MTT Poker Player

I am a Professional Poker Player and Coach from England.

Thursday, 28 March 2019

The Poker Player With 2 Faces!

I wanted to talk a little about the 2 poker players you need to be to succeed.

The first type is they type that understands how to play versus regs. Which encompasses GTO, being aware of our preflop image, minimum defence frequencies, and generally being completely balanced until we pick up on something in their game which is a leak. We then can adjust the equilibrium accordingly.

The second is our ability to play using environmental tendencies, taking advantage of hand reading to dictate sizing and making exploitable bets/calls/bluffs. This is how poker players played prior to the GTO insertion in the industry. Nowadays this is used vs fish.

The reason i feel this topic is interesting is most players still tend to use one too much or maybe even just one.

I have attached a hand from one of my students that i recently reviewed. The interesting thing about this hand is was approached from a completely exploitable point of view, which allowed the student to think about hand reading and combinatrix to work out the amount of combos and then make a decision.

The funny thing about this hand is that we get to similar conclusions using both methods, but the exploitable methods lets him make some calls even when he holds a spade and a straight draw blocker(essentially folds by GTO since we block too many bluffs) if he still believes the amount of bluffs is sufficient.

I do lots of hand breakdowns on this blog and this isn't the purpose here(although i'm happy to do that in future if needs be.) By not being so rigid in his approach to this situation and similar hands he gives himself multiple methods to approach poker play. The benefits are many, by using both he can compare lines and work out which has a higher $EV, he can view hands from different player types clearer and lastly he will always have more room for creativity in his game if and when needs be.

***** Hand History for Game 1111111111 ***** (IPoker)
$60.00 USD NL Texas Hold'em - Tuesday, March 19, 12:05:25 ET 2019
Table 12601362667 (Real Money)
Seat 3 is the button
Seat 10: Player10 ( $67.67 USD ) - VPIP: 39, PFR: 9, 3B: 2, AF: 1.5, Hands: 1676
Seat 1: Player1 ( $36.36 USD ) - VPIP: 42, PFR: 14, 3B: 5, AF: 1.5, Hands: 250
Seat 3: Player3 ( $9.00 USD ) - VPIP: 28, PFR: 4, 3B: 0, AF: 1.9, Hands: 156
Seat 5: Hero ( $81.03 USD ) - VPIP: 26, PFR: 18, 3B: 6, AF: 2.4, Hands: 2804
Seat 6: Player6 ( $37.42 USD ) - VPIP: 45, PFR: 11, 3B: 5, AF: 2.0, Hands: 1518
Seat 8: Player8 ( $148.36 USD ) - VPIP: 36, PFR: 23, 3B: 10, AF: 1.2, Hands: 677
Hero posts small blind [$0.30 USD].
Player6 posts big blind [$0.60 USD].
** Dealing down cards **
Dealt to Hero [  8h Qs ]
Player8 folds
Player10 folds
Player1 folds
Player3 calls [$0.60 USD]
Hero calls [$0.30 USD]
Player6 checks
** Dealing Flop ** [ 2c, Ts, Qh ]
Hero bets [$0.90 USD]
Player6 calls [$0.90 USD]
Player3 calls [$0.90 USD]
** Dealing Turn ** [ 6s ]
Hero checks
Player6 bets [$2.25 USD]
Player3 calls [$2.25 USD]
Hero calls [$2.25 USD]
** Dealing River ** [ 6h ]
Hero checks
Player6 bets [$5.62 USD]
Player3 folds
Hero calls [$5.62 USD]
Hero wins $20.77 USD from main pot
Player6 shows [9c, 9d ]

I hope you enjoyed the read, and hopefully it gets you thinking differently going forward.

I currently have a couple of spaces for coaching, where not only will i teach you GTO methods but also thinking for yourself and developing environmental and situational reads.

Message me for a free consultation -

Good Luck :)

Tuesday, 27 November 2018

To Game Theory, Or Not To Game Theory! An Example In Hand Reading

So this hand came up in an $11 Freezeout on Party.

Now todays game is so deeply entangled in GTO this and GTO that it can cause you to rely on GTO 100% rather than using the hand reading which you relied on prior. Now i am not in anyway saying dont use GTO, or that its not useful, it is very useful when applied. But recognise balancing vs fish will leave money on the table.

So to the hand;

The player in question here, our villain, is loose and passive. You can see player 2's stats below.

