Thursday, 13 December 2012
PKR.com's Vladimir “Beyne” Geshkenbein on how to be a loose-aggressive Russian maniac.
A lot of people ask me “How do I play like you?” – and the answer is that it’s not simple. My biggest strength is an image that I project to people – an impression of myself that I try to burn into their heads. As you may know, the first impression when meeting someone (either for becoming friends or falling in love) is the most important one. When I get to a table I will try to give a specific impression of myself. Usually it’s the crazy, uncaring, vodka-drinking Russian. While some of the time this is absolutely true – for example, when I play for fun with friends or a low stakes game for fun – when I get down to serious business at a high stakes cash game, this couldn’t be further from the truth. The only important thing is that people believe it.I will probably order a vodka pretty quickly and make sure people hear that I ordered it. Due to my strong Russian liver I can handle that vodka without any side effects on my mind. But everybody will think I’m this crazy alcoholic. I don’t suggest everybody should be ordering vodka to play their game. You can order an orange juice and pretend to be a nit; you can just talk a lot of crap and pretend to be insane; it doesn’t matter. It’s just about an image you are projecting of yourself. After that I will usually play highly loose and try to show down a few (smallish) bluffs. Big bluffs don’t work at this stage. Big bluffs don’t actually work for me at all. If you ever order vodka at the table, please, for God’s sake, don’t even attempt to run a big bluff. Nobody will ever fold to you – nobody. But for small bluffs it doesn’t matter. Either they will fold their very weak hands and you show the whole table a bluff, or they will call you and you can either announce really loudly that you were bluffing or you just show your weak hand. In any case, it’s important that the whole table gets your attention and remembers you as you want them to.That gives you three very big advantages:1: People will try to bluff-catch you. They will play more passively and try to set traps. And having the aggression on your side is one of the biggest advantages you can have in poker. It’s perfect if you turn an aggressive opponent into a passive one; that is exactly what gives you the upper hand.2: People will pay you out with marginal holdings. If that image of yours is burned into their minds, there is nothing there to delete it. People will always think of that crazy face and associate it with a big bluffer, so you will get paid out much more easily. Try to mimic the same face that you’ve shown at the beginning of the game and you will see your opponents make the most ridiculous calls ever.3: Since in live play you don’t get very many good hands (obviously, you get the same proportion of good/bad hands as in online poker – but you just play fewer hands per hour) a lot of players get tilted by hyper-aggressive opponents and start to play badly. A good example is those people who fold for the first few hands and then will call you with any ace-rag and try to hit a flop. Luckily for us, that won’t happen a lot. And you will take the pot down most of the time with a continuation bet.Another thing I have noticed during recent live sessions: why is everybody so quiet? It’s not a funeral! Poker should be promoted as something fun to do. And for me, personally, it’s fun to talk and meet new people from around the world. If you’re playing a big event like an EPT you have the chance meet so many interesting characters, yet almost nobody bothers to socialise. There are two simple advantages to socialising:1. You actually can meet interesting persona during a live tournament. 2. It keeps the fish happy. The fish are there to have a good time – and they don’t want to be sitting eight hours straight without talking to anybody. Even if it’s some trivial talk, just tag along and don’t take it too serious! Make ’em happy and they’ll come back and give you more money!Join Vlad at the PKR.com tables with a range of first deposit bonuses from $5 to $500.
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