Back in the day when Toby Lewis started to play poker, very few gave him a chance of becoming the best British player. The ambitious young man started at low limits and clawed his way to the top in a matter of years, now proudly standing on the first place in the British GPI standings. One victory that had a beneficial effect on his career was the recent triumph at the WCOOP where he won $190,000.
http://www.pokerstarsblog.com/wcoop/2013/wcoop-prize-pools-growing-toby-810ofclub-141569.html celebrates his victory as the tournament was hosted by PokerStars and also reveals interesting details about the young player. These two victories present him with the rare opportunity of becoming the only player to win all three COOP tournaments. Toby Lewis told the media that while this is not necessarily his priority these days, it is something that he teams to accomplish one day.
Meanwhile, he tries to enjoy his newfound glory and the money that comes with it, without allowing poker to rule his life. Toby regards his favorite game as an excellent way of making money while doing something that he enjoys, but refuses to give in to temptation and forsake other pleasant activities. In his opinion, the only way to stay afloat and competitive over long periods of time is by finding the perfect mix between fun and work.
At the first glance, this seems to be the very definition of professional poker, but many poker pros can confirm the fact that the game is more or less a day job. As for Lewis, he is inching closer to €1 million won in 2013 alone, although he is yet to match his performance of winning $467,000 in one tournament. It happened in 2010 at the European Poker Tour Vilamoura, where the British player outshined countrymen Teddy Sheringham and Sam Trickett, as well as Marty Jacobson in heads-up.
The vast majority of online poker players stay away from live tables, because they realize that they don’t have the necessary qualities to be competitive. Whether they lose focus or run out of patience, the outcome is pretty much the same as they lose a significant part of their online profits. Toby Lewis is one of the few exceptions, as he made two millions at live tables while his online gains are almost twice as high. The European Poker Tour is the next on his list of live tournaments, while over the Internet he has his eyes fixed on the Spring Championship of Online Poker, the only COOP event he is yet to win.
Sometimes people are too poor to be cheap and these words of wisdom should be kept in mind by those who play poker over the Internet. The lesson that needs to be learned is that there are many occasions, when being overcautious and calling instead of raising can prove to be more expensive on the long run. One of the errors frequently committed by beginners is to cold call pre-flop, when they have serious doubts about the strength of their hand and don’t think that they are favorite to win.
The normal thing to do in such a situation is to simply fold and wait to be dealt better cards, but then again there are exceptions to the rule. If you are playing against loose aggressive opponents and you have position on your side, it might be worth calling a small amount with a promising hand. The problem is that this is the exception to the rule and if you abuse this game mechanic, you might find yourself in awkward situations that get you pot committed.
A simple pre-flop call can drag you to the gutter, because a dangerous flop will make it virtually impossible to get out of the hand without suffering significant losses. Suited connectors and two cards above 10 can look promising pre-flop and with a little luck players get to draw for a flush or straight on the flop. What they don’t realize is that their opponents are probably having a better starting hand as they were the ones to raise and many miscalculate the number of outs.
In most cases, the amount invested pre-flop is not significant, but the result of a cold call which stands for a player calling the blinds and a single raise. On the other hand, the original raiser would probably try to take the initiative on the flop and make a continuation bet with those in late position betting as much as the pot. With the odds stacked against you, this is the last opportunity to get out of the hand with minimal losses, because calling any further will most likely get you pot committed on the river.
You don’t need to be a poker pro to realize that most of the hands played with a cold call pre-flop should be folded, but there are other alternatives if you simply can’t let go of certain cards. Surprising as it might sound, raising is usually better than calling because it gives you fold equity and paint an accurate picture of where you stand. If the opponent responds with a re-raise, at least you know that he is unwilling to let go and you won’t commit more resources to a fight that is very likely to end in defeat.
In case of an opponent who shifts into unless aggressive gear and only calls, you will have a good chance of retaking the initiative on the first street. Once again, this gives you fold equity, which is the cornerstone of successful Texas hold ’em, because it provides you with a chance of winning the hand without revealing your cards. To call hand after hand means to prolong the agony and at the end of the day will find out that sometimes we pay more for those things that are inexpensive.