Seat 1 is the button
Seat 1: Player1 ( 1255679 ) - VPIP: 21, PFR: 18, 3B: 7, AF: 2.2, Hands: 240
Seat 5: Hero ( 2348896 ) - VPIP: 21, PFR: 15, 3B: 7, AF: 2.7, Hands: 10097
Seat 2: Player2 ( 2808829 ) - VPIP: 35, PFR: 3, 3B: 3, AF: 0.7, Hands: 188
Seat 6: Player6 ( 1003773 ) - VPIP: 12, PFR: 12, 3B: 9, AF: 0.0, Hands: 68
Seat 8: Player8 ( 1833280 ) - VPIP: 17, PFR: 15, 3B: 11, AF: 0.0, Hands: 75
Player2 posts small blind [42000].
Hero posts big blind [84000].
** Dealing down cards **
Dealt to Hero [  2h 8s ]
Player1 posts ante of [10600].
Hero posts ante of [10600].
Player2 posts ante of [10600].
Player6 posts ante of [10600].
Player8 posts ante of [10600].
Player6 folds
Player8 folds
Player1 folds
Player2 calls [42000]
Hero checks
** Dealing Flop ** [ 2s, Kc, 4s ]
Player2 checks
Hero bets [88400]
Player2 calls [88400]
** Dealing Turn ** [ Th ]
Player2 checks
Hero checks
** Dealing River ** [ Ad ]
Player2 bets [397800]

First question is Preflop; I did even consider iso raising this hand vs said villain as he was passive and folding lots. Not because its the polarised GTO way to play vs limps. But i decided that a 100% Iso strategy was extreme for now.


Once we go to the flop i manage to pick up bottom pair without any real kicker. Once villain checks its almost always good for us to bet flop to try and take the pot down now vs this type of villain, as he will have very few c/r bluffs and most stronger hands would lead. We protect the equity we have in the pot and take the lead, but also we define range to start to hand read.

I went for a 40% pot stab, you could even go smaller than this, but until i have a decent grasp on their defence vs a smaller size i settled on a slightly bigger size, which deosnt have to work very often. i am offering myself a very good price on the bet, even if we lose and have 0% equity everytime we are called(which is false.)

The math is 40(my bet size%)/140(size of pot% after my bet) = 28.57% fold equity to break even.

Now if this fish is giving up almost everytime he doesnt have a pair or draw he is folding over 50%(Is a rough estimation without written reads.) So the value in betting here is monumental if you can get away with it. Compare that with how tough it is when almost every turn card is bad if you check back.

What does it mean when he calls? Well his range is mostly non Kx hands(they would bet for the most part) So its made up of some 4x, all of his 2x, some small PPs maybe, flush draws, Some straight draw 65/63 and lastly some slowplays. Remember just cause its unlikely villain has a strong hand doesnt mean its 0, this is a game of imperfect information.


Now the Tx doesnst really change too much. Sure some Tx spades have gone ahead, but thats it. Now i have 2 choices at this point; i can check back and take my showdown value, or bluff and try and move him off most his pairs that are better and get value from draws. FWIW i dont think betting here is too bad, it would almost certainly make money and is arguable whether its even the better play. But i decided to check back and take my showdown value. Another instance of possibly going against GTO and over bluffing turn by betting all draws and lots of 2x, but notice its fine here.


The Ax on the river doesn't complete any draws but brings another overcard, and our villain bets full pot. So what does it mean? and whats the breakdown of combos?

Well this size bet is very polarising and as such he will very rarely have Kx or Tx.

So what makes sense for value? Well he shouldnt really have too many pure Ax, i know he is pretty tight preflop but he is raising most Ax pre, the smaller Ax he may limp. So lets say on average he has A6-A2 in terms of pure Ax. Now he had been playing reasonably fit/fold since i had sat down 50 hands prior. Does he really call very many Ax non paired on the flop? The answer is no probably not very many. So A2,some A4(cant discount he doesnt lead some of them on flop) and A3-A6spades.

So to total the Ax hands(By the way its very reasonable to believe he maybe wouldn't go full pot with any of these Ax hands above) A2= 6 combos, A4= 9 combos(but we will discount some that will lead) and say 6 combos.Plus the 4 Ax spades. So total Ax of 16 plus the slowplays which are 22/44 and 42s so 16+ 5 = 21 combos we lose to.

Learning the combinatrix is just as important as the deductive reasoning. By learning these numbers i can do these on the spot in a lot of situations. But you get a good feel if you study them. Always do the hands you to lose to first as well. If i know its 21 combos i lose to, and i am getting 2/1 on the river, i need to beat 10.5 combos to break even.

