partypoker is blessed with a wealth of poker talent within its stable of sponsored professionals and ambassadors. Not only are they all superb players in their own right, they also love to interact with the partypoker community and want to help each and every one of you improve your own game.
So we’re presenting a new feature here on the partypoker blog: “Ask a partypoker pro”, where we reach out to our followers on social media and ask them to put some poker strategy questions to our elite players. And, if your question is chosen to be answered by one of our pros, you win a $22 satellite ticket that can be used to try and qualify for the weekly $250,000 guaranteed Title Fight.
This week it is Natalia Breviglieri’s turn in the hot seat, so read on to improve your game!
Craig Yates via Facebook
If there’s already been a raise would you always re-raise with aces and kings or do you tend to flat call? I always seem to lose more often with kings than I win and am wondering if I’m playing them wrong?
There are very few ‘always do this’ rules in poker, and in tournaments it is sometimes optimal to not 3-bet with AA.
As aces are the strongest starting hand in poker (winning +-90% of the time) most players will try to build a pot with them. However, depending on your opponent, your own playing style, and the dynamic between you and the initial raiser, it may sometimes be best to just flat.
When I will not flat with aces:
- If I believe that two or more players may call after me because I don’t want to get into a four-way pot holding aces.
- If the initial raiser folds to three-bets 85% of the time but is a calling station post-flop, then three-betting here is burning money.
- If you have a tight image at the table then flatting is a good option as your three-bet will look extremely strong.
The times I feel it is best to flat-call with aces include:
- When an aggressive player has raised and has been folding to me in late position.
- When there has been a raise and there is an aggressive player in late position, or the blinds with around a 20 big blind stack that is likely to go all-in with a wide range. This can allow the initial raiser to call, or potentially re-shove, as your hand is so disguised and you have built the pot substantially more than if you had three-bet preflop in which both players would have to fold unless they have a premium hand.
- If the initial raise calls a lot of three-bets then I would definitely three-bet here, and would even three-bet bigger than I would against other players to build the pot as much as possible. If you have a very loose-aggressive image at the table, then I would continue to three-bet.
Kings are a different hand as an ace will flop approximately 23% of the time when you have them in your hand. Because of this, a lot of lower stakes players will almost always three-bet with kings. However, you should make the above adjustments depending on some of the reasons I mentioned.
I think that getting to showdown with aces or kings reminds players that you three-bet when you have strong hands. It is, therefore, important to still include them in your three-betting range to keep it balanced.
I hope this helps, Craig, thank you for your question and good luck at the tables!
@AceHighJohnT (John Thomson) via Twitter
How do your opening ranges change from online to live, if at all?
As with my answer to Craig, there are a lot of factors to consider with your opening ranges, including:
- Stack sizes
- Player dynamics
- Your image at the table
- Stage of the tournament
As long as I have taken all of those things into consideration my opening ranges from online to live should be almost identical.
Steve Hamel via Facebook
What is your worst distraction when it comes to playing, whether you’re in a hand or not?
Those of you that know me will know that I am a big foodie and absolutely love eating! Being hungry, whether playing live or online, is a big distraction for me. I always try to eat healthy, small portions regularly when playing as I find eating a big meal makes me extremely tired. When I have a big online session, I will meal prep so that I have plenty of food available – quick things I can make during the breaks. Between, I’ll snack on nuts and fruit.
I think it is very important to stay healthy when playing poker as it makes you feel good and helps keep you alert.
@jonty_willis (Jonty Willis) via Twitter
What event are you most looking forward to playing this year?
I am most looking forward to playing the new partypoker LIVE events, and of course the partypoker MILLIONS at Dusk Till Dawn in Nottingham this April. I mean who wouldn’t leap at the chance of winning £1,000,000? I think the atmosphere at Dusk Till Dawn that weekend is going to be incredible and I can’t wait.
@LMillward (Lee Millward) via Twitter
What was your first experience like playing poker and at what point did you want to take it seriously?
My first experience playing poker, like everyone’s I imagine, was pretty nerve wracking. It was a very small £5 rebuy at a local casino which my friends had been going to play and, up until that point, I had only ever watched poker on TV. I remember thinking how fast everything happened and always panicking when it was my turn to act. I also remember being very confused about why my two pair didn’t win versus a set!
Playing in this and a weekly £10 rebuy they also had at the casino became a regular gig for me until my friends discovered the Dusk Till Dawn Casino in Nottingham. I would occasionally venture there with them to play in the nightly £25 game, until eventually someone suggested I start to play some of the slightly bigger buy-ins.
I took their advice and played a £150 comp and finished third, first and second on my next three consecutive trips, banking just shy of £5800. From there I started to play online and live, more and more as my bankroll increased, along with getting into cash games. This became my biggest source of income. I used my holidays to visit other countries to play in tournaments, meeting some great friends along the way who I began travelling with. I could discuss strategies and hand histories with them, meaning I was constantly studying the game.
At 26, I decided it was now or never and opted to leave my job and pursue poker as my profession. There is always a chance it may not work out in the long run, but I am fortunate enough to have seen more places in the last two years than some will see in a lifetime and experience them with some amazing people. No matter what happens in the future, I will always have those amazing memories. And for that, I am extremely grateful.
Thanks, Natalia! We’re extremely grateful to have you onboard. Be sure to stay tuned on our social media channels (links below) for your chance to put a question to one of our awesome poker pros soon.
If Natalia’s insights have inspired you to hit the tables, click here to download partypoker and get started!