I just read an article about how Shaun White's parents would not allow him to be coached because they were afraid it would stifle his creativity? Shaun is the greatest young snowboarder, often mistaken for Carrot-top, and may soon be a household name if he does not surf off a mountaintop and kill himself! My response to the parent's worries is that it could be true if they do not get the right coach. If they do get the right coach, however, his potential will explode to the upside. Can you imagine a tennis player, or a golfer, not having a coach? This is by way of talking about the value of a coach in a poker tournament. I believe that the upside of having a coach is enormous, providing you have some rapport.
I have literally been at more than a thousand final tables and there is no way that I can convey all of that experience to someone at their first final table, or even their first 50 final tables. I can, however, offer a lot of advice and give a lot of support to the right person. I have ventured into coaching several times in the past few years and as important as I feel this to be, in potential, it is not a common practice amongst poker players. I wonder why that is so? It amazes me when the benefits are so obvious and so many! One can see it in tennis or golf, but I think it would be even bigger in poker. And will be one day! The player can pop up and come to the rail every hand or every few hands for pithy advice.
You will hear me recommending this many times in the coming years, especially in response to questions about breaking tournaments into eight separate stages, as I do in a book to be released later this year.
I have found this very active format of continual interaction to be exhausting, but the return is large as your representative is forced to keep his emotional baggage minimal and does not have to second guess himself so much. He/she knows exactly what to do in every situation as you come down the stretch and go to the final table. They can then relax a bit and concentrate on the intangible things, the sudden silence, or the look away, or the careful stacking of chips, or the protection of the hand before the action comes to a player who acts behind them! So get a coach and then listen to him/her. A further word of advice is to get one that has some rapport with your style. You do not wish the coach to be a distraction and to argue about what the right play is in situation after situation. You want to have a coach you respect the opinion of.
On the coach's side I had the experience of being ignored at the final table of the main event of the World Series of Poker! This was truly sad...and tragic in result as my man went back to the table with another million dollars easily within his grasp and then overplayed the exact same hand that I had just used in an example of what I did not want to see him go broke with!
As a coach I have had great results, almost to the point of creating a problem. I am not willing to give up playing just yet and coaching is a full time job. If you find an older experienced person who does not want the long hours or the pressure of competing you might still be able to make an arrangement that makes sense.
Pokerstars III: the final table was played on a terrace outside the Dragon bar off the main casino in Atlantis. It is a beautiful setting with water sports in the background, it would not surprise me to see mermaids and dolphins appear at any moment. The clearly obvious thing here is that the table is young and the tournament was young and younger. Not many of us old warhorses entered it. The final table had two 18 year olds on it! Prepare for backlash!
We begin with blinds of 10,000-20,000 and antes of 2,000 and one hour rounds. I will not promise one hour rounds as after we reach five hours or so of show, television people will press for large increases at a faster pace! Aurangzeb Sheikh [Ozzy 87 on Pokerstars, barely 18 years of age] went out sixth on hand one re-raising all-in for 229,000 with the short stack and AcAs on the button (our favorite button hand!) versus Steve Paul-Ambrose's 77 (Steve had to call 164,000 more) when the layout read 7-10-3-6-3.
12:36PM Anders Henrikkson [gambler21] of Stockholm came in for a raise to 90,000 and was smooth called by Brook Lyter [flushthecat] from the little blind. The flop came Q62 and after Brook checked Anders bet 150,000 and Brook moved all-in. After some thought Anders called and went out fifth with KQ after Brook turned over AA. He still got 239,900 dollars for his effort. An older man of 24 Anders is! Brook was the really old guy in the lineup, and the only player over 30 years of age!
Michael Higgins [Higgins43] went out fourth with AQ after moving all-in versus Kd9d on a flop of K-10-9, two hearts, turn Q, and river 4. Wow! Michael had only 223,000 after his pre-flop raise to 100,000, called by Brook in the blind, so when Brook checked to him he moved all-in. Unfortunately for Michael, Brook was trapping.
David Singer doubled up in a key hand, a huge hand where he got there the old-fashioned way, he made a four million dollar pot by calling with the worst hand and made a runner runner straight! The flop came 964 and Steve checked to David who bet and Steve check-raised all-in...with the best hand, David called and the hands were turned up, K9 for Steve and 10-9 for David. The turn was an eight, and the river a seven. Following famous advice that is often given at the poker table, "When all else fails...suck out!"
The blinds were now raised to 40,000-80,000 and Steve doubled up soon thereafter with KcKh versus 7s7c when the layout came Kd6s4s9c3. Steve soon sprinted to the front again and went on to win! He returned serve against David on Singer's final hand by sucking out...not once, but twice! On the hand that put David out third he raised with AQ and David smooth called with KK. When it came Q high David raised all-in and Steve called. Turn was an ace, and river was a queen! No problem there!
Steve then turned his attention to Brook and stormed to the title getting all the money in with Q-10 versus KJ after the flop came J92, turn a Q, river a Kgiving Brook two pair and Steve a straight. In other words he again hit two winners, not just one! It was surely his day and another tournament was brought to a close with a young final table forced to submit to unstoppable youth!
So play good...and be lucky! Hit those winners twice and you will be smiling!
Ed note: Party Poker have multiple tables available at every limit, 24 hours a day.