Teaching Steven Begleiter for the 2009 WSOP Ultimate Desk

Steve at the WSOP Final Table. Image © PokerNews

Steve at the WSOP Final Table. Image © PokerNewsSteve on the WSOP Ultimate Desk. Picture © PokerNews

It is a “Retro Weblog” from 11/8/2010 discussing the time I spent teaching 2009 WSOP Essential Occasion remaining desk member, Steven Begleiter.

Again once I initially made this publish, I used to be a horrible author. I made a decision to wash up the grammar and repair the typos. Imagine it or not, however I was (and nonetheless am to some extent) a sloppy author.

I’ve countless issues proofreading my very own writing. I continuously wrestle to not overlook numerous minor, however apparent, errors in all types of writing together with books, blogs, twitter posts, emails, and textual content messages. Maybe my mind is damaged. Please know I strive my greatest!

Getting the Job

Ylon Schwartz and I’ve by no means revealed that we spent three months teaching Steven Begleiter by way of his preparation for the ultimate desk of the 2009 WSOP Essential Occasion.

I used to be initially launched to Steve by way of a 2+2 discussion board member, Ben Lambert, who knew me from again in my sit n’ go days, the place I had a substantial quantity of success. In fact, my dwell success additionally acquired me on the radar. Given all remaining tables are primarily sit n’ go tournaments with humorous payouts and stack sizes, he thought I might be a superb candidate to rework Steve right into a participant with a greater than common shot at taking house the bracelet.

It’s value noting that Steve received his approach into the 2009 Essential Occasion by way of a reasonably excessive stakes native league. Ben additionally participates on this league, which is how he is aware of Steve.

Ylon Schwartz. Picture © PokerNews

I ought to point out now that Steve is a particularly clever man. I now look as much as him as a mentor. He possesses an necessary life means that many lack. He’s conscious that there are lots of issues he doesn’t know and he isn’t afraid to hunt assist when he thinks he can enhance.

Steve knew he wished to rent a coach so he interviewed heaps poker professionals to search out the perfect match. He narrowed his search all the way down to me and Ylon Schwartz, a chess grasp who remaining tabled the WSOP Essential Occasion in 2008. I had no expertise with Ylon however shortly after assembly him, it grew to become clear he had a strong grasp of poker.

I used to be pretty positive Steve was going to choose Ylon, primarily as a result of each he and Ylon dwell in New York. On the time, I lived throughout the nation in Vegas. I did some negotiating and succeeded in getting the job break up between the 2 of us, which labored out fairly nicely.

I ended up flying to New York 3 times, as soon as for our preliminary interview and two different occasions to spend lengthy weekends teaching Steve. Throughout these weekends, we mentioned and performed poker continuously. Steve is a brilliant busy man with a busy job and a full household life. Regardless of that, he at all times spent our time collectively working exhausting and shortly absorbed every part I taught him.

Most individuals, particularly in relation to poker, are caught of their methods. They refuse to consider they may truly be unhealthy at poker. Steve was the alternative, realizing that Ylon and I have been on a unique degree than he was. He realized quite a bit from us as a result of he had an open thoughts and wished to study.

Our First Journey

After our preliminary interview, we determined it might be a good suggestion for Steve to fly to Vegas and drive with me to Los Angeles to play the WPT occasion on the Bicycle On line casino. We mentioned poker throughout the whole automotive journey. I feel we each realized a ton. I ended up cashing within the occasion however Steve ended up taking ninth place, which was actually spectacular contemplating the sphere was robust and we had simply began engaged on his sport.

Steve with fellow WSOP remaining tablist Kevin Schaffel on the Legends of Poker WPT occasion. Picture © PokerListings

He claimed the recommendation I gave him allowed him to keep away from going broke twice within the match whereas earlier than our classes, he would have busted early on the primary day. That may be a good factor! Lots of what I taught him was to manage the dimensions of the pot along with his good, however not wonderful arms, akin to high pair with a marginal kicker. You will discover it’s fairly tough in your bets to get known as on three streets by arms worse than high pair with a foul kicker. This implies it’s essential verify them sooner or later. You will discover that checking usually induces your opponent to both over worth his worse made hand or attempt to bluff you off your “apparent” weak holding. By checking, you extract extra worth you’d usually miss by betting.

