Welsh wizardry

Get the knowledge – beat the field

He had talent, but you couldn’t help thinking ‘cocky twat’

You may recognise the near unpronounceable name of John Tabatabai from our coverage of the World Series of Poker Europe Main Event. The 21-year-old finished second to fellow online whiz Annette Obrestad for £570,150 and was unlucky not to take the title.

I, however, recognised the young Welshman from, of all places, a slightly dodgy snooker club in Clacton, Essex. It’s a long story as to why I was there, but suffice it to say I was deep into a £60 double-chance Hold’em tournament. It was down to the last three tables and the bubble was approaching at an alarming rate.

Unfortunately for me, so was my last train back to London. Consequently I knew it was only going to be worthwhile shooting for one of the top spots so I could cover the B&B or three-figure taxi fare I’d be needing to pay.

At the other end of the table was an exuberant, aggressive and annoyingly young big stack. He was chatting non-stop, messing with other players’ heads and generally stealing chips left, right and centre. It was a little like watching Cristiano Ronaldo play for the first time. You knew he had raw talent, but you couldn’t help thinking ‘cocky little twat’. In fact, I half-expected the local meathead sat to his right to tackle his showboating by using his West Ham-embossed forearm to make a challenge Julian Dicks would be proud of.

I obviously lost my chips to him, but that’s long since been forgotten and John has come a long way since. Like Ronaldo, he’s no longer pulling tricks for the sake of the show and the end result, as could be witnessed as he ravaged the WSOPE final table, mean you’ll be seeing plenty more of him in the coming years.

We’ve managed to bag his services for a lesson in smart aggression, where he reveals some of the secrets of his success. If you want to learn how to play like a graduate of the new aggressive school of online poker, you couldn’t ask for a better teacher.

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