down belongs).

I really like using PJ as a tool, but this is a question I often ask myself.

Let me know if this makes sense :)

March 27, 2018 | 8:03 a.m.

Hi Phil,

Thanks a lot for the feedback.

As regards the parameters, my apologies, that's a mistake. I confirm that we are indeed 177bb effective which I didn't set correctly in the game builder, but this is correct in the HH. I corrected that in my initial post. I also can understand now why I leaned towards folding.

This might change things a bit.

I take good note of working with exclusion, plus it's way easier and might lead to less mistakes.

As up to now I haven't found how to make Opponent CBet 80% of his remaining range, but I'm on it (asking PJ founder).

Finally, I input his range by exclusion of the hands he would check on the flop (basically any KK,A9,AQ,QJT+,Q!(9,A):(hhdd,hhcc,ccdd)).

On the turn, I don't think our assumptions should change much.

I seem to have a bigger advantage now, but I take your point about being careful about my sims.

Given that it's my main tool I use, in a situation like that, what would you do?
I totally understand how we can mess up with the ranges and the danger of driving false conclusions, so my question is : Is the PJ analysis even worth here?

March 27, 2018 | 6:54 a.m.

Blinds: $1.00/$2.00 (5 Players) UTG: $200.00
CO: $555.89
BN: $351.90 (Hero)
SB: $482.04
BB: $200.00
Preflop ($3.00) Hero is BN with A 4 9 4
2 folds, Hero raises to $7.00, SB raises to $23.00, BB folds, Hero calls $16.00
Flop ($48.00) Q 9 A
SB bets $36.00, Hero calls $36.00
Turn ($120.00) Q 9 A 3
SB bets $120.00, Hero folds
Final Pot SB wins $117.00
Rake is $3.00

March 25, 2018 | 7:13 p.m.

Thanks for the very detailed answer Nick, as always. I'll check it back next time as it makes a lot of sense and keeps the pot way more manageable with a top hand to bluff catch.

March 25, 2018 | 5:57 p.m.

Hey Nick, no auto posted blind from the CO! I don't know what happened in PJ

March 25, 2018 | 5:41 p.m.

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