Roberto Romanello: Should you use speechplay at the table?

EPT and WPT champ Roberto Romanello is one of the UK’s leading players and is here to solve your poker dilemmas…

Healing hands

A strange question but are those massage girls that wander around tournament rooms worth the money? I’ve always wanted one but was worried I’d get ripped off! Christian Cole

The girls on the EPT circuit are great. I enjoy a massage sometimes. It’s not cheap – it’s about £100 for 90 minutes – but I always go back for more so they must be doing something right! I spoil myself with one if I’ve had a result or cash in a tournament at a festival. If I’ve not been winning then I make sure I don’t get a massage. They can be distracting at the table so I try to make sure I get one in the early levels. As soon as the ante kicks in I want to be fully focused and aggressive instead of feeling really relaxed and chilled out.

Bottle merchant

I seem to clog up and bottle it every time I get heads-up in a tournament –please help! Rob Ingram

If you’re often getting heads-up in tournaments then that is a good thing – if you could get heads-up in most of the tournaments that you play then you’d be a very rich man! When I’m up against strong players heads-up I’m very happy to take more high variance shots to try and win the tournament any time I get dealt a good hand. If I’m playing a weaker player heads-up my strategy will be to play as many flops as I can, try to grind him down and then be happy to get it in once I have him at a three-to-one or four-to-one advantage. I want to cut down the variance with this type of player, and think this will work for you too.

Happy talk

I’ve always been pretty quiet at the live poker table because I was scared to give reads away when in a big pot. I’ve seen players like yourself have big success with speech play though and want to bring it into my game – how do you think I should get started? What questions should I start asking? James Cran

Some of the best players in the world don’t say anything at the table. They may just think that table chat is not for them or be worried they will give something away if they speak, and that they also don’t gain any advantage by talking. But then you’ve got live pros who are among the best players in the world that always use chat and find it very useful. I think you’ve either got the ability to use table chat or you haven’t. I extract a lot of information from chatting at the table. I tend not to talk against really good players because if you’re not careful they can also get a strong read on your hand. But with weaker players I always chat and can get some very important information. I’ll start off with simple things like asking, ‘will you show if I pass?’ and things like that. I’m just searching for little indicators of strength or weakness. Once you get good at chat it can be a very useful tool to have, but only use it versus weaker players and never against very strong players.

Rake it in

Is it worth playing low-stakes cash games like £0.50/£1 and £1/£2 in a casino or is the rake too high that the game is unbeatable?”Craig Moran

In a local casino it’s definitely worth playing. If you’re a good player you can make very good money from these stakes –it’s what I started out playing. The problem is when cash games at low-stakes take place around Europe or at any tournament stop not held in a casino. Though the European casinos and hotels can be beautiful and magical you get completely stung by rake. In a local casino the rake is very low compared to the size of the pots. Once you travel to Europe in great locations the rake gets much steeper and the games become more difficult to beat. These locations have to pay for the grand settings somehow! When I was at EPT Deauville recently the rake was massive and uncapped. Some pots at my table had £600 taken away just from rake! The only way you can make up for this is if the players at your table are very bad.

Limp – risk it?

What do you think to limp-reraising? I’ve always thought it was something bad players did, but I’ve seen a lot of it recently. Is there ever a good time to do it?” Gordon Davies

I can’t remember the last time I used this! I can’t even remember the last time I limped. That’s because that style is not right for me. As I’ve got a bit of a name on the circuit I find it easier to get paid off so it makes sense for me to open every hand with a raise. I still see people limp-reraising occasionally, even on the high-stakes circuit. For some players it still works. Generally it is poor players that limp-reraise. They can only get away with it because they are limping with both their good and bad hands. I will often try to isolate them and end up getting four-bet by them! It can still work and if you can get away with it then why not use it? Just make sure you mix up when you limp-reraise and have both good and bad hands when you do it.

Romanello’s tip of the month

Be comfortable in cash

In a cash game you must be comfortable about winning and losing the money in front of you. If you’re worried about losing money it means you are feeling the pressure and will play a different, more scared game. This is not good. If this is your attitude then yes, you probably should just take your winnings and come back another day to start again. After saying this if you’re at a £200 profit and still confident then make sure you keep playing! Just ensure you are not playing outside of your bankroll because you never want to be scared money. I’ve sometimes had this online. I may be killing $5/$10 and be very comfortable with those stakes. Suddenly I’ll jump up to $25/$50 and I know that everytime I lose a few buy-ins I’ll start feeling it. I will stop pushing draws, play worse and inevitably end up losing. If you ever feel like this, just get up and quit.

Pin It

Comments are closed.