After a long hot day of chores around the house and having had a very quiet Friday night, I decided to go and sit in on the Red Fox poker game. The Red Fox seems to be poker central in Phnom Penh, with games going on most nights and many a time I have gone past the front of the bar and seen the guys playing and thought about joining them. Brett the owner had just put the finishing touches on a felt covered, oval shaped poker table and it was quite nice to sit at and the short haired Khmer spunk doing all the dealing was none to shabby either.
The tricky thing with the Red Fox game is that it is a Dealer’s Choice game so I found myself all of a sudden playing variations of poker I had never played before – Omaha Hi-Lo, 7 Card Stud, Pot-Limit Texas, Flip etc etc. I knew this before I started and so I went into the game sensing I was going to lose money but decided to treat the losses as tuition fees and with no blinds and a simple 25c ante every hand, it was the cheapest way to learn possible. It is also a cash game ( not tournament where the winner takes all ) and this means that you can buy in and cash-out whenever you want which is great because I did not feel like playing cards for hours on end . I found myself amongst some very sharp players. UXO De-miners to the left, slum-lords to the right, shifty bar owners here and there and one poor hapless Australian tourist who thought it might be fun to sit down and play cards with some locals to see how it compared to his online experiences. Bad move. He soon left a bloodied and torn mess long thereafter.
Omaha as far as I can see removes a lot of the skill of reading players and the opportunity to bluff opponents and it really is a head twist as you try to figure each Omaha round out . There can be two hands ( a hi and a lo ) going on within the one game and and it all happens very quickly. Texas Hold ‘Em is a slower, more protracted game with much larger pots. Interestingly, when the dealer button came around to me, I of course chose Texas Hold em and my success rate was very good.I took some very large pots but would then give it all back during the Omaha games. Very frustrating ! I hung in for a few hours ,watched my stack ebb and flow like king tides and after 3 buy-ins and a total loss of about $100, I decided it was time to call it a night. Luckily the wife turned up just as I was bowing out ( ” what do you mean you lost ?? you never lose !” ) and we were soon off to Sharky Bar for a few pitchers of cold beer and some spicy noodles.
It was a costly but worth wile night and I can say at this early juncture I still prefer playing my Texas No-Limit to Omaha.