I realized from Steve that almost all beginner gamers merely don’t take note of stack sizes. The idea that every stack dimension requires a vastly completely different technique isn’t one thing they’re conscious of. Poker requires a really completely different technique when you might have 20 large blinds than when you might have 100 large blinds. We labored exhausting on these two ideas and I feel he grew to become a significantly better poker participant nearly in a single day. Steve was unhappy to take ninth place, however on the similar time, he realized it was a fantastic accomplishment.

Working Onerous at House

Again in New York, we ran quite a few simulations the place we might arrange stacks in response to the ultimate desk stack sizes and attempt to match up every stack with a participant whose taking part in types have been just like these of the particular remaining desk gamers. Steve did fairly nicely in most of those classes, in order that was encouraging.

After our first full NYC weekend, Steve determined to play the WSOP Europe. He was one of many chip leaders early within the first day however bumped into a couple of unavoidable conditions and was eradicated. Whereas going broke isn’t factor, the truth that he’s clearly able to gathering chips means he at all times has an opportunity to win. You’d a lot slightly have giant swings than break even in a poker match as a result of with the intention to win, you must get all the chips. Hanging out, ready for premium arms, is often not a good suggestion, particularly in case your opponents play nicely.

Earlier than assembly Steve, I assumed I must work exhausting on getting him in good bodily form, as most poker gamers aren’t in form in any respect. Fortunately, Steve was already in wonderful form. There may be nothing worse than being technically sound at poker however crashing late in a session on account of poor health. As soon as he made the ultimate desk, he was often within the fitness center and labored out a lot tougher than I anticipated. I used to be, and nonetheless am, extremely pleased with his preparation, each on and off the felt.

I additionally made a degree to make sure he was on the right sleep schedule. If you happen to get drained at midnight however you occur to be required to play till 4am, the wheels might simply fall off. I consider getting Steve on the right sleep schedule additionally helped set him up for achievement.

That’s sufficient discuss concerning the preparation. On to the ultimate desk!

Tackling the WSOP Essential Occasion Ultimate Desk

Steve had one of many worst seats on the desk, having Eric Buchman, the one different “recognized” world class participant with a ton of chips, on his left. Additionally to Steve’s left was Joe Cada, who we assumed would play his brief stack nicely, on condition that he had a ton of on-line expertise. We assumed Antonie Saout, Jeff Schulman, Kevin Schaffel, and Darvin Moon would play pretty tight. We thought James Akenhead, Phil Ivey, and Joe Cada would look to combine it up a bit and attempt to double their brief stacks. We assumed Buchman would attempt to go after Steve, on account of his place, with quite a few gentle calls and reraises.

Chances are you’ll be stunned that we didn’t assess Ivey as a lot of a menace, at the very least because the chips at present sat. Steve had place on Ivey, which routinely gave Steve an enormous edge. Additionally, Ivey didn’t have many chips, which means he must double up a couple of occasions earlier than he acquired in competition. It’s pretty tough, even for Phil Ivey, to double up a couple of occasions. In all the simulations we ran, I (taking part in in Phil Ivey’s seat) by no means actually acquired too far off the bottom. Beginning with a small stack is a big drawback.

It turned out we have been typically right in all of our assumptions besides that Saout wasn’t too tight and Ivey was tremendous tight. Early within the day, it appeared like Schaffel was going to double by way of Buchman, which might have made the desk significantly better for Steve as a result of chips movement to the left and Steve had place on Schaffel, however his A-A couldn’t beat Okay-Okay.

This was the primary crushing blow to our day that few individuals appeared to note. It’s actually unhealthy when a free, aggressive participant in your left will get a number of chips as a result of he’ll use them to continuously apply stress on you. That will have been fantastic if Steve might have made a robust trapping hand, however, in case you have ever performed poker, you’ll discover you can not depend on making sturdy arms.

