Learning from Phil Hellmuth Jr.

ph-wsope-logoI was recently honored to host a live webinar with 13-time WSOP bracelet winner Phil Hellmuth Jr. While Phil is a bit of an enigma in the poker world because no one quite understands how he wins on a consistent basis in high stakes poker tournaments, I knew there were countless skills I could learn from him. When you have the opportunity to discuss poker strategy with one of the most successful poker players in the world, you listen!

Since the webinar, I have implemented numerous concepts we discussed, drastically increasing my profits at the table.

One of the most important concepts he discussed was the idea that if you have played poker for a long time and studied the game diligently, as I have, you should tend to trust your reads. Since our webinar, I have worked hard on my reading abilities and they seem to be paying off.

I recently played in a $13,000 high roller event in Barcelona. There was one player at the table who was obviously splashing around. Everyone was making a point to play pots with him. Even though he was clearly playing junky hands, he always had the nuts when his opponents decided to call his large postflop bets.

Eventually I raised with A-T from middle position, the splashy guy called in the small blind and the Big Blind also called. The flop came 4-4-3. The splashy guy made a bet and I decided to call. The turn was a J. He bet again and I called. The river was an 8 and he bet enough to put me all-in, which was around the size of the pot.

Seeing how he had only shown the nuts when he took overly aggressive lines in the past, this would normally be an easy fold. However, something did not feel right. I can’t quite quantify what it was, but he looked nervous. I thought he would play numerous busted draws in this manner. My main concern was that he could be bluffing with a hand such as 2-2 or A-Q, which would be a disaster for me.

However, I went with my read and called. He showed the 5-2 and I doubled up with my marginal A-high.

While this is certainly an extreme example, if I did not have the amazing learning experience with Phil, I would have folded. Instead, I won $13,000 in equity.

To get instant access to this enlightening learning experience with Phil Hellmuth Jr. where he discusses numerous other strategies he implements to constantly win poker tournaments, check out the webinar here: Learning from Phil Hellmuth Webinarph-wsope-logo

4 Comments

  • Jared says:

    Nice call.

    The math on this is really complicated but doubling your starting stack in a $13,000 buy in tournament is never worth anywhere close to another $13,000 in equity.

    • Early in a tournament, the raw equity of doubling is close to 2x the equity of the starting stack (perhaps if a starting stack is worth $10,000, a doubled stack would be worth $19,900). Of course, as you approach the bubble, things start to change drastically. I give the numbers on this in my chapter on final table play of my new book, Excelling at No Limit Hold’em. I actually know a lot of pros who would happily flip on the first hand because they think they have a much larger edge once they have a large chip stack that they can use to abuse their scared opponents.

  • Athenian says:

    If you could purchase a second starting stack from the house, to double up, for $13,000, would you do it?

    Some people clearly would – especially those loose players more than willing to double up or re-enter.

    And some people never would – especially those for whom the original buy in was already straining their bankroll

    • The first question you should ask is how much you would pay for your initial starting stack. Suppose it is a $10,000 event and your ROI is 50%, assuming you do not value your time and you have an infinite bankroll, you should be willing to pay $14,999. For the second stack, it would be some number less than that. I imagine if you have a 50% ROI, $13,000 for a double up is a bargain. If you have a 30% ROI, $13,000 for another stack is a horrible deal.

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