Roberto Romanello: Winning tournament strategy

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

Cash buy

I’ve noticed that live poker rooms now let you buy-in for as much as 250BBs at £1/£2 stakes. Do you recommend always buying in for the max, or just for 100BBs and making lots of small reloads when you lose a pot? David Winter

It should go on what you think of the table. If you can afford to sit down really deep then that’s often the best way forward, especially if the table is a bit softer and you have a huge edge because you want to stack those weaker players. If the table is tougher there is no harm in sitting shorter, and just reload if you get unlucky.

Online poker is completely different to live, so if you’re used to playing 100BB poker online then it may make sense to just buy-in for that amount live too.

Size issues

I had a difficult spot come up preflop near the final table of a live MTT recently. In a £200 buy-in there were 15 people left and I had 30BBs. The cut-off, who was really aggressive, made it 2.5BBs and I had Qs-Js in the small blind. I had no idea what to do with this hand with my awkward stack size! Rob Cowey

Good question. If you shove here you’d be gutted if you got snapped off because you still have a lot of play with 30BBs. There is no one thing you must do here. I think it’s too big a stack to shove. Depending on my image I would three-bet a lot, and call sometimes. It’s tough to fold a nice hand like this preflop. Even if I just call, I still have plenty of play left in my stack – the only problem is that I’ll have to check-fold a lot of flops when I miss. I wouldn’t try and get clever postflop against a good player, I’d rather do that preflop in a different situation. Depending how I’ve been playing and what my reputation is would define what I do. If I had been playing tight I’d three-bet a lot more.

Cowboy junkies

I’ve been arguing with some mates recently. They say you should never fold Kings preflop and I think there are spots you can. What do you think? Have you ever done it? Liam Janey

I’ve folded Kings preflop twice – once I was right because the guy had Aces and I was wrong the second time when I folded Kings to Leo Margets preflop. She didn’t show, but I just know I got it wrong. There was a ton of betting and raises preflop and it was still only the second level of a tournament in Spain. I’d flown all the way over there and didn’t really want to go broke preflop with Kings so early on. I just let it go and thought I’d find a better spot later on.

It’s so tough to fold them but if you have a lot of information on a player and it’s early on then it can be done.

Set vetting

How often do you call three-bets with small pairs looking to hit a set? Martin Hall

I will only do this if we are super-deep and I know that I can stack my opponent. I would never call if I just had a medium stack. I don’t see the point, and I think it’s a mistake a lot of players make. You should only call if it’s possible for you to win a massive pot. If we are shorter it makes far more sense to four-bet jam a small pair than it does to just call a three-bet. Against a tight player just fold.

Marked man

If there’s a massive fish on your table in the early levels of a tournament what is the best way to ensure that you play lots of pots with them? Is it by just calling their raises or is it by three-betting them? Haz Merrick

I love isolating fish. You can make so many chips doing this but you have to do it right. They call so much that you can really damage your stack if you get it wrong. Once you keep on isolating them fish will get very pissed off with you! They want to take you down too so be careful. Make good decisions with your continuation bets by deciding which flops are good for you to bet.

You can isolate them by raising their limps or making small three-bets against their opens but be aware of the rest of the table. If there is a good player behind me he will know what I am doing and make cold four-bets to try and win the pot. I constantly mix up my raise sizes against fish to try and get the most value in different spots too – sometimes I’ll three-bet very small, but if I had A-A I might make a huge three-bet just because I know they will always call to see a flop.

Size me up

Do you prefer to be raising 2xBB or more around 2.4xBB in tournaments? IMO, 2xBB is defended more and more from the BB. Matthew Baker

I am always raising the minimum. It is the right way forward. Depending on my table, I will sometimes mix it up but even in level one I prefer to min-raise. I want to play lots of pots because I feel I have a huge edge against my opponents and I want to play postflop.

Quick fire questions

With what hand have you busted out of tournaments the most?
Every time I used to come home from a tournament my brothers would laugh at me for busting on a flush draw! It became a big joke in our family.

How much is a large cod and chips at one of your restaurants?
A takeaway would cost you £5.25 – cheap!

Why did you wear that silly hat when you won EPT Prague?
Before I left for Prague, I collected some of my lucky possessions that I had cashed in in previous tourneys. I got the hat at an EPT Snowfest event, wore it on Day 1 and was chip leader so I didn’t take it off! The power of the hat…

What’s the biggest cash game pot you’ve ever won and can you remember the hand?
It was in the Czech Republic and was a €116k pot. I called a three-bet against a fish with Ks-9s. I raised the 9h-4s-2s flop and he moved all-in. I called and he had A-8! We ran it twice and I won them both.

What’s the biggest cash pot you’ve ever lost and can you remember the hand?
It was in the TV PartyPoker cash game. I was playing for 20 hours and had run £7k up to over £50k. I was playing great but started to get tired. I saw a flop with 2c-4c and got all the chips in versus Tony G for over £100k on a K-4-2 flop. He had top set.

Who’s your best mate in poker?
I’ve got so many but James Akenhead, Praz Bansi and Martins Adeniya are just a few. Sorry if I’ve left anyone off!

Get PokerPlayer magazine free for a year! Click here to activate your free subscription now

Pin It

Comments are closed.