Sam Trickett: Taking shots and running good

Nottingham-born poker hotshot Sam Trickett has shown he has the game and gamble to take him to the top. Ross Jarvis finds out how you can follow his lead…

Sam Trickett got his first big poker breakthrough at the 2008 WSOP, when he finished fourth in the $5k six-max NLHE for $245,927. On his return from Vegas the 23-year-old followed up his WSOP success by winning the GUKPT Luton main event for £109,000. 2009 wasn’t as kind to Trickett, but he did manage to increase his profile, coming fourth at the Late Night Poker final and outlasting top-class players such as Tony G and Patrik Antonius in the process.

Here Trickett talks about his unorthodox views on bankroll management, the importance of game selection and the simple mistakes that too many people make in tournaments.

Bankroll risks

I can’t stop playing high – I’m just a degenerate. I spoke to Luke Schwartz about bankroll management recently and he’d spoken to Isildur about it. Both of them agree that if you keep pressing and pushing you’ll eventually run good – even if it’s just for a week. The amount of money you can win in that week can set you up for life.

When you’re running good and you’re winning you should always take shots. I don’t think you should ever just stay at a level until you’re super bankrolled for it – you might be missing value all the time! If you’re good enough to crush the level you’re at, take a chance and find out if you’re good enough to beat the higher games. It depends what you want from poker – if you want to pay the rent and have a wage then it’s good to grind away at the same stakes, but I don’t want that from poker – I want to win lots of money!

Omaha kid

I sort of knew what I was doing at pot-limit Omaha but I started off playing $25/$50 and $200/$400 online! It didn’t go too bad – I probably lost $50k. I’d definitely recommend playing PLO at small stakes.

If you’re a good player at PLO you have a much bigger edge than you do at hold’em. Everyone has a pretty good idea of how to play hold’em now. Even if someone is a bad player it’s still quite tricky to win if they play aggressively and you’re not catching any cards. But in PLO I feel like people don’t have the same aggression factor because they’re so scared of the nuts all the time. People can’t make big calls because they’re so scared. I used to go wrong by being a bit of a check-caller in PLO. I used to put myself in awkward spots where I was guessing a lot. But if you take the lead and control the pot you know where you are in every hand and you don’t really get in many tricky spots.

Cash and carry

If I didn’t play cash games I would have been struggling [last] year. I lost £100,000 in tournaments but my cash games pulled me through – I probably won £10,000 overall. All the best players are good at cash games. There are only a few players in the world who only play tournaments [and still do well]. Phil Hellmuth is one.

When you play a tourney some people get carried away too early. If they raise to 150 they feel they have to continuation-bet every time. I’m not interested in nicking small pots early on; I like to wait for the ante to kick in and then step it up a few gears. In a cash game though, I’ll c-bet flops 100% of the time if the pot is heads-up. I play far more aggressively, especially if the stacks are deep.

Pick ’n’ mix

If you take poker seriously, and especially if you have responsibilities like a family, then game selection is the second most important thing behind bankroll management. If you look around for the softer players and games you are going to win more often.

If you’re a good player you can easily tell who the fish are – the kind of people who open-limp or get their bet sizing totally wrong. Watch a few games before you sit in them, see how people are playing, and try and pick up on any weaknesses you think you can exploit.

In live games there are people who will stack off with just one pair when they are deep-stacked. Even if you’re tired and don’t feel like playing you have to sit in those games. They’re not around as much as they used to be, so you have to take advantage when you can.

Friendly advice

I have some really good friends in poker. Paul Jackson and Julian Thew helped me out from the start and I could ask them for advice when things weren’t going right. It’s really good to talk to the Hit Squad about hands. With them being young lads, too, we all go out, have a few beers, and help each other out when one player is tilting.

I’m quite sociable at the table and I like talking. You don’t find me listening to my iPod much when I’m playing. I’ve met quite a few people through poker. Sometimes there are hands where all three options – call, raise or fold – are available, and it’s good to ask people about those hands. I know a few players who think there is only one way to play it in their head. Those guys never really improve. 

PokerPlayer magazine is now free on your phone or tablet! 

Download the latest version of PokerPlayer on Android or iOS now
Living in the US? Get American PokerPlayer for Android or iOS here

Pin It

Comments are closed.