A Few Minor Missteps

As for Steve’s play on the remaining desk, I used to be fully glad with all of his choices besides two that got here up close to the top of the day.

Within the first one, he raised with 8c-7c and Saout, who was definitely taking part in the perfect out of anybody else on the desk, reraised from the massive blind. Saout had been going after Steve somewhat, though not an excessive amount of. I don’t recall the precise stack sizes however I feel Steve had 44,000,000 and Saout had 23,000,000. The blinds have been 250,000/500,000. Steve raised to 1,500,000 and Saout reraised to 4,500,000. Steve elected to name, which is pretty free and certain unhealthy given Saout’s comparatively brief efficient stack dimension.  Saout checked on the 9h-8h-3c flop and Steve wager 5,250,000. I actually dislike this wager as a result of if Saout determined to go all-in, Steve can be getting respectable odds to name with a reasonably marginal hand. Generally, you don’t want to wager an quantity that makes your choice tough. You need to set your self as much as have simple choices. A smaller wager or a verify from Steve would have been significantly better. Anyway, Saout did push all-in and Steve made what was possible a “right” name. Saout turned over a flush draw and received when a coronary heart got here on the flip.

It labored out fairly nicely for Joe Cada. Picture © PokerNews

If you happen to watched the protection of this occasion previous to the ultimate desk, you possible know that Steve loves calling reraises with suited connectors. We labored exhausting to chop that out of his sport, particularly towards good gamers who is not going to blindly stack off to you or when you’re not getting giant implied odds, however he nonetheless determined to take a flop on this state of affairs. Regardless of that “error”, he acquired his cash in with about 50% fairness, so I suppose it wasn’t too unhealthy. It’s hardly ever a foul factor to be in a flipping spot the place in the event you lose, you’ll nonetheless have a good stack and in the event you win, you’ll have a big chip lead. Dropping this hand was the second main factor that went improper for Steve.

The following hand Steve misplaced might look like pretty minor, however it had large penalties, because it helped decide the champion. Joe Cada raised to 2.5 large blinds out of his 20 large blind stack from first place and Steve known as from the small blind with As-3s. The flop got here Ah-Jc-2s. Steve elected to be wager into Joe, a transfer which I despise. Cada determined to name the lead. They checked down the flip and the river, giving Steve a tiny pot. I might have a lot most popular to see him check-call with the intention of inducing Cada to bluff off his stack. As an alternative of getting a sensible likelihood of inducing Cada to bluff by displaying weak point, Steve received nearly nothing.

The ultimate unhealthy factor that occurred to Steve was truly an ordinary unhealthy beat. Steve raised to 2.5 large blinds out of his 35 large blind stack from center place with Q-Q and Darvin Moon pushed all-in from one of many blinds with A-Q. Steve, in fact, known as immediately. The flop got here X-X-X-X-A and Steve was out. He busted in sixth place, accumulating $1,587,160.

Life Goes On

Steve giving an exit interview. Picture © PokerNews

Steve took his loss exceptionally nicely and gave a couple of wonderful exit interviews. I have no idea if I might have maintained my composure after working pretty unhealthy throughout the whole remaining desk. He’s a robust man.

Steve was an absolute pleasure to work with. I don’t suppose anybody else on the remaining desk would have been a greater pupil. Although he made a couple of errors, none of which turned out to be too expensive when it comes to fairness, I firmly consider he made considerably fewer errors than he would have with out teaching. If Steve had a want to make it on the skilled poker circuit, I’m assured he might. That being stated, he has an superior job and life, which he has no want to go away, so he’ll stay a world class weekend warrior.

After I first acquired the job to teach Steve, I used to be completely satisfied merely to get the job however I’m now honored to have a buddy for all times. Hopefully somebody decides to make the leap with me once more subsequent 12 months. I beloved the expertise. Higher but, I’ll attempt to make the ultimate desk myself.

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Author: Frank Perez