What makes sense as a bluff? well at 35 vpip i would suggest he has a lot of flush draws here that may bluff - Q8s-Q2s, J8s-J2s, T8s-T2s, 98s-93s, 76s-73s, 65-63s. Now i understand there is some card removal here, so it comes out to 4+4+4+4+3+2= 21 combos. It would also encompass 65 and 63, even if we say just suited versions that is another 8. So we have a minimum of 29 combos that could bluff.

So 29 possible bluff hands and 10.5 needed. That means he needs to be bluffing here 36% to break even. Most probably lower as we touched upon with the size of his Ax size bets, not all fish would value bet that large with Ax.

Now look at our line, bet flop small, give up turn, scary river. Even the most passive of players will seize this opportunity with our line more than 36%.

** Dealing River ** [ Ad ]
Player2 bets [397800]
Hero calls [397800]
Player2 shows [7c, 3s ]
Hero shows [2h, 8s ]
Hero wins 1193400 from main pot

I currently have a couple spaces for coaching, where not only will i teach you GTO methods but also thinking for yourself and developing environmental and situational reads.

Message me for a free consultation -

Good luck :)

Friday, 4 November 2016

WSOP Final Table, Is Ruzicka Supposed To Go Out Bluffing?!

So firstly i realise it has been ages since i updated my blog, but hey i have been working hard and have a beautiful girlfriend taking up the rest of my time. Hope you enjoy this entry.

Firstly i wanted to talk about the Main Event WSOP final table. For me one of the best in the current era and overall just very entertaining. Congratulations to Qui Nguyen for taking it down!

So lets get into it. Lots of good players in the final 9, i was looking at Josephy,Vayo, Ruzicka, Ruane, Benger and Wong. Very strong 2/3 were players of a high caliber. Josephy with chip lead was of course justified favorite.

I wanted to pick out a talking point that i have seen floating about. The talking point was how people perceived Ruzicka's treble bluff a spewy blow up! Was it? Vayo(who was his opponent in this hand) was playing so snug and tight passive that in a 3 bet pot on Q84 he knew even if he had a Q here he would lay down a big % by the river. Lets imagine Vayo has 88/44/AQ/KQ/QJs/QTs/TT/99 by the river(which seems about right especially against Ruzicka who loves to blast off more than most, very capable) he can call the river with 88/44/AQ but prob folds the rest the way he was playing(KQ is close based upon his mindset.)

So lets count up those combos:

Calling = 88-3 combos, 44-3 combos, AQ-9 combos(Ruzicka had AK here which also plays a part here as it blocks AQ and KQ), lets give half of KQ as im not sure what he does so-4.5 combos. So that is 3+3+9+4.5=19.5 combos.

Folding = KQ-4.5 combos, QJs-3 combos,QTs-3 combos, TT-6 combos and 99-6 combos. So thats 4.5+3+3+6+6= 22.5 combos.

He bets around 70% pot as a bluff on river. 70/170= 41.18% fold is break even. Does he fold more than this? Of course, in fact he folds more than 50% by our math above. Of course in practice Ruane was very short at this point so definitely ICM is in play here. But it still isn't bigger than 25% based upon payouts.

So actually ladies and gents not betting here is a massive mistake.

I will in the coming weeks take a look at the big Q9 hand that everyone wants to look at heads up and give my opinion on it.

Thanks for reading and ill try and update more often :D

Run good to you all!!

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Changes Galore!

For those of you that have had a chance to read my "About Me" within the last day or so will have noticed that I have now left my staking agreement and moved on to playing on my own bankroll.

If that wasn't a big enough change I have also changed the games I play from SNGs to MTTs. I feel that the fish to reg ratio at SNGs at the $15 and up mark is prob 60-70% regs(albeit 75% bad regs), whereas the same ratio in MTTs is prob only 35% regs(still 75% bad regs). So after a discussion with some good poker friends of mine I made the decision to change game and go alone.

I managed to get a very good deal where for the next year I will be getting 57% rakeback. This is on a sports betting site so you get a lot of sports betters and random recreational players in my games which obviously adds to my winrate.

I am playing professionally now full time so you can see me at all times of the day grinding away. I am also looking into starting my own private coaching at this moment in time on a no win no fee basis. So I will coach you and you don't pay me until you are in profit.

Here are some graphs:                                   Last 2500 SNGs

I am $5000 in profit over the last 500 MTTs but I have stopped people searching me online and this is a small sample. But if anyone really wants to see this ill show them. I have been staked twice, coached twice and also have over $3500 in profit from 6 max/FR Cash games.

