Roberto Romanello: Satellite strategy and balancing your range

EPT and WPT champ Roberto Romanello is here to solve YOUR poker dilemmas!

Home truths

What is the number one tip you would give to poker players new to the online poker scene? What is the best advice you have ever received for playing poker in general? – Danny Innes

Roberto: As you know I’m not really an online player but I have played a bit. The most I ever played was when I was a Full Tilt Pro and I realised it takes a lot of patience to play online. It’s just so much easier to tilt compared to live. If I find I tilt live I know there’s a lot of people watching me so that always stops me from doing it. When you’re playing online, you’re on your own so you can do what you like. So my biggest piece of advice is to work on patience and that side of your game. The best piece of advice I’ve ever been given was by my mum. I was going away a lot to play and she said to me, ‘Good luck, play well, but remember we’re here.’ That meant a lot to me because it means you should always remember the people around you.

Satellite strategy

I’m trying to qualify for the PPUKT but I keep missing out in the satellites. My problem seems to be getting going at the start. I can’t accumulate chips and it always leaves me trying to coax my short stack over the line – and failing. Any tips for getting a big stack in these and once you’ve got one should you sit back and blind into the seats or try to take out the short stacks? Also, if I qualify it will be my first ever live event – any advice for good preparation for this? – David Snelson

I’ve actually always had a pretty good record in satellites. Play tight at the start, you’re not there to be this great tournament player – you’re playing to get into a big tournament, so no fancy moves. Even if you don’t accumulate a big stack early on, it’s not the end of the world. If you protect your stack and keep it healthy for when you get down to 12-15 BBs, you can still do damage when you start shoving and picking the right spots. It only takes a couple of double ups and you’ll be in a good situation to win a seat.

If it’s your first live event try and get a read off the other players, let them do the battling early and then you can start playing a bit of poker and making a few moves here and there. Try and avoid silly bluffs when the blinds are small.

Balancing act

I’ve heard people talking about ‘balancing your range’ and wondered if you could put this into plain English? I’m pretty sure I’m not doing it, whatever it is. – Wayne Jenkinson

R: If I’m balancing my range it’ll be when I’m playing good players by playing with a wide range of cards and styles. Against a recreational player I could play more straightforwardly. If the table is really good I’d go through a spell where I play really aggressive and start three-betting and four-betting. Balancing your range is about mixing your play up to keep yourself unpredictable.

Tipping up

What’s your best tip for a recreational player to learn and get better? – Glenn Thirkill

R: What I’ve found helpful is sitting for hours watching the good players and learning from them. Even when I busted out of a tournament, I’d be gutted, but I’d always hang about and watch the players going deep and see how they were playing. It didn’t matter whether it was good or bad players because you’re going to play both.

Kings beheaded

I was playing in my first ever SCOOP event online. The starting stack was 10,000 so there was absolutely tons of play. Blinds were 100/200 when I got Kings. UTG raised to 600, UTG+1 flatted and I was UTG+2. I re-popped it to 1,600 and everyone folded to the initial raiser who flatted. Then UTG+1 moved all-in.

He obviously had a massive hand but I’d already decided I was never folding Kings. UTG folded, I called and UTG+1 had Aces. He got the max but it left me wondering whether – at such an early stage in the tourney, and with 50BBs – can you ever find a fold with Kings in such a specific and suspicious situation? – Iain Turnball

I’ve been caught in this situation myself online, maybe two weeks ago when I was playing the Sunday Million. Like you I’d already made my mind up that I wasn’t going to fold Kings. When I play live, I have a different attitude, I’ve folded Kings twice before – once right, once wrong. And I would do it again because I can look at the player and make a decision. If there is ever going to be a time when you could be folding Kings in an online tournament – and one as big as SCOOP – it’s early on when the blinds are small.

British invasion

Me and a mate are going to pick a team of Brits each to do battle in the WSOP Main Event. Who do you think has a really good chance of going deep this year? – Richard Scaysbrook

There’s a group who hang out together such as Toby Lewis and Chris Brammer – I think they’re going to do well.

Quick-fire questions

How many bracelets are you going to win this year?
I’d be happy to win one. Anything else is a bonus.

Can you remember your first ever live win?
I think it was at the Grosvenor in Swansea maybe five or six years ago for about £800.

What’s the best line you’ve ever said at a poker table?
There was a hand against Ben Wilinofsky in the EPT Madrid Champion of Champions. It was checked down to the river and I had the nuts. He bet 500 on the river and I bet 20,000 because I know this kid is a hero. He tried to speech talk me and I said, ‘If you call, you win!’ And he called.

What do you think of Tony G having a dig at your friend Toby Lewis?
I haven’t actually seen it yet so I can’t comment on it properly but we know what Tony G is like, he has overstepped the mark a few times – and it is wrong. He’s a nice guy when I’ve talked to him though.

What was your favourite ever tournament win?
EPT Prague, I’ve never had a feeling like that in my life.

Favoured way to bust – bad luck or bad play?
Bad luck. If I play bad, it’s even worse.

Poker’s banned – what do you do with your life?
Just continue to fry fish and chips!

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