Lesson from the WSOP Main Event


Today I want to share with you one of the concepts that has helped me combat good, loose, aggressive players who constantly apply pressure both before and after the flop.

In the past, I had a difficult time dealing with players who constantly raise and 3-bet (also called a reraise). I have worked hard on my game to devise a plan that would result in these normally aggressive players playing in a straightforward manner against me, allowing me to play my normal loose, aggressive strategy with little fear of being abused.

I have started applying a huge amount of pressure early in a tournament as soon as I suspect one of my opponents is getting out of line. A major benefit of making these plays early in the day is that if they fail, I do not lose too many chips. I also set the tone for the rest of the day that will result in my opponents staying out of my way.

In the 2014 WSOP main event, I had two excellent poker players at my table. I decided that if they 3-bet me early in the day, I would 4-bet, letting them know that I am not someone who will fold to small amounts of preflop and flop aggression.

Sure enough, both players decided to test me by 3-betting within the first level. I implemented my plan of applying immense pressure. I won one of the hands and lost the other, breaking even. However, the benefits of these plays were huge.

Over the next eight hours, I was only 3-bet one time. This resulted in me being able to raise with a much wider range of hands before the flop with little fear of getting bluffed. Of course, if my opponents decided to run a large bluff against me, I would probably assume they had strong hands. However, they never tried to bluff me because they assumed I would play like a maniac.

I pillaged the table and walked away as one of the chip leaders in the tournament. Had I simply folded to my opponents’ aggression early in the day, I am confident they would have continued abusing me for the rest of the day. Instead, I got to abuse them.

I actually wrote down, analyzed, and turned every significant pot I played in the 2014 WSOP Main Event into a quiz so you can learn from my successes and failures. If you haven’t already, I strongly suggest you check out Cashing the WSOP Main Event. Let me know what you think!

Thanks for reading. Be sure to check back next week for another educational blog post.