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Improve Your Live Poker Skills at the PSPC with These Tips from Spraggy

January 4, 2023
by PokerStars Learn

What three tips would you suggest to a player who’s never played a large buy-in event before?


  1. Take a few hands to get acclimatised to the table, check out the surroundings, the players, get comfortable before you start blasting off into pots.
  2. Don’t be intimidated by the field. Yes, there might be some more proficient players than you but over a small sample anything can happen, they only get dealt 2 cards, just like you do!
  3. Try to always be aware of stack depths if you’re fortunate enough to be approaching the money, be aware of whose stack you can pressure near the bubble and who can pressure you.

What can a beginner do to reduce nervousness at the table?

Spraggy:  Try to remember that you’re playing the same game as you’ve played before, despite the buy in level the mechanics are familiar to you. Revert back into that familiarity as best as you can, you know what to do, trust in the game you have played before and try to realise that the decisions are the same despite the money on the line.


Is there anything players should do to avoid giving away ‘tells’ at the table?

Spraggy:  Ha! I have no idea; I’m still convinced that I give off live tells when I play but I might just be paranoid. I would say try not to talk during hands if your opponent is probing for information, a lack of experience here can easily be your undoing. It’s not rude to just sit in silence and ignore an opponent who is trying to gather clues.


Do you make any changes or preplanning when playing at a major event like the PSPC?

Spraggy:  Nothing in particular, I try to be as well rested as I can be which is not always easy when travelling. I will be studying a bunch in the lead up to the event but anyone who considers themselves a professional should be doing that anyway so for the most part it’s business as usual.

How do you stay focused and fresh when playing long days at live events?

Spraggy:  Take your breaks seriously, I try to step right away from the poker room I best I can and get some room to breath, I don’t like spending the breaks in a big group and whilst I might talk a little bit of poker I try not to fixate or get bogged down with running over specific hands. Post tournament, sleep, sleep, sleep. It can be very tempting to hang out with players at the end of a long tournament day, fine for a bit, but try not to get caught at the bar or club at 4am when you have a big day 2 coming up.


How do you deal with a bad run of hands in a big live tournament?

Spraggy:  Be patient and fold, and then be more patient and keep folding. You are going to have periods in live poker where you just don’t really do much for an orbit or two and that’s fine. Keep folding.


How would you suggest playing if you build up a big stack in a high buy-in tournament like the PSPC?

Spraggy:  Keep doing whatever it was that put you in a position to have a big stack! Don’t get to caught up with thinking you’re the big stack and you need to bully people around to gather more chips, that’s very rarely the case particularly in the earlier stages of the tournament.

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