Paul Phua and Sam Trickett: Poker Tournament Strategy

3 months ago
Paul Phua and Sam Trickett: Poker Tournament Strategy
15:05
08 Sep

(Photo: Playkings.com)

This week’s Paul Phua Poker School offering sees the eponymous Macau-based businessman and high-stakes poker guru receiving a lesson in tournament play, with none other than $20million Englishman Sam Trickett in the teacher’s seat!

The weekly tete-a-tete’s Paul Phua has with the world’s biggest names and brightest poker stars is quite often a well-balanced affair, but here the chat sees Paul quizzed on his knowledge of tournament play and strategy, Phua being a high-stakes cash game player at heart, Trickett a master of both.

Trickett’s phenomenal poker CV includes five separate 7-figure scores, including his $10million payday back at the 2012 WSOP Big One for One Drop, so if anyone has the answers to Phua’s opening question, it’s the Nottingham pro.


“How do you adjust to different stages of a tournament?” asks Paul and we’re off and running, another invaluable insight into how the world’s best think about the game – Phua’s Poker School already having a long list of ‘credits’ to its name: Tom Dwan, Phil Ivey, Daniel Colman, Timofey ‘Trueteller’ Kuznetsov and Daniel ‘Jungleman’ Cates chief among them.

It always depends how your table is playing,” says Trickett, adding, “You can’t just go and say, ‘This is how I’m going to play, I’m going to play really tight, really good hands.’ You know, if the whole table is playing tight then you should probably play looser.”

Probably the most difficult thing for beginners to get to grips with, in fact, but the conversation moves swiftly on to starting hand choices, a hugely important area of the game depending on stack sizes, position and many other factors.

This is where Trickett and players of his calibre shine, and have a lot to pass on to weaker players and cash game players who fancy trying out the hurly-burly of tournament poker.



Trickett’s been at it since 2007, his first cash a £3,610 payday in a GBPT £100 buy-in event in his home town. Within a year, however, he had scooped $¼ million in Vegas and by the turn of the decade he was a poker millionaire!

Another $19million later and he was playing the biggest cash games in the world, $2million winning hands and $3 million losing hands hitting the headlines from The Big Game in Macau, games featuring you-know-who

“Paul plays a lot of cash as well, so he generally picks the right hands to play because he’s generally playing deeper-stack poker anyway,” says the Englishman, explaining the similarities, then the differences between tournament and cash game play.

Today sees part one of a Paul Phua double-header with Trickett, and I won’t spoil the details – you’ll get more from it by watching it yourself – but rest assured it’s well worth your time, Phua promising many more nuggets of gold to come, having spent much of the recent Triton Super High Roller Series tournament in Montenegro quizzing the big boys for his Poker School!


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Andrew from Edinburgh, Scotland, is a professional journalist, international-titled chess master, and avid poker player.Read more

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