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Online Poker: Play a Tournament with Adam 'Roothlus' Levy Part I

Big Hands, Back Luck, Suckouts, and Gutsy Calls Take Roothlus to $200 Rebuy Win


Adam 'Roothlus' LevyIt takes a lot of things to win a poker tournament: perseverance, good luck, cushion for overcoming bad luck, gutsy calls, spot-on reads, and not-so-good reads that go your way. Online poker star Adam “Roothlus” Levy checked pretty much all of those boxes on his way to taking down a recent $200 rebuy event on PokerStars, a tournament known for its stacked fields. He won $51,250 for becoming the last player standing in the event.

But it was almost never to be; Levy was on the verge of dropping out after the very first hand of play. He was dealt A-K in the big blind, and it folded to the small blind, who pushed all in. It was obviously an overbet on the part of the small blind, but there’s rarely a good reason to fold A-K preflop during the rebuy period of a tournament; Levy called. His opponent held pocket queens and improved to a dominating set on the flop to take down the pot. Levy had been having a bad run that night, and he was seriously considering not rebuying to avoid digging a deeper hole.

Well, he did rebuy, and then he won. It’s funny how in the world of poker the repercussions of a seemingly small decision early on in a tournament can ultimately amount to tens of thousands of dollars.

Card Player got ahold of Levy to talk about some hands he played that were either key for his win or that illustrated key components of his poker strategy.
Hand No. 200

Info Blinds: 600-1,200 with 125 ante Eight-handed table
Player Sorel “zangbezan24” Mizzi Adam “Roothlus” Levy
Stack 42,100 18,126
Hand ?-? K J

Zangbezan24 raises to 3,300 in third position. Roothlus reraises all in for 18,001. Zangbezan24 folds.

Adam “Roothlus” Levy: It was time to make a move with an OK hand. I felt zang, who was playing on the tighter side at the time, looked at this spot as a good time to raise. I was the only re-shove stack [at the table], and he wasn’t folding to Stev0L’s stack [11,714]. Also, all four of us [the remaining players in the hand] are pretty tight. STRBUX had played in one pot since a huge pot he won with top set versus mid-set on four-straight board [20 hands ago].

I probably wouldn’t shove this against a normal person, but because I recognized that he was playing tight, I figured I’d take a gamble here and hope for the best. Also, because I’m shoving with what appears not to be much fold equity, I’m hoping that he’ll fold certain hands that he wouldn’t otherwise — like, he might fold K-Q here, or something like that. So, I just decided to shove, and I was right. And if anyone else had woken up with a hand, whatever, that’s just bad luck.

Hand No. 235

Info Blinds: 1,000-2,000 with 200 ante Nine-handed table
Player Adam “Roothlus” Levy Joe “ender555” Ebanks
Stack 32,990 50,402
Hand 6 6 A 10

Action folds to Roothlus in the small blind, and he shoves for 32,790. Ender555 calls, showing A 10. Roothlus has the lead and holds onto it as the board rolls out Q J 4 3 2.

I hated this spot; I hated this hand; I hate small pairs in the small blind with this stack. If I limp in the small blind and he checks, there’s no really good flop for sixes, unless it comes 2-2-2 or something like that. If there’s even one over and he raises me, it’s just horrible. And ender555 isn’t going to be raising the big blind if I limp without a hand. I don’t want to gamble against K-Q or anything like that, I’d rather just take the chips.

So, I can’t limp-shove, I can’t fold, I can raise, but I don’t want to end up racing against a hand that wouldn’t have called my shove if I open-ship. So, I open-ship and roll the dice on whether or not he has a hand. He actually thought for like 15 seconds — a long time in the online world — and called with A-10 offsuit, which is a fine call. He’s thinking about my thought process, "Why did he make such a big shove? Could he have A-K?" But, then, ultimately, he’s going to call, because it’s A-10 in the big blind against a shove from the small blind. It was an unavoidable spot for both of us, but luckily I won this flip.

