Monday, February 02, 2009

Introduction of 2-11 Poker at the Bike

A week from today, on 2/11, the Bike is going to start spreading a game that they are calling "two-one-one" poker (even though the inventor of the game says it should be called "two eleven" in this youtube interview). The name is a reference to the fact that, while there are many similarities to other holdem games like Omaha and Texas holdem, 2-11 has only two cards on the flop. Like Omaha, each player gets four cards, but unlike Omaha, players can use either two or three cards from their hands. Half the pot goes to the low hand, but there is a 7-qualifier (ie, you must have five cards 7 or lower, the best low hand being A2345). It seems that the Bike has exclusive rights to the game. At least, the Bike is hosting its "Grand Premier." 

Actually, the game is already being spread at the Bike, but only for practice for the dealers. I played for a couple of hours one morning with the fake chips that were available. I thought it was fun, but that should be no surprise because I always like trying new games. Frankly, I would be a little surprised if 2-11 becomes a popular casino game. Most casino poker players these days are really stuck in their ways. It's not like a few years ago when there were lots of new players who were up for anything. Nowadays, players won't tolerate it if anything changes about the game they want to play. They won't play short-handed, they want a particular seat at the table, and sometimes they get angry at me for not chopping with them. I hope I'm wrong, but I just don't see poker players getting excited about a new game right now. The best case scenario is that the game attracts a different sort of poker player who is willing to play for the fun of it rather than trying to grind out a few dollars an hour by playing by the book. After all, there is no book on 2-11 strategy, as far as I know. 

Since I'll probably be playing this game in the near future (the Bike plans to spread 4-8 and 15-30 limit), I'd like to consider some strategy this week. If I have any insights, it may make for an interesting post.


Warren said...

When you actually start playing 2-11 for real, you should post a note on how well (or badly) the players deal with the new set of rules.

Mr 211 said...


Thanks for the commentary. Who Knows, we could get lucky. The dealers are reading the hands and dealing the 2 card flop easier now.
Next time you come to the club, say Hello. I'm the guy who invented the game and I'm usually there at the demo table helping folks understand the game. I usually have on the black, longsleeve 2-11 poker shirt.
Bruce Paul
aka Mr 211

Rick said...

Sounds interesting. I, for one, would love to try it out. I've often thought there should be more games in casinos. How about "no-limit 2-11"?

I like the idea of a 2-card flop. Still, my hunch is it'll play out a lot like Omaha-8: after the mini-flop or whatever you'll call it, you probably will need the nuts or a draw to the nuts to stay in, if there are multiple players involved. It seems like if the flop comes QQ in 2-11, that's sorta like the flop coming QQ7 in Omaha. Since each player has 4 cards, it's so easy for someone to have a king (or 77). Seems like, if they want the game to be less about waiting for the nuts than Omaha, they should deal only 3 cards per player instead of 4. Now that would change things dramatically, I think.

Rick said...

Oops, I meant "for someone to have a queen".

Keith said...

Rick - actually, I think it is much harder to have the nuts in 2-11 than Omaha. For example, the nut hand is always at least quad 5's (when the board is 2345 offsuit), but you need to have 3-of-a-kind in your starting hand, which is pretty rare. I think there will often be a lot of room to maneuver without the nuts, including probably reraising for value. Still, I agree that the game would probably work at least as well with only 3 cards per hand.

Bruce- I saw you speaking today before the 2-11 tournament, but I had to head home. I hope it went well and that there will be some 2-11 games running tomorrow!

Rick said...

Ah, that's true -- I ignored the fact that you can use 3 cards from your hand. Good point. You can't use all 4 cards though, right? I wonder, if, say, 5 players are in, and the mini-flop is, say, Q4, and a non-maniac bets into you, what's the minimum hand you need to call? Can you call with something like KQ23?

By the way, that using-3-cards-thing must make it sooooo much easier to make a flush. I would guess that the high hand ends up being a flush a whole lot of the time.

Actually, let's see. It's pretty easy to calculate. If you never fold, you'll make a flush once every 32.7 hands in hold'em. In Omaha, it's once every 14.2 hands. And in 2-11, it'd be once every 16.0 hands. So, I guess maybe it's not as often as I would've thought....