At the Dream Team Poker event, players get one last tournament to chance to win a little extra cash before leaving the WSOP. I got to my table to see some of the top online professionals at my table. Across the table, I see Jimmy “GabboBoy” Fricke, runner up at the Aussie Millions. To my right, Bryan “Devo” Devonshire, top online professional and teacher at training site PokerVT. To my left was a player named “Adam West,” Bryan knew him from online and is a successful online player.
Throughout the early levels, these 3 players dictated all the action with their frequent raises and re-reraises. I had enough of this. In typical online play, light 3-bets preflop and light 2-bets on the flop are familiar with these players and easily exploitable. So to counter-act these plays, i had to make heavy 3-bets and heavy 2-bets to take them out of their element.
My first encounter was GabboBoy. He had raised early position, I called on the button, blinds fold. Flop Ad 5h 2d. He continuation bets the flop, I raise 4x his bet. GabboBoy insta-folds. Being an online player myself, I know when aggression is taken away from me, I feel very uncertain in hands. Knowing I can’t be the only one that feels this way, I used it to my advantage against these top players. A few other hands, I 3-bet strong picking up limps, small raises, and calls. With my new found momentum, I begin to raise with suited cards.
Last position, I open the pot with 10d8d. Adam calls in the small blind, big blind folds. The flop comes QhQc5h. Actions goes check, check. Normally in this position, I would throw out a C-bet, but playing a savvy online player, I knew he would get in a value raise on the flop to take control. Turn comes an 8h. Adam checks, I bet about half the pot. Adam tanks a little bit then says to me “heart check.” I play along, look down at my cards and say, “yeah, I have one.” Adam calls, and the river comes a 5s. Now the board reads Qh Qc 5h 8h 5s. I bet a measly 1/3 of the pot for two reasons, One, to completely confuse Adam and represent a value bet, and two, to induce a bluff from this aggressive player. Adam goes into the tank for a bit and raises about 3x of my bet, close to 3/4 the pot. Running through the hand in my head for a minute or so, nothing is adding up. I thought about the speech he made, and decided that he was trying to bet me off of my high card. Ace high or King high. I call his raise and wait for him to turn over his hand, he sheepishly flips over KJo. I flip my 10d8d over and take down a nice pot of around 6k.
Devo then either compliments my play or mocks it by saying “Did you really just bet 1/3 of the pot to induce a bluff? I wish I could do that.” I give him a laugh and stack my chips and take a glance at GabboBoy. He’s sitting their with his usual blank stare and doesn’t comment.
When playing online professionals live, you must remember that they will implement their online strategy of continuous aggression. You must find moves to counter these players and make them uncomfortable. Doing this will allow you to take them out of their familiarity at the table and give you opportunities to take down reasonable sized pots throughout tournaments.