I am offering coaching on NLHE MTTs/SNGs. Contact @TheMachine1984 on twitter for more information.

Anyways back to the grind...

Thanks for reading

Monday, 18 February 2013

It Is All Coming Together!

It has been a while since i have written a blog entry but i have a few things to talk about.

Since my last blog entry in November i feel like a lot has changed for me mentally. Now don't get me wrong i felt like i was playing well before this, but it feels like in the last 2-3 months my game has started to really come together and i feel like big things are only around the corner for me.

Me and Viktor(my sng coach) have studied and gone through a few different things including; Bubble play, playing against good and bad regulars, getting thin value and taking unorthodox lines and i also did some research of my own into HU play and studied some raising, 3 betting and calling 3bet ranges. All of these things combined have sent my confidence to an all time high and although January was a bad month for me variance wise my results are starting to come good at the $15's and the $10's on FT.

I would argue with anybody that does not think confidence has a major part to play in a poker players base rate. When you are confident you give yourself a chance to get into that very allusive often talked about magic mental state called the zone, the more often you are there put quite simply the more money you will make. Next time you are running bad or simply feel that your moral is low just go back to basics, think through lines, how you appear to other plays and how any meta game effects a particular decision and do your best to make the highest EV+ decision. One thing i cant stress enough is you are never gonna play perfect, you cant, i cant, Phil Ivey cant, you are trying to make fewer mistakes than your opponents and that will make you money.

I have been moved up to solely playing $15 SNGs on Pokerstars now by Team Moshman which has not coincidentally coincided with my above statements.

Away from actually playing poker in the last few months i stumbled across a small poker community. Mainly through boredom one day i searched paid to post poker entries into Google and stumbled across It is a small bunch of poker players(it used to be a large community but obviously after Black Friday only a small amount of members remained) that are very close knit and have welcomed me as one of there own. There are some decent players within this community and in my opinion its the best on the web.

Lastly i would like to give a shout out to a mate of mine, Daniel beraducci who is a mental health counselor who specialises in sport performance improvement. If you find you tilt easily or need any help with the mental side of the game he can help you with this and bring your game forward. His skype username is personholisticinnovations. Just tell him machine1984 sent you.

Anyone interested in the poker community i was talking about, you can find it here- my username there is machine1984.

Thanks for reading

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

It has been a while since i have written a blog entry and i will try to update more often in future(although it seems you will have take this with a pinch of salt lol).

Anyhow to what has been happening. Here are my results since 27th Aug 2012.

As you can see i am winning over the 543 tourneys i have played. My winrate is 5.7% ROI with an ITM of 39%. I have definitely ran bad over this time even though it looks as if i have ran good, i expect my ITM to be 40%+.

Since my last blog entry i have continued to improve my game and i feel as i write this that i am playing the best poker of my life. I feel more in touch with game flow to the extent that my ROI in my mind has improved by at least 2% this year.

I have not stopped my improvement as a player and decided to download a HU Ebook as i felt and do still feel this is by far the weakest part of my overall game and this is a leak i am determine to fix so as to improve my winrate by even more.

Lastly I just want to mention the pub league in which i play in. Essentially there are 17 players in the pub i play, the top 2 qualify for a regional final and then there is a 8 man play-off for the final place. I won my league by a long way last season and as such i have received a glass trophy and a place in the regional final on the 4th of December. The regional final will be free for me to enter with a top prize of £500 and a place in a national final with more cash and also Las Vegas holidays. 

Anyone who wants to follow my progress in the current season you can do so here- my name is Ben Smith.

Thanks for reading

Monday, 27 August 2012

Been a while!

It has been a while since i have written a blog entry and i will try to update more often in future.

Anyhow to what has been happening. Here are my results since Jan 2012.

As you can see i am winning over the 2401 tourneys i have played this year. My winrate is 7.0% ROI with an ITM of 40.7%. I also think these results are probably a bit skewed as i feel that my game since April has improved dramatically.

As far as why has my game improved so dramatically, i have to put that down to my coach who is a high limit SNG pro and has managed to fix a few leaks that i didn't even realise i had which has in turned improved my confidence. I am now a more aggressive player capable of different lines and a balanced range vs regs at my limit. I have also taken time to improve my HU game. The best bit of advice you will hear in the poker community is don't stand still, if you improve even slightly in comparison to the better players at your limit then your edge will become bigger and your ROI will increase.

Work hard and results will come!

Thanks for reading