Stilettomafiosa - Jamie Burland

Stilettomafiosa - Jamie Burland

Friday, 3 August 2012

UKIPT champion Jamie Burland talks coaching with Adam 'Snoopy' Goulding.

We understand you’ve been doing a lot of coaching recently…

I do a lot of training as a Blue Belt on Black Belt Poker, but Kevin Williams and I have also set up a coaching group on Facebook which focuses on low-to-mid stakes MTTs. We’re inviting players to bring us their hands or recorded sessions so we can reach an understanding of how they’re approaching the game. From there, we can suggest a way forward and help them with those aspects of their game that are holding them back.

What are the the main issues you're witnessing with break-even players?

People bust themselves way too early. I think you make a lot more money when multi-tabling by getting more stacks into the middle stages of the tournament than other players. This doesn’t mean just folding for the first two hours, but perhaps adjusting what you do with hands. Personally, I’ve been under-repping some of my premium hands and decreasing my 3-betting range as I believe I can extract more value during these stages by disguising my hand.

At the same time, players often value their tournament lives too highly and don’t understand the importance of volume in MTTs, and what that means. Once you really knuckle down and truly appreciate those figures a little bit more, you can start to realise where your plus-EV spots are, rather than being too worried about what happens if you’re called.

What is the most common cliché you hear?

“If I get called, I'm 50-50 at best.” It’s a terrible cliché that people overuse and misuse, and I don’t think it makes much sense in the spots they’re often talking about. It’s definitely a problem with some of the tighter players in the game, as that whole concept ignores fold equity. It’s so much better to win without showdown, as even if you’re ahead you’ve still got to survive the hand. You want to be looking to take that variance out of your game.

A lot of players are moving to MTTs. How did you find the transition?

It can be difficult, because you have to be a lot more organised and work it around your social life, but I saw a lot of value in MTTs. I spoke to Jono Crute – who is one of the most successful online players in Ireland – and he was adamant that the best way to build a bankroll was through 180-man SNGs as the variance is a little lower. It also forced me to get better at push-fold ranges, bubble spots and final table play – just getting a natural instinct for those spots was really crucial and has helped me a lot.

What are your thoughts on variance and how players deal with it?

Like I say, a lot of players don’t fully appreciate the value of volume. They feel that if they get a few results, then they are entitled to something back, but I think that shows a poor understanding of expected results in tournaments. I think I'm better at visualising how the numbers work than some people. I know that if I log in and play $2,000 worth of tournaments every day, then I'm going to make $200-400 in a night – that should be a reasonable return when my ROI is something like 1.3%.

There are tournaments out there with overlays that not enough players are entering. It’s literally dead money and you have to be there to take it. By playing these you can reduce your variance. If you’ve got an overlay, even a 5% one, it’s like playing a tournament without rake. It’s taking the money off your expenses and adding it to your profits.

Have you noticed any new trends in tournament poker that we should be aware of?

I really think Sklansky’s gap concept has come back into play. I think it’s come back around, and people are tightening up again from under the gun because they all opened up their range for a while in that position, so now everyone thinks it’s a great spot to 3-bet-jam lighter than usual because it looks so strong.

What kind of skill set do you need to become a coach?

Some people are just very good at listening to players and being able to hear what they're saying, even if they’re not saying what they think. Sometimes players will be telling you their problems without truly knowing it themselves, and you have to be good at identifying those issues.

A natural player is going to have a harder time teaching people because what he does is instinctive, but a player who has worked hard to get where he is will be able to translate the message a bit easier. There are some players who have never read a poker book or watched a video, yet still make high-level technical moves. They won’t necessarily be able to express what they are doing; they just know it’s the right thing to do.

How important is having a circle of poker friends?

Networking is really important and an area that I think everyone can work on. I don’t pester people, but if I have someone on Skype and I’m not sure about something, I might just ping them a hand history and ask them to take a look. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with asking people for help; if they have time, they’ll get back to you, and if they don’t, then there’s no harm done. In a time when people are looking for backing deals, being proactive and sending hands to potential backers has got to be a good way of showing that you’re not just clicking buttons but looking to improve as a poker player.

What part of your own game would you like to work on?

I know that one area I’m very weak in is 3-bet sizing. I thought I was miles off, because I saw a pattern emerging where a lot of the regulars were clicking it back [min-re-raising] with 30-big blind stacks and then folding to an all-in rather than just 4-bet shoving.

Tags: Jamie Burland, coaching, Adam Goulding, Snoopy, interviews