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Back To Poker School -- Dude, Where’s My Stack?

by Rebecca McAdam |  Published: Jun 01, 2012


In this new segment, we reach out to poker instructors and analysts to answer questions, give advice, and basically troubleshoot various problems the everyday player may have in their game. In the last issue, a trio of tutors spoke about the common mistakes they see players making when they first come to them for instruction. This time around, the focus is on a problem that is apparently highlighted and expressed by many beginners upon perchance bumping into their favourite poker face. Neil Channing discusses.

NC: First thing to note is that very few “cool kids” come to an old live donk for help, so mostly I am giving advice to beginners who have seen me on TV. One of the most common problems I get asked about by low to medium stakes tournament players looking for advice is that they always make the final table but never have any chips. My first reaction is to want to congratulate them on making the final table of every other tournament they play but I try to ignore that and focus on what I think they are actually asking me.

What they actually are saying to me is that their ABC style of poker is only getting them so far and they are frustrated that they are never the people wielding the big stack and being a real contender for a top three finish. More often than not a player is not fully aware of their weaknesses — that’s why they are weaknesses after all. In this example, the player thinks it is a strength that they consistently have deep runs or are never the first one to bust, but in reality what they are doing is playing very tight, just sitting there playing the blinds, being afraid to reraise that guy who keeps bluffing even though you “know” he has nothing, always waiting for a better spot and waiting for a good hand. These guys will survive quite a long way in the tournament, they won’t win very often though.

There are many reasons why I think this particular issue comes up time and time again.

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