You won’t find many poker coaches more experienced or hungry for students to achieve success than Fernando “JNandez” Habbeger.
That’s why we’re thrilled he’s now part of the BBZ coaching roster.
JNandez has taken his 10+ years of Pot Limit Omaha (PLO) cash game experience and coaching and turned it into the brand new PLO Bundle: 10 hours of high quality but beginner-friendly lessons.
Teaming up with BBZ was an easy decision for JNandez, as he’s been studying BBZ Poker material for the past few years.
“PLO is a much harder game to solve than NLHE,” he says, “so for me to understand how high-level players think about poker, I usually look at no limit hold’em. I use Jordan’s material a lot in order to understand more big picture concepts– from MDF range construction to terminology–and things like that have really helped me. I then convert these principles into PLO.”
Habbeger was a NLHE grinder from 2005 until 2010 when Black Friday saw the cash games on Full Tilt shut down. He then switched over to PokerStars but couldn’t get comfortable in the games. That’s when he began glancing at the PLO lobbies.
“It was a completely new game and I felt like if I picked up this game early then I wouldn’t have to play the catch-up game, which it felt like I was doing in NLHE.”
He’s been playing PLO ever since, with great success.
We sat down to talk to JNandez to learn more about the PLO Bundle, how NLHE players can learn from it, and more.
BBZ Blog: Hey JNandez! What was the process of making the bundle?
JNandez: Well, I’ve probably made close to 2,000 coaching videos in my lifetime, many of which I did over the past four years for PLO Mastermind. So when I was making this I already had a lot of feedback.
I think a lot of coaches present the way they learn the game, and this is a fine approach if the student has reached a certain level. But if you’ve just discovered the game recently, you need to create different kinds of coaching content.
I would always hear ‘I don’t know where to start’ or ‘this is too complex’, so people really need a fundamental introduction to the game where they’re taught the pillars of PLO, what the biggest mistakes are to avoid etc. Things that fit into their two hours of study time. I just realised that people want to have quick insights within like 10-20 minutes of watching a video that will help them play better.
How did you structure the bundle?
When making the BBZ PLO Bundle, I looked at the videos I’ve made before and thought about how to make it more comprehensive and understandable for someone who wants to quickly pick up the game and avoid the biggest pitfalls. My bundle is very much aimed at people who don’t yet understand PLO but understand poker in general.
I understand that people will not watch the entire 10 hours before playing a single hand of PLO, so I’ve structured the content in a way where I’m preventing them from making big mistakes early on, then we go more into the nitty gritty.
How do you study PLO using NLHE concepts?
Back in 2010, I would look to the best NLHE players and see how they thought about the game. When PioSOLVER came out I would use sims to understand bet sizing and see how it chose bluffs in different spots. I then translate those ideas into PLO.
The fundamental principles of poker are always the same: EV, equity, realisation, bluffing ratios, blockers etc. But the standards of PLO have changed since solvers. When I was playing high-level PLO between 2015 and 2018, it was normal to defend the big blind around 90% of the time. The best players in the world would do that. But once you look at PioSOLVER you quickly realise there’s no way it makes sense to defend so many hands.
Aside from the extra cards, what do you think are the main differences between NLHE and PLO?
NLHE is much more of a frequency-based game. You really concentrate around frequencies–for example, you would say I have excellent value combos and I’m going to use this hand at 50% frequency. Whereas in PLO, a lot of the spots play more equity-driven. So I think good PLO players have skills that revolve around understanding equities. For example, if I have a pair and a flush draw and stack-to-pot ratio (SPR) of 3.5, how does that match up against my opponent’s stack-off range? Is it good enough to get the money in?
If you make a frequency-based decision in NLHE and you’re wrong, often you’re REALLY wrong. Whereas in PLO there are a lot of situations where you end up making theoretical mistakes but you still have 35% or 40% equity and a good chance to win.
If you get pocket deuces all in for 100 big blinds in NLHE, even a beginner will quickly realise that this is a terrible idea because you’ll lose very frequently. But in PLO you can do all sorts of crazy stuff for thousands of hands without ever realising you’re making mistakes.
How important do you think it is for poker players to be well-versed in games like PLO, outside of NLHE?
I’m pretty good at PLO because I’ve studied for thousands of hours, but yesterday I was playing 5-card PLO double boards, which I’d never played in my entire life. The reason I played this game is that I was exposed to an environment where it seemed to be a really profitable game to play because my opponent was playing really bad.
As a professional poker player, especially when you play cash games, you don’t just sit down and collect the money. That is the worst approach ever. My understanding of being a professional poker player is to go where the money is and make winning as efficient as possible, while also having some fun along the way.
The poker market changes. Hyper Sit & Gos used to be a great thing but you won’t find BBZ playing them anymore. You have to adjust your skillset. If you go to a live casino today and you want to play a juicy mid-high stakes game and make good money, it’s very unlikely that the game is going to be NLHE. Recreational players want to play PLO, 5-card PLO double boards, PLO bomb pots etc. because those games are fun, they’re new, they’re fresh, they have a lot of variants, and they allow people to gamble.
Ultimately I think adding more games to your repertoire helps you to be exposed to the best opportunities in the market.
Is the bundle focused more on PLO cash or PLO tournaments?
This bundle has 10 hours of content which will give new PLO players the best chance to make money at low-stakes PLO cash.
PLO tournaments are extremely soft because they’re filled with all sorts of people who like to take shots; recreationals who don’t understand PLO very well but are happy to only lose $100 or $500. So I don’t think there are many people out there who solely study PLO tournaments because the market just isn’t big enough. The upside is quite limited.
The premise of the bundle is:
What are the most important lessons that I can convey in 10 hours to someone who is just starting out playing PLO cash?
If you’re looking to make money playing low-stakes PLO cash games, the PLO Bundle is for you.