Every Wednesday we play 2 poker tournaments on Stars for about a year now. It’s the same 10+ or so people, and I’ve developed some good reads of how people play. Normally you would never tell a person their tell, but I’m fairly certain it won’t matter to my end results. The Stars rankings can be skewed by the amount of tournaments they have played and I’m not ranking the player in this post.

WhatIsAWren18 (1.67 avg)

Patient for a good hand helps his cause to being a sold player. I’d argue he’s a little on the tight side pre flop but that’s not a bad thing considering he’s finding the winner’s circle. This statement might kill Bud’s game, and for that I apologize, but he’s not a player I’m generally going to lose a lot of chips to. I’ll bet most hands against him and if he fold’s, great. If he calls, I’m going to need a big piece of the flop or draw to my hand. He has the ability to adapt if he needs to, but it takes him out of his comfort zone and he doesn’t like that. Being tight, I’d guess that he can get carried way if his opportunity doesn’t seem like it’ll come around again.

TailsPSU (.68 avg)

Still using the 3x blind pre flop raise results in big pots if you’re going to get involved in a hand with him. Evan’s range is wide, but he has a good understanding of hand valuation. I tend to be more of a caller / trapper than looking to extract value through bets. According to him, he loses most races which makes his win rate lower than what it should be. My guess is if he tightened up his calling range and opened up his pushing range, he’d find the money more often.

jcohen93, thewisesteve, Soup-a-Loop23

Still on the learning side of the game, they are getting better with understanding hand strengths, but the way the bet sizing works with regard to their stack is questionable. For instance, they call a pre flop raise for 500 with 1,000 in their stack behind and then fold to a bet if they miss. This goes hand in hand with not having the best grasp on push / fold when they have less than 10bb’s left. It’s a game of patience and these guys can get too excited with a JQ off suit in crunch time and blow chips. Also knowing when the time to push K6 when it’s folded around to them has not been taught. They also seem to love to gamble against each other which is funny. I would guess they don’t think about what the other person can be holding nearly enough.

Addashee (.69 avg)

Adam’s a better player than his results speak currently. I know he understands hand strength and has good ability to read situations with above average ability to lay down the hand when he thinks he’s beat. This can also be a hinderance too because he’ll over think hands. His pre-flop calling range is tighter than most people probably think (he may think he’s looser than most people think), but this can also be a negative because I’m not putting him on 67 suited very often. Sort of similar to Bud that I’m not going to run big bluffs and I’ll show up with big hands if I’m going to play a big pot. If Adam tried to accumulate more chips in the beginning, I don’t think he’d find himself short stacked as often in the money game. He just needs to use his hand reading ability early on.

Matzah Fagioli (.98 avg)

Sam’s got the better of me in a few spots when we’ve been near the end. People don’t forget. I don’t tend to mess with Sam much in big hands unless I have the goods because I frankly won’t be able to put him on a hand that often. This means that I’m not sure what his hand strength is because I’m not sure he always has a great idea on how strong his hand is. My showdown though would be looser than what I would show up with against Bud. Top pair or two pair is usually not being folded in showdown by me. If Sam were to tighten up his range he might become too predictable so I’d say to keep working out the kinks. Push fold would probably be a great place to start.

JCBakes (1.49 avg)

He’s an all or nothing type guy who seems to accumulate chips, make it to the end, then can self destruct by the money. His aggression makes him a strong player in our game because he’ll bet at a lot of pots. I stay out of his way for the most part but will implement a check/call if I think I’m good and look to check/raise if I think I have him. This tends to have mixed results because he’ll fold if he’s beat. I’ve gotten the better of him the last few weeks so I have a feeling he’ll be a bit more cautious around me which means I’ll be looking to bluff more. He probably gives me too much respect and I don’t give him enough.

covyandmelon (.93 avg)

I like Sam’s game a lot and he think he has minor leaks. He’s aggressive and puts me on the cusp of being too passive against him because I think he’s always betting which makes me on the calling side with WAY weaker hands than I do with other people. It’s sort of a brother sense that if the flop is dry, and he bets, I’ll get the feeling that my Ace high is good. Then if another card comes, it’s always a brick in my mind. Sam’s win rate is decent, but he’s an all or nothing player in terms of accumulating chips, and isn’t scared to shove it in. With a bit more of caution, perhaps he’d be better…or worse.

NJPokerKing1 (1.1 avg)

Self proclaimed King. Alex is a decent player with a major leak or two. He plays a fair amount of hands which allows him to get paid off when he hits a hand which is a huge advantage. It allows him to have chips when he reaches the final table. My read is his weakness is when there are 4 or 5 players and the game has tightened. Pot odds are your friend and I think Alex dismisses this in favor of hand strength which is a no-no. For example, if he is in the BB for 500 with his stack being 4k and someone raises 1750 AI, there is already nearly 1k in the post (SB & antes) and it costs him 1,250 more to win 2,250 AND he won’t be knocked out of the tournament if he loses. In this spot, I know the person putting in 1,750 is in desperation mode and their hand strength can be virtually anything. I’d be looking to call with a hand like K6. I also wouldn’t think making a call with 89 suited is crazy. Even calling with almost any hand isn’t terrible. With improved situational awareness, Alex would cash more often.

rnningfool (1.28 avg)

Save the best for last. I’ll throw out a few tournament thoughts for the hell of it. I’m not a great player by any means but I’ve played quite a bit so take this for what you want. Playing more hands early on to accumulate a stack is good strategy. This doesn’t mean getting involved for all your chips with top pair, top kicker, but you’re looking to hit hands. I like pre-flop raising 2.25x to keep the pots small and take the initiative. If the game was tougher, I’d utilize 3 betting more to play bigger pots with my better hands. I prefer to have drawing hands that when they hit, I know I’m good over guessing whether my top pair is going to out kick or lose to their two pair. I’m set mining all the time. My advantage in these tournaments is when the blinds get big. When you have under 10x the big blind, your move is all in pre flop or coming over the top of someone’s open. This isn’t a hard and fast statement, but you should be looking for spots to steal. Opening a KQ for all your chips UTG is a great way to lose 7 handed. I’d rather push the K7 suited from the button trying to get past the blinds. If the blinds know I’m going to do it, then I’ll push weaker from an earlier position if I think the timing is right. People have to respect your raises more from an earlier position. If we ever get to the end, I’d put myself up against anyone heads up for money.

Hope you enjoyed this. I’m sure the game on Wednesday will have a new flavor and hopefully we can get some new blood now that all my reads are out there. Thanks for reading!