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Zach Hyman Wins, Deep Stack Poker

by Roy Winston |  Published: Apr 08, '08


I am happy to report that a good friend of mine, Zach Hyman, who finished 3rd in the last WPT main event, just won yesterday'sevent after making his 2nd final table in a row at the Bellagio, making it his 3rd in a row overall. As you'll remember he won the Wynn main event last year. It looks like he is having a great year so far. I feel fortunate that I have connected with a number of good friends in the poker community. Part of my development as a player has been helped by learning from others. I find sweating cash game hands and watching tournament play has helped me immeasurably. Just a few days ago I was playing with David Williams on my left, and when I was out of a hand he often times had me sweat his play. We would discuss the hands to some degree afterwards. He was very observant when playing and relied heavily on reading the other players, which is something we share. His range of hands was somewhat larger than mine, but he plays with an incredible amount of instinct and imagination. Then Huck Seed sat down and I always enjoy playing with him. I wish I was playing back when he won the main event, I would have liked to see the way his game has changed. It seems Huck and I are at the same tables quite a bit, both cash and tournament. His game is really impressive. I am amazed by watching his ability to out play his opponents. As the Oracle I will make a prediction that he has a very strong WSOP this year.

A question I received recently that I have touched on before is how you play deep stack events as compared to traditional events. I would like to hedge and say there are many answers to this question which can be right depending on the situation. In live deep stack events the first thing I do is get a sense of the table and how I fit in and am being perceived. If the table is playing loose or tight I adjust my style to optimize my results. Let's say my table has several loose players who want to see flops and will call any reasonable preflop raise. When the blinds are 50-100 and a 3 BB raise is 300 and you have 22,000 in chips, seeing flops with the mid suited one and two gapers, as well as other imaginative hands will allow you to out flop strong hands on occasion and produce a good return on your preflop bet. The problem some players get into here is what hands to play this way and how to play them after the flop. First off you will not usually find me playing off suit 2 or more gapers unless I'm in an unraised blind. Also ace 6-J are not my favorites either. All too often you flop a little something with one of these hands and lose a larger pot than you should. You have to know where your opponents are at all times. Also, playing hands like J 4 or K 2, suited or not will not produce winning long term results.

So now you've played 86 suited, and flopped a gutter ball straight draw and 4 to a flush, or maybe mid or bottom pair, now what do you do? This is where position is important, if your opponents check to you and read them as weak, I would take a stab at the pot right there. Let's say there is 900 in the pot and 3 players in front of you check and you are on the button, it's completely different than having to open from the small blind. Then on the turn when you thought your opponents were weak on the flop, now they have had another opportunity to improve their hands. Sometimes you get lucky and hit your gutter ball, but more often than not we are playing medium strength hands, so being in position gives a decided advantage. I try and play the more "interesting" hands from late position to have an advantage. Resisting the temptation to play marginal hands UTG-UTG+3. Often times I see at showdown someone in early position who limped or raised with ace 7, either suited or off suit that flops an ace and loses a good size pot. I will often times muck ace 10 or ace jack in early position. I find a tight weak table easiest to play, because they will give up quickly and when you meet resistance you know to run and hide.

Another common ting I see in deep stack play which surprises me is how willing some players are to put in their whole stack when it's unnecessary. For instance, someone raises with ace queen and flops top pair. When the pot has 800 chips in it on the flop why would you try and get all in when any intelligent player who goes ahead and is willing to, more than likely has you beat. Control the pot size, try to win pots by risking less chips if possible. Tournaments are marathons; those who start out fast rarely are in it at the finish.

I will leave you with these words: Be patient, control the pot size, think carefully about the size of your bets and what they mean, when in doubt a bad fold is always better than a bad call, and ask yourself "is this my best spot to put my money in."

The Oracle

For more information on Roy Winston you can visit his website: or send him an email:

Roy Winston finished 16th in 2007 Card Player, Player of the Year race. He won the WPT Borgata Poker Open and finished the year with well over $2 million in tournament poker winnings. Roy plays online exclusively at Full Tilt. For more information on Roy Winston, you can visit his website: or send an email to: with your questions or comments. The contents presented herein on this blog are purely the opinions of Roy Winston, and are not intended to reflect or promote the opinions of any other person, group, or entity. If you like what I write than thanks for reading, and if not well, thanks anyway.

Any views or opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the ownership or management of
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