Twenty-Five Games, Two Great Hosts

As you may remember from his latest appearance on the podcast, Gareth Chantler is now in charge of the Full Tilt Poker Blog. He’s done a bang-up job on the content, including an interview with me and a collaboration with Carlos Welch. Nate’s first appearance there was commenting, alongside Gareth, on the final table of the FTOPS 10-Game tournament, and they guys did an admirable job. Now they’re back with commentary on a 25-Game tournament which is just masterful. Nate must watch/listen to a lot of baseball, because he sounds like a professional announcer, transitioning seamlessly from describing the action to commenting on both broad strategy for games I’d never even heard of before to discussing strategic considerations of specific situations as they arise. I found it both educational and entertaining, and I highly recommend it.

Episode 106: Nick Wealthall

Nick Wealthall is a TV presenter, writer and broadcaster who works in comedy, poker and sports media. He’s got a long history in poker that predates the boom by several years. He shares his evolution from player to writer to presenter, opines on the current state of poker media, and even gazes a bit into the future.


0:30 – Hello & Welcome
6:05 – Strategy:
29:17 – Interview: Nick Wealthall


Villain ($240) limps UTG1. UTG2 ($150) raises to $8. BN ($80) calls. SB folds. Hero ($120) calls with 9s 8h in the BB. Villain calls.

Flop:  10s, 9h, 2d. Pot: $28 after rake. Hero bets $10. Villain calls and the other 2 fold.

Turn: Ks. Pot: $48. Both check

River: 10h. Pot: $48. Hero bets $18, Villain shoves.

What’s Your Play? Top Pair Facing Turn Donk

This is from a $5/$10 game at Lucky Chances (yes, I finally got out there last night). Villain seemed to be a typical mid-stakes non-pro regular, which is to say bordering on loose-passive in small pots but tight-passive in larger pots and excessively reluctant to get stacked. Hero probably had a slightly loose-weak image, as I’d brought a big stack from the must move game, but in the main game they’d mostly just seen me raise-fold and bet-fold a lot. Villain has about $2500, Hero has about $4000.

UTG straddles, there are two limps, I make it $100 with Kc Qh on the button, Villain calls from the SB, the BB and straddle call, and one of the limpers calls.

Flop ($515 in pot) Ks 4d 3d. Checks to Hero, Hero bets $250, SB calls, everyone else folds.

Turn ($1015 in pot) Jc. Villain bets $500. Hero?

Post your comments and suggestions here. I’ll do my best to respond to comments throughout the week and then post my own thoughts on or about Friday.

WCOOP Live Play Videos

Now appearing on Tournament Poker Edge is a series of videos I recorded live while playing the World Championship of Online Poker. This is the first live recording I’ve done in years and my first ever for TPE. The bulk of the footage is me playing in various Knockout events, but there are some other tournaments and even some 6-Max Zoom on the side. To be honest, this isn’t my favorite video format, but I do appreciate that there’s value in seeing how I actually make decisions in real time as opposed to how I evaluate those decisions after the fact. To watch these and dozens more of my videos, please use this link to sign up for Tournament Poker Edge.

Episode 105: Coaching Carlos

The second batch of Thinking Poker Premium Podcasts is now available, and tonight you’re getting the first episode FREE. Fresh off of a $1-$2 no-limit game, Andrew and Nate help Carlos Welch take his first steps from tourney donk to cash game crusher. The entire Coaching Carlos series is available for just $19 at

Lessons From the Main Event: Heads Up Play

My latest poker strategy article, “Lessons From the WSOP Main Event: Marginal Hands in Heads-Up Play“, is now appearing in Two Plus Two Magazine. It’s an analysis of some key hands from the heads up portion of the 2014 WSOP Main Event:

“The heads-up battle between Martin Jacobson and Felix Stephensen was perhaps the finest culmination to a World Series of Poker Main Event in recent history. In past years, the final showdown frequently occurred between a professional and an amateur player. In such cases, the professional can generally anticipate a large theoretical advantage and thus has a lot of incentive to keep pots small and pass on high-variance plays in order to maximize his chances of realizing that advantage. Such matches tend to look more like a game of cat-and-mouse, and while playing such a style is a skill unto itself, it doesn’t always prove strategically instructive for heads-up play between more evenly matched opponents. Jacobson and Stephensen, however, are both extremely talented professionals, and as a result their heads-up play exhibited many more thin calls, bluffs, and value bets than were seen in past years.

With thanks to Martin Harris of Hard Boiled Poker for compiling a list of the cards held by each player in each hand of the final table, here’s my analysis of some of the trickier decisions faced by Jacobson and Stephensen in the final hands of the 2014 WSOP Main Event”

Mailbag: Defending the Big Blind

Thinking Poker Mailbag

This post is inspired by a question from the Tournament Poker Edge forums. I’m just going to paraphrase it here.

Q: In your videos, you very frequently call raises from the big blind with weak hands. You say that with antes in play you are getting odds, and that you need to call when you when your equity is better than the odds you are getting, but doesn’t your equity assume that you see five cards/showdown? Doesn’t the fact that you’ll have to play a weak hand out of position after the flop make these calls unprofitable?

A: You are correct that you can’t just compare your immediate pot odds to your hot-and-cold equity (meaning your equity assuming you saw five cards with no more betting). Given that you are out of position, the post-flop betting should prevent you from realizing 100% of your equity.

The thing is that when you are getting extremely good odds, you don’t have to realize much of your equity to show a profit.

Let’s say blinds are 350/700 with an 85 ante. The button opens to 1400 and you are in BB with Q6s. There’s 2900 in the pot and you have to call 700, so you need 24% equity to show a profit on a call. Against a button opening 50% of the deck, you have 43% equity. You only need to realize 56% (24/43) of your equity to show a profit.

Episode 104: The Nate and Andrew Fun Time Strategy Hour

It’s an all-strategy episode as your hosts tackle spread-limit hold ‘em, value betting, and playing your image. Don’t forget to support the show this holiday season with the Thinking Poker Amazon Affiliate Link and the fine offerings at


UTG+2 limps. Hero raises to $25 with Tc 7c in MP2. SB calls, BB folds, limper calls.

Flop ($80) is Jc 9c X. Two checks, Hero bets $30, SB folds, UTG2 calls.

Turn ($140) Jc 9c X 8h. Check, Hero bets $65, UTG2 raises to $140, Hero calls.

River ($420) Jc 9c X 8h Qx. UTG2 bets $175, Hero calls.

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