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Final-Table Takedown: Tyler Reiman Stays Aware of Pay Jumps; Adjusts for Shorthanded Play

by Craig Tapscott |  Published: Apr 17, 2013


Ty ReimanTyler Reiman is a native of Morton, Illinois. He has been playing poker professionally since 2006 when he turned 18. In 2010 he finished second at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Main Event for $1,700,000 at 21 years of age. Also in July of 2010, Reiman won the PokerStars Sunday Million event for $228,000. In 2012 he placed ninth at the Wynn Classic Championship event for $21,000. Reiman has more than $3,700,000 in combined online and live career tournament cashes.

Event Million Dollar Heater main event
Players 255
Entry $2,500
First Prize $185,510
Finish 1st

Hand No. 1

Key Concepts: Paying attention to pay jumps and your opponents’ need to move up.

Craig Tapscott: Tyler, set this hand up for us please. What has happened prior?

Tyler Reiman: From 50 players on I was top three in chips pretty much the whole time and going into the final table I liked my seat draw a lot. The only three players I was really worried about were Jacob Bazely, James Arrubarena, and Tim Hebert. Once Bazely got coolered kings to Arrubarenas aces, I wanted to play straightforward and avoid playing big pots with the other two players. Then I picked up A-K and didn’t want to fold.

CT: Did you have a plan going into the final table?

TR: I felt like there wasn’t much need to take big risks or get out of line with my edge and the pay jumps (which were first – $185,000, second – $98,000, third – $55,000 and eighth being $18,000). The pay jumps were massive.

CT: So do you ever take that information and use it as a weapon to attack certain stack sizes or player types at the table?

TR: Certainly when the pay jumps are bigger the larger stacks should play more aggressively and apply pressure. Sometimes it is good to raise every single hand if you’re the chipleader because everyone wants to move up the pay scale.

Reiman raises to 21,000 from under-the-gun (UTG) holding ADiamond Suit KSpade Suit. Vincent calls from UTG plus 2. Arruebarena raises to 58,000 from mid-position.

CT: What do you know about Arrubarena?

TR: He is a very good player.

CT: What hands do you think he is doing this with?

TR: Part of me was hoping we was trying to make a squeeze play with something marginal, but I was pretty certain he had a big hand. I didn’t want to fold A-K for obvious reasons, and four-bet/folding seemed incredibly silly. I thought about four-bet/calling also. But I didn’t want him to jam 10-10 through Q-Q and I call off 300,000 more with A-K. So I decided to just cram it all-in and hopefully get him to fold his big hand. And a further thought was if he had A-K also, I thought it would be a lot for him to call off and perhaps maybe I could get a fold.

Reiman moves all-in. Vincent folds. Arruebarena calls and reveals QHeart Suit QSpade Suit.

Flop: KClub Suit JDiamond Suit 10Heart Suit (pot: 942,000)
Turn: 2Club Suit
River: 7Heart Suit

Reiman wins the pot of 942,000.

CT: Nice hand.

TR: Thanks. Now I knew that this was my tournament to win. 

Hand No. 2

Key Concepts: Maximizing value with a strong made hand; Allowing an opponent to catch up after crushing the flop.

CT: So you were the massive chipleader at this point?

TR: Yes. After that pot it was a pretty smooth road to the victory. With the pay jumps being so huge it allowed me to really take over the table and people were playing really tight. I had 1,900,000 and 2nd-5th had about 400,000-500,000 each.

Reiman raises to 33,000 from under the gun holding 9Heart Suit 5Heart Suit.

TR: An older gentleman by the name of Bert Ladner, who was playing very tight and straightforward but would often flat his big hands, called from the small blind.

Ladner calls from the small blind. Trinh calls from the big blind.

CT: First off, what’s your thinking when you raise with a hand like 9-5 from UTG? Most players would toss that hand as fast as they could from that position. And even from most positions it would be an easy fold. Please don’t tell me because it was suited.

TR: (Laughs) I do love my suited cards because flush draws are my favorite, but that didn’t have much to do with why I raised it. We were five-handed and with the chip stacks and pay jumps in mind, I was pretty much raising any two towards the end because everyone was playing tight to climb the ladder.

Flop: KClub Suit 5Heart Suit 5Diamond Suit (pot: 109,000)

Ladner checks. Trinh checks. Reiman checks.

CT: Why no continuation bet?

TR: I would usually bet in this spot. But with the dynamics of the table, no one was ever going to bluff me in this spot, so I checked behind hoping a turn would let them catch up.

CT: I understand that.But because you are such an aggressive player doesn’t not putting out a continuation bet (c-bet) also send up a red flag to your opponents?

TR: Not necessarily, I think it is important to give up on some flops and let the other opponents win so they respect your c-bets more when you make them.

Turn: ADiamond Suit

CT: Great card.

TR: Exactly. This couldn’t have been a more perfect card.

Ladner bets 27,000. Trinh calls.

TR: At this point I don’t think they are folding an ace, so I bump it up to…

Reiman raises to 82,000. Ladner calls. Trinh folds.

River: JSpade Suit

Ladner checks.

CT: What is the best way to extract value now?

TR: Well I know I’m good so it is all about how much I can extract. He had about a pot-sized bet on the river. So I thought about shoving, but with the pay jumps as they were I thought he’d be more inclined to call around a 200,000 bet with some behind just in case. So I bet out…

Reiman bets 185,000. Ladner snap calls and mucks when Reiman reveals the 9Heart Suit 5Heart Suit. Reiman wins the pot of 670,000.

TR: After this hand I had about 2,500,000 of 3,800,000 in play and never looked back. 

CT: Let’s go into more depth about shorthanded play. How does your game change and adjust when shorthanded? And give me both a perspective of playing with a big stack and a medium or short stack.

TR: My style of play all depends on the number of players at the table. My favorite is six-max, because there are more dynamics to factor in at the table and there seem to be more one-on-one battles. When you are at a nine or ten-handed table your range should tighten up quite a bit. As the table loses players you can start to open up more with suited connectors and marginal hands you normally wouldn’t open up with in a full ring game.

CT: And when you wield the big stack?

TR: When you have a big stack you can take advantage of pay jumps and should probably play pretty aggressive, even if that means opening with hands you would normally never even consider raising like J-5, K-2, 5-8, etcetera. I think this is especially the case at a final table. Opponents usually fear the big stack at the table so it’s good to take advantage of that and open widely and take down the blinds and antes.

CT: What about when you are medium stacked?

TR: When you have a medium stack shorthanded, it is good to look for reshove spots. Note that since it is shorthanded, people will call you down lighter so you should tighten up your reshove range. Pocket pairs and big aces are good hands to shove over opens and try to take down what’s in the middle. It’s good to reshove if there is around 20 percent of your stack dead in the middle.

CT: And your views on playing short-stacked?

TR: Having a short stack at a shorthanded table usually means you want to be looking for a good spot, but don’t get reckless because you can make a jump up the pay ladder with any hand. When you’re short there is usually one move and it is “all-in”. Taking flops with a short stack is just a waste of chips and will usually take away from any fold equity you would have if you’d just fold. ♠