What do you make of Twitch and live streaming? I’ve been watching Jason Somerville and his Run It UP show for the past few nights and I’m completely hooked. He’s entertaining to watch but I also feel like I’m learning loads by watching him play and hearing him talk through why he’s doing certain things at certain times. Do you think it’s good for my game? Also, have you got any plans to stream on Twitch yourself?
I think live streaming on Twitch could be great for online poker. It’s already been going for years now with videogames. A guy from my home town of Gothenburg named Felix ‘PewDiePie’ Kjellberg has got something like 30m followers! Jason Somerville could be the start of something much bigger for the game of poker. I also believe that watching good players play with their hole cards visible is one of the best ways to learn, especially if you also get the thought process too. I definitely think it’s good for your game to continue watching, but I haven’t got any plans to stream in the near future.
Which poker players do you most admire at the moment and why?
I really rate Steve O’Dwyer. He has been running hot and is also a very nice guy. I was sat next to him at EPT Malta and was impressed with the way he calmly played a lot of hands, accumulating chips, most of the time without showdown.
Bluff the nit
I read an article on the PokerPlayer website recently about five online moves (click to read) and I’ve been trying to add them to my game. Do you have a ‘move’ that you use a lot and find successful?
One move that should be in your arsenal is to bluff the nit in a big pot – you should always take advantage of players that are too tight. Always maintain your focus at the table and watch for opponents who are weak and buckle when they are faced with any sort of resistance.
Examples of this type of player can be found in countless games, so here’s how you can exploit them and take their chips. This hand is from a $2/$4 game online that I played recently.
UTG raises to $14 and a tight player on the button calls. I call with 4♠-5♠ in the big blind making the pot $44. The flop falls a very draw heavy, J♠-9♦-6♦. I check and so do both other players. The turn is the A♠, giving me more equity with the flush draw. I check again, as does the player UTG, which prompts the button to bet $34 into the pot. Knowing this player I think they most likely have a pair of Aces in this spot – I can’t put them on anything stronger because they would likely have bet out on the flop.
With this in mind, I decide to represent a stronger hand than a pair of Aces and make a semi-bluff, raising the action to $88. My raise prompts UTG to fold and the button to call, but not before tanking. When the 3♣ falls on the river the pot is $220 and I continue with my bluff and bet out $150. My opponent folds pretty quickly and I win the pot with Five-high because I noticed this opponent folds a lot when he’s under pressure.
Do you wear sunglasses at the table when you’re playing live? I find it hard to look people in the eye, especially if I’m bluffing, and was wondering if this would help me? If not, have you got any tips for perfecting a stare like Mike McDonald’s?
When I first started to play live tournaments I always used sunglasses because I felt like it was more difficult to get a read on me. The shades will definitely help you feel more comfortable when you’re in an important hand, so I definitely think you should try it.
I’ve actually stopped wearing them over the past few years. I like to chat with other players and I also feel I can control myself and not give away tells now.
When it’s my turn and I need to make some kind of decision, I study my opponents to get tells. When it’s my opponent’s turn to act I usually look down at the table and try to give away as little as possible.
Groundhog day 2
I struggle with Day 2s of tournaments and I need help! I’ve regularly made Day 2 of live mid-stakes buy-ins (£500-£1,000) with an average or above-average stack, but can’t seem to run this into making the money. I’m always confident and never get intimidated by it, but I don’t seem to be able to adjust to rising blinds/new players. Have you got any tips? Kevin Willis
First of all Kevin, if you’re frequently reaching Day 2 of £500-£1,000 live tournaments with an average stack, you’re doing well. If you develop your game to cope with the rising blinds and big differences in stack sizes on Day 2, you’ll soon be cashing more frequently.
There’s some really good advice about playing Day 2 of a tournament in this article from PokerPlayer’s website (click to read). As you’ll see you have to play differently depending on the stack sizes, seating and if it’s early or closer to the bubble.
Have patience though and don’t forget that less then 15% of players reach the money in a live tournament. It means busting before the money happens 85% of the time. A top player could easily bust 20 consecutive tournaments. The variance is ridiculous and that’s why you need a big bankroll to play them.
In what way, if any, do you use your poker skills in your daily life?
I really think that poker is the ultimate mental game and also actually says something about life.
To me life is like poker, you can’t just play your own cards but also have to think about the other players’ cards too. I also think poker players would make good negotiators. We could easily call a bluff and also execute one if the situation called for it.
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