Shawn Patrick Green: In this spot, with 16 big blinds, is it always the case that if you’re raising you’re shoving? Or can you really just raise?

AL: That’s the thing, if I raised to like 5K or 6K, I’m allowing K-Q to shove on me, and then I’m putting another hand in their range to make me flip. He’s probably going to call with fives. I’m not really getting any extra action that I’m beating. Maybe fives, but he’s going to call with fives, anyway, if I shove. So, by shoving, I’m taking out some overcards from his range that I have to flip against.

Hand No. 280

Info Blinds: 2,000-4,000 with 400 ante Nine-handed table
Player Adam “Roothlus” Levy  
Stack 40,846  
Hand K Q  

Roothlus folds K Q under the gun. F.Briatore raises to 10,200, Russ “Sooners” Floyd reraises all in for 69,162, Joe “bigegypt” Elpayaa reraises all in for 71,045, and F.Briatore calls both all ins. F.Briatore shows pocket queens, Sooners shows pocket tens, and bigegypt shows A K. The board runs out J 10 8 7 8, and Sooners takes down the pot with a full house, tens full of eights.

AL: Almost shoved this hand. Thank God I didn’t.

SPG: You had 10 big blinds here. Is this a pretty standard fold, given your position, even with such a short stack? Obviously, considering the result, you’ve got to be glad that you did fold, but can you maybe explain your thinking?

AL: It could be a shove at certain tables, but I just wasn’t feeling it here. It was really close, actually. I’m sure it’s a +EV [expected value] shove, but I could probably still wait it out one more orbit. Basically, I’m trying to figure out if I can probably find a better spot in the next nine hands. There’s a good chance that I won’t find a better spot, but I probably have maybe a 30 percent chance that I’ll find a better spot. I’d rather shove 8-7 in the cutoff than K-Q under the gun. If I had nine big blinds, it might have been a shove, but 10 big blinds ... I don’t know, it was really close.

Hand No. 308

Info Blinds: 2,500-5,000 with 500 ante Six-handed table
Player Adam “Roothlus” Levy exposabre
Stack 94,168  196,068
Hand A K  5 5

Roothlus raises to 12,444 under the gun and action folds to exposabre in the small blind. Exposabre reraises to 36,000, the big blind folds, and Roothlus pushes all in for 93,668. Exposabre calls and shows 5 5, while Roothlus turns over A K. The board runs out J 8 6 10 Q, and Roothlus catches running cards for a Broadway straight to double up.

AL: Whew, his was a crucial pot. There were 12 players left, and it was for 39 big blinds, which would be well above average going into the final table. Luckily, I binked the nut straight on the river! This probably was the most exciting/gut-wrenching part of the tourney for me. This was also the last time that I was all in and called for the rest of the tourney. After this hand, it was all smooth sailing.

SPG: When he reraises preflop and you push all in for a little less than three times more, what is going to be his calling range, here? Were you shoving for fold equity or were you shoving for value?

AL: I’m not shoving for fold equity, there. I’m just hoping that he has A-Q. I’m never folding A-K here. The thing was, and you don’t see this, I had just won a hand with aces and then I had opened another hand, and then opened one more before this hand. So, within six hands I had opened four. So, the fact that I had been doing that and he had a big stack made me believe that he wanted to make a move on me, so I think that he would definitely reraise A-Q there every time.

And there were 12 people left in the tournament at that point; I just had to get it in there. It was at the point in the tournament when I had to shove and gamble, even if he wasn’t shoving with A-Q there.

SPG: And the way that you won the flip was fun [laughs].

AL: Yeah, runner-runner the straight; it was pretty nice.

SPG: You can’t just hit an ace or king, it has to be a runner-runner straight.

Stay tuned for Part II tomorrow, where we talk about a few of the hands Levy played at the final table to take down the event.

Tags: poker beat