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Final Table Takedown Timothy Adams Takes Down a Second PokerStars Live High Roller Event in 2017

by Craig Tapscott |  Published: Jan 31, 2018


Timothy Adams was born in Canada to English parents and currently lives in Europe. He built his poker bankroll from grinding six-max online cash games working his way from $3-$6 to $25-$50. Nowadays, he still plays online cash games, but in the past couple years has primarily focused on high-stakes live multi-table tournaments. He loves learning more about poker each day and that’s what keeps him passionate about the game and coming back to play. 

In May of 2017, Adams won the €25,000 buy-in PokerStars Championship Monte Carlo high roller for $399,485. In October, he cashed for $1,009,000 at the Asia Championship of Poker high roller. Adams now has more than $7 million in career tournament earnings.

Event: 2017 PokerStars Championship Prague Super High Roller
Players: 34
Entry: $58,611
First Prize: $654,900
Finish: 1st

Key Concepts: Bet sizing; Fold equity

Craig Tapscott: You’ve had a lot of success in these high roller events. How did you prepare for this final table?

Timothy Adams: You’re just prepared from all the experience over the years and work that you put in away from the table. I’ve been in these situations before, so I felt very comfortable overall.

CT: Do you have a preset routine to get yourself in the right mindset for the day?

TA: As for my routine on these poker trips, I usually start every morning going to the gym. It depends on the climate, sometimes I’ll go for a run or long walk outdoors to actually get out and see a city. If I’m going to the gym, I’ll do cardio for 20-30 minutes, some stretching and body weight exercises (squats, lunges, pull-ups, and push-ups). If there’s a pool at the hotel, I’ll often go swimming as well. Being active in the morning is important for me; it clears my head and gives me energy for the rest of the day. During this particular trip to Prague, I had a food delivery service coming to drop fresh vegetable and fruit juices to me, as well as fresh food. These kinds of things help me keep focused and nourished. I don’t have to rely on casino food, which can be a hassle if you’re picky about what you eat. The poker trips are one to two weeks and obviously there’s a lot of sitting, so keeping physically active and properly fed is one of the most important things for me. All of this also helps with the quality of my sleep, which is always important on long poker trips.

CT: Do you do any research on any of the opponents that you may not know as well? 
TA: From playing the high roller tournaments I’ve become familiar with most of my opponents, from either online or live, or both. If there is a new player that I don’t recognize, I try to figure out who he is and what his poker background is. If I’m deep in a tournament like a main event, I’ll start looking at who’s at my table and doing a bit of research because I’ll be unfamiliar with most of the players. Ultimately, I enjoy the challenge of playing the same guys day in and day out. Of course, they are tougher and harder to win money from, but that’s what drives me to grow my game and brings out the best in me.

Adams raises to 115,000 from the button holding 9Club Suit 7Club Suit. Kisacikoglu raises to 330,000 from the small blind.

TA: I made a standard button open with 9Club Suit 7Club Suit to 115,000 which is 2.3x the big blind. My opponent was Orpen Kisacikoglu and he three-bet from the small blind with roughly 44 big blinds behind.

CT: What do you know about his game?

TA: Orpen has been playing high-stakes live tournaments over the past year or two and is a tough opponent. In this situation, I have an easy call with my hand and no other options really make sense. His three-bet sizing is on the smaller side; I would personally have made it larger. Like I said, my hand is an easy call and I don’t have another decision to consider really. 

Adams calls.

Flop: JClub Suit 10Club Suit 7Spade Suit (pot: 730,000)

TA: I flop very well, with a pair and a straight-flush draw.

Orpen bets 285,000 into 730,000 with 1.585 million behind.

CT: What’s the best play here in your mind?

TA: I have the decision to either call, or make a smaller raise size than an all-in, or to just shove. I thought a jam was the best play. I have good equity versus pretty much everything and he could also bet-fold something like A-K which would be a good result for me.

CT: Well you did flop pretty damn huge.

TA: I know. My holding really wants to see the final two cards and to fully realize its potential. So, I jammed all-in…

Adams moved all-in. Kisacikoglu tanks and eventually calls and reveals KDiamond Suit KSpade Suit.

TA: He ended up thinking for a while and calling with pocket kings. My particular hand is a 57.5 percent equity favorite versus kings with no club.

Turn: AHeart Suit (pot: 4,460,000)

River: 9Diamond Suit (pot: 4,460,000)

Adams wins the pot of 4,460,000.

TA: I ended up “getting there” with a river nine to make two-pair and to scoop a very big pot at this stage in the tournament, which was monumental and allowed me to have maneuverability to close out the win. 

CT: It seems like in the last year your game has been taken to a whole new level. Please share some of the things you’ve worked on to improve your tournament skills.

TA: I’ve spent a lot of hours studying different theory-based things, which has helped me feel more comfortable and confident at the table. There’s good resources online like poker training sites, equity calculators and GTO solvers. I spend most of my time improving my game with resources like these.

Key Concepts: Blind vs blind: Bet sizing; Range evaluation on the river

Adams limps in from the small blind holding QSpade Suit 6Diamond Suit. Diaz checks his option.

Flop: ADiamond Suit 10Diamond Suit 2Heart Suit (pot: 150,000)

Adams bets 60,000. Diaz calls.

CT: So you took a stab at it.

TA: Yes. This flop favors my range over his range, so I’m allowed to bet out at a fairly high frequency. With my particular holding, there’s a variety of turn cards I can put pressure on him with.

CT: When he calls what range have you defined for his hand?

TA: Adrian will have a little bit of A-x, but a lot of 10-x, 2-x, king high, some queen high, and some jack high with some backdoor potential. Also, the 5-4, 5-3, 4-3 type of combinations that are drawing to a wheel.

CT: And what are the turn cards that you can continue to barrel?

TA: If a diamond rolls off on the turn I pick up some equity and can keep betting. Also, when Broadway cards turn, I can make a gutshot and can choose to bet at some frequency. I can apply more pressure than usual because he has to be a little tighter when calling down due to the ICM (independent chip model) considerations in place. 

Turn: 6Club Suit (pot: 270,000)

CT: You’ve hit. What now?

TA: I make a pair and have a decision between check and bet. I think the highest frequency option is to check in this spot.

Adams checks. Diaz checks.

River: 3Spade Suit (pot: 270,000)

Adams bets 150,000.

CT: Why that bet sizing?

TA: I opted to bet 150,000 into 270,000 on the river. In hindsight, I would structure my river betting-range differently and this particular hand would be used for a smaller size.

Diaz raises to 550,000.

CT: Not quite what you expected.

TA: Adrian is representing 10-3 or 3-2 for a rivered two-pair or 5-4 for a rivered wheel that didn’t bet the turn when checked to. He can also have a little bit of A-x that got to the river this way and is raising for value. My holding isn’t particularly great to call with, but his raise size is fairly small. I only need to be good around 29 percent of the time. This is a spot where I would fold quite a lot, but opted to call this time.

Adams calls. Diaz reveals KSpade Suit 4Diamond Suit. Adams wins the pot of 1,370,000.

CT: Wow. Great call. Diaz is a very accomplished player and so tough. Good read.

TA: Thanks. I won an important pot three-handed and that put me in a great position to get heads-up for the win. Adrian is a really strong and very aggressive player. He takes a lot of spots, but picks his spots wisely. And I think that’s why he’s had so much success over the past few years. ♠