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Tom Koral Talks Differences Between $10K & $1,500 Fields in H.O.R.S.E.

Tom Koral

Tom Koral may not be a household name, but with 16 cashes combined at the World Series of Poker in 2013 and 2014, he has certainly become more recognized around the poker world, evidenced by his being drafted this year in the $25K fantasy league.

With three cashes under his belt already at the 2015 WSOP just two weeks in, Koral is on pace for yet another excellent summer. Of those 19 total WSOP cashes since 2013, 14 have come in mixed games, including in both the $10K H.O.R.S.E. and the $1,500 H.O.R.S.E.

Koral has become one of the best well-rounded poker players in the game and we caught up with him yesterday during a break from Event #24: $1,500 H.O.R.S.E. to pick his brain about these mixed-game events.

PokerNews: What are the differences in approaching a $1,500 H.O.R.S.E. as opposed to a $10K H.O.R.S.E.?

Tom Koral: There are so many amateur players in a $1,500 that maybe understand two or three of the games well, but they might be weaker in the other games. So there’s a lot of good opportunities to attack those players that don’t know those specific games.

Is there a specific strategy you employ that you like that you think can carry over to the average player?

Everyone seems to have a basic idea of limit hold’em for instance — what wins and what doesn’t win — but in the other games not as much. So tightening up in limit hold’em could be valuable.

Being more aggressive in the stud games and taking people out of their comfort zone can really pay off, too, especially if you’re at a table with people who don’t have experience in those games.

Just how big of a decline in skill is there between the $10K and $1,500 events?

It’s pretty significant at times. There was just a hand at my table where, in stud high-low, I had {a-}{7-}{3-} on my board and with the given action at that point it was pretty obvious I just had a low in that situation. There was a guy that raised me with a high flush draw and put more money in the pot, and allowed me to reraise and freeroll him. He ended up missing his flush draw in the end and tank-folded what I think was a pair.

That’s a huge mistake that you won’t see people in make in the $10K’s, but in the $1,500’s people are prone to making those mistakes where they don’t understand that you’re freerolling for the entire pot.

What would you say is the average player’s worst game in H.O.R.S.E.?

I would say probably stud high-low. Making mistakes in the stud games in general can be costly because there are three big bet streets, versus hold’em and Omaha where there are two big bet streets.

In most of the stud games if you call on fifth street, you usually have to continue calling on sixth street. And unless you have a strong read on seventh street and can get away, you end up paying off the last big bet there. The mistakes compound and before you know it you’ve lost a lot of chips.

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Thanks to Tom Koral for taking the time to talk with us about the H.O.R.S.E. events. Day 2 of Event #24: $1,500 H.O.R.S.E. continues today.

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