Improving Your Game with David Randall, Vol. 1: Teaching Through Examples

David Randall

People close to me that are not involved in the poker world always ask me what a normal day in my life is like. So I figured I would open up my first blog entry by shining some light on that question. I have four main things that I may be putting the majority of my energy to in a given day. These include traveling to play big tournaments, grinding cash games in Las Vegas, teaching students, and fitness. Lately, the majority of my energies have been spent on teaching students and fitness.

Here's a look at what a normal day looks like for me:

I wake up around 9 a.m. (usually because of the drilling that has been going on at Panorama lately), drink a delicious (sarcasm much?) green drink, and check my emails and social media to see if anything special is going on out in the world. Then it’s time to get to business.

Recently, my cardio workout has consisted of heading over to UNLV for some basketball. I get home around 3-4 p.m. usually, log onto Eat24 to have my favorite salmon dish brought to my door, and then begin preparing my lessons for the day. I have made the transition from teaching predominantly online tournament grinders to coaching live grinders (cash and tournaments) now. At first, it was a somewhat difficult transition simply because the games are so different. When coaching online tournament players, I would normally have them retrieve a hand history and review it with them. Coaching people in person has forced me to get a lot more creative.

Generally, people purchase lessons in bulks of five. I break these five lessons up to cover five main strategy points. These points are:

  • How to handle different board textures when our opponent has the lead
  • Whether we should be planning to take a pot down in one, two, or three bets when we have the lead
  • Three-bet spots and how to play them post flop
  • Getting max value against fish (creative post-flop lines)
  • The fifth lesson is all encompassing to review the concepts previously talked about

Each lesson requires preparation because I teach through examples (that I make up). Every student has different leaks, and I cater each example to illustrate them.

For example, I recently had a student that had a tendency to play too passively on wet boards even though they beat most of the combinations in their opponent’s range that they are willing to inflate with. The example I gave the student was a Jx10x8x board. Let's say our opponent is a middle-aged man and opens from early position, and we flat with J10 from the cutoff seat. We are in a heads-up pot, and our opponent continuation bets $30 into a $40 pot, playing effective stacks of $1,000 (think of a normal $2/$5 game).

Should we raise this flop or call? If we raise, what do we do if he comes over the top? The second question paralyzed him with fear. As a result, he is normally just calling this flop as opposed to raising it. When I broke down the hand combinations for him, he saw that since the guy is never opening Qx9x and rarely 9x7x, he basically has a set (which we have two blockers to) or a hand that we have beat. On the flip side, there is a good chance he will lose his mind with a hand like AxAx, KxKx, or QxQx. Even AxJx will overplay their hand sometimes and get the money in behind.

Every leak that someone has can be illustrated in an example. As an instructor, my job is to provide a set of examples that are most likely to isolate mental mistakes consistently made. Having taught over 130 students privately and answered hundreds of questions on forums, I have created list of 50 examples for each student, and each example highlights a different nuanced strategy point.

I have never had a single student walk me through all 50 examples without finding multiple leaks in their games (some students have bigger leaks than others). This is because we all make mistakes. We all have tendencies where, in certain situations, we will act out of fear rather than logic, and as a result either miss value or spew in a spot where we shouldn’t.

In later blogs, I will further explore some of these examples where leaks come out. In the meantime, I will sit back with my delicious meal from Eat24 and prepare another lesson plan.

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them in the comments box below. Good luck at the tables!

David Randall is a professional poker player residing in Las Vegas, Nevada. He has nearly $700,000 in live tournament earnings, including one World Series of Poker final table and one World Poker Tour final table. The largest score on Randall's live record is from a $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em event at the 2010 WSOP when he took third for $270,299.

For more strategy tips, tricks, tutorials, podcasts, and more, head to the Strategy section of the site and start exploring today!

Name Surname
David Randall

More Stories

Other Stories