Paul Phua, Dan Cates and Winfred Yu on Poker Playing Styles

1 year ago
Paul Phua, Dan Cates and Winfred Yu on Poker Playing Styles
31 Aug

It’s psychology which is on the table again this week as Paul Phua discusses bluffing and the Asian school of poker-thinking with his guests Daniel ‘Jungleman’ Cates and Winfred Yu – the trio having to navigate many such players in the Far Eastern games and tournaments.

Cates starts off with his own experience of the bluffing game, explaining: ‘It seems like they have a different style of bluffing.

"I’ve just seen different kinds of bluffs run in Asia, like for example the ‘Rui Cao special’ bet, then check, then bet. US players never bluff when they do this, for some reason.”

It’s a strange thing to notice – a bluffing stereotype based on geography or culture or…well, Winfred Yu thinks he has the answer actually.

“In Asia, you’ve got to know the history of the game is not long, right, it’s very limited. When we started off it was not so popular that people could watch other people play online, on the computer and all that. So they have to depend on actual experience on the table at the casino. Which is, they only learn it from a very limited style of play.”

And as usual with the Paul Phua Poker School site offerings, what the top players reveal is, well, revealing!

Yu, Macau’s Poker King Club President and CEO continues:

"Now people can watch it all… they can pick up an Asian player, Paul’s play, Ivey’s play, they can watch 10 years ago how he played and now how different it is… l’m sure, with the younger players now who come from online, they play very differently…”

Cates, of course, has been all over the world and involved in every poker game imaginable, but Phua points out that even a professional of Jungleman’s stature can take a while to adapt.

“When you first joined our game, you used to take forever for every street!” says Phua laughing. ”Then some VIPs would complain, and then now you have adapted more. You make your decision faster. Which is good, everybody’s happy!”

But adapt he has, although Yu still sees the ‘Western game’ as being a slower affair.

“I think in general the Asian players make the moves or the thinking and the time of deciding to call or take the risk, as Paul said, on the hand much quicker than Western players.”

Although Phua and Yu are excellent players in their own right, it’s Cates who has the world-class pedigree – as do most of Phua’s guests: Ivey, Dwan and Colman not being far from anyone’s top 10 list of modern-day players.

Cates points out something about poker psychology which has passed the lips of every great player at some time in their career:

“It matters that people know who l am because l have sort of different images to different players, it appears, in different scenes,” adding that his online bluffs “get paid off quite a bit more!”

Anyway, it’s another lively offering from the Macau maestro and his merry band of high stakes friends, and if you want to hear about ‘Eastern’ views on No Limit versus Limit games and how it affects playing styles, head over to Phua’s poker school site and have a look and listen for yourself. It’s well worth the free subscription!

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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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