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Strategy with Kristy: Mike Watson Discusses Playing Big Stacks

Mike Watson

Mike Watson, also known as "SirWatts," has accumulated more than $4 million in tournament winnings and is also one of the most respected high-stakes no-limit hold'em and pot-limit Omaha players online.

For this edition of Strategy with Kristy, brought to you by South Point, Watson discusses the strategy behind playing a big stack in a no-limit hold'em tournament.

Here is a snippet from the interview:

If you're at a table with a player who's good and has a big stack, how do you combat them?

I mean, it's a very difficult situation obviously. That's the nightmare scenario in a tournament. Ideally you have position on them, but if you're out of position, sometimes you have to tighten up a little bit. You might open-fold some of the speculative hands you'd usually try to pick up some chips with.

If they're going to give you trouble and three-bet you a lot, there's not much you can do. All you can do is come up with a balanced strategy against them. You're going to have to four-bet as a bluff sometimes.

If they're really over-aggressive, you might be looking to four-bet light for value hoping to induce them to spew. Sometimes, you can even take flops against them even though you're out of position and try to outplay them postflop. They might be less comfortable in a postflop game.

Players have to learn how to adapt, and for those who came up when no one was really playing that aggressive preflop, learning to four-bet as a bluff can be scary. I think it's hard for players to integrate these types of plays into their game.

Yeah definitely. I used to always be a very tight player, I think most people would say. That's definitely stuff I used to be uncomfortable putting into my own game. Once you look at the game and break it down to a more theoretical level, you realize you just have to do stuff like that. These are plays that just have to be in your arsenal because it's the only way to effectively combat the increased aggression of other players.

Tune in every week for new episodes of Strategy with Kristy, brought to you by South Point. Feel free to send in questions, ideas or suggestions for the podcast to Also remember to follow PokerNews on Twitter for up-to-the-minute news.

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