A Peek Inside the $10,000 Pot Limit Omaha Championship

Daniel Alaei owns two Pot Limit Omaha Championship bracelets (2013 & 2010).

Daniel Alaei owns two Pot Limit Omaha Championship bracelets (2013 & 2010).

There are a few events that players circle on the calendar as soon as the World Series of Poker schedule is released and the $10,000 Pot Limit Omaha Championship event is one of those special events.

The event opened with around 200 players, with most players expecting that number to double by the end of registration. Daniel Alaei won the event twice in the past five years, Ben Lamb won the en route to his WSOP Player of Year title in 2011 and Pat Walsh beat a field of 418 players in 2014.

“I love this tournament, you get to play a deep stack right away with a lot of players that I normally don’t get to play with in the cash games,” said Alaei. “There’s a lot of play throughout the whole tournament – it’s  a lot of fun to play.”

“It’s my favorite event of the whole year, I like it better than the Main. PLO is my best game, I feel the most comfortable and it’s a winnable field,” said Josh Arieh. “There’s so many good players now and it’s going to be hard for an unknown player to win. This tournament is going to have about 400 people and you’re going to know 360 of the them. It’s a high variance game with lots of skill.”

Mike Sexton echoed Arieh’s stance on quality of the field. “Any $10K event is tough, I don’t care what even it is – they draw the best players. You know you have to beat the best to be the best, that’s just the way it is at the World Series of Poker,” Sexton said.

“I think it’s going to be a large event, it’s on the same day as the Ladies event so most weren’t playing anything earlier,” Sexton added. “All the big players are going to come out for this but they like to late reg.”

For some players the event is reason enough to skip lucrative cash games. Isaac Haxton comes to Las Vegas every year during the Series but plays a light tournament schedule.

“I’m really excited to play the tournament, I’ve been focused mostly on cash games this summer but this is one of the tournaments that I bother coming over to the Rio for,” Haxton said. “I’m hoping to win it.”

“You’re going to have to be pretty lucky to make the final table. PLO is a big game in Vegas now,” Haxton said. “Most of the big cash games running are Mixed Games and PLO. There’s $100/$200 PLO running at the Bellagio every day.”

“I love playing deep-stacked PLO and close to 400 people come out and it’s a really good opportunity to win about $600,000,” Steve Billirakis said. “I don’t personally know what it takes to make the final table personally yet. You have to run good when it counts, make your hands – there’s not a lot of science to it.”

Alaei had similar thoughts on how to navigate one of the toughest fields of the summer. “You’ve got to win your all ins to make the final table and control your pot sizes.”

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Paul Oresteen

Senior Writer: Paul Oresteen originally joined BLUFF in 2008 as an intern. He covered two World Series of Poker’s before leaving to join PokerNews.com. After a two year hiatus Oresteen returned to BLUFF in November 2012. Since starting as a poker journalist Oresteen has covered the World Series of Poker, WSOP Circuit, World Poker Tour and European Poker Tour. He graduated from Georgia State University with a B.A. in Communications in 2008.
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