We have recently published the interview with Magiet12, our 6-max PLO coach. Today we are glad to present the interview with our another PLO coach, HU specialist. Our heroes have a lot in common. They both have an experience at high stakes and great results in the most prestigious online tournaments.
Read the interview to find out how the PLO section works, what are Kmpk's memories related to his biggest successes, how does he deal mentally with playing poker and what an influence had playing "chess HU" on his poker journey.
Smart Backing: Hello Kmpk! Thank you for agreeing to this interview. First, I would like to ask you about PLO section. How it all began, how your cooperation with players looks?
Kmpk90: Hello! Our PLO section started to work since the beginning of October 2017. The idea came up thanks to me and people that I know that are knowledgeable in the poker market and poker rooms we currently play at. Our goal is to put our players to as many levels of stakes as possible, starting from lower stakes to higher ones – obviously, the most talented the player is, the faster he will move up in stakes.
I am responsible for HU part of the section. We have a small group, thanks to it I am able to provide individual lessons and conversations to our players. The list is not closed yet, of course.
There is also a 6-max section. Before Magiet joined us, I was the only person that was taking care of it. Asking Magiet for help was the best decision. In my opinion, he is one of the best Polish PLO 6-max players. For years, me and a group of top regs were undervaluing him, but he showed amazing results and he was going like a bomb among the group of the best players. He is absolutely fantastic and a hard-working guy.
Why is it worth to join PLO section?
Now it is the perfect moment to join us – thanks to the small group of players, as I said before, we provide an individual attitude. Both me and Magiet are able to sacrifice a lot of time for each person.
Our players achieve great results. We have almost EV 40bb/100 win rate after over 100k hands and over $200k in winnings. We are crushing consequently from lower stakes to the stakes that, thanks to being them very deep, I would compare to $10/$20 on PokerStars.
We provide access for our players to much easier games than on PokerStars with much bigger, deeper action and uncomparable win rates.
Our group is very integrated. We are talking about the game, analyse opponents, share our own point of view on each other play style. Every player has its strongest sides and he adds value to the group.
Kmpk's graph - over 20bb/100
What materials do you provide for players?
When it comes to my part of the section, there is one guaranteed public training in a week, lasting 60 minutes. There is also almost always another training where I show my game via Teamviewer, it lasts up to 5 hours.
What’s more, I evaluate around 15-20 hands of our players every day. There aren’t any hands that I leave without an answer.
I can say that we take care of our players 24h/day. For example, if a player asks me for railing at 1 AM, because he has a big deep on huge stakes, this is usually not a problem for me to accept this request.
When and why did you decide to become a coach?
I became a coach few years before I started working for Smart Backing. I decided to start coaching when I realised how much money you can earn by playing HU Omaha and how easy it is to learn someone else beating this game.
After a while I realised coaching is not that easy as I thought, however I haven’t had any real teaching failure – every poker player I was giving lessons to is a winning player till today.
What are your other roles in Smart Backing?
I am well oriented in different poker markets and I help staff to make some of the decisions – new rooms, better games, new cooperations. I also help players to start playing on new poker rooms.
What stakes do you currently play at?
I play from around PLO600 to PLO6000 and sometimes lower stakes when I want to prepare materials for our players. I decided to no longer play on PokerStars and move all my volume to the other poker rooms. I think the games will not be that juicy forever there, so it is worth to dig the gold while it is still possible.
You were playing at high stakes on PokerStars, though.
Yes, I was playing up to $50/$100, but I would call myself a former reg at stakes $10/$20 - $20/$50.
I think the only obstacle you can have when it comes to these games is the bankroll and the country you come from. I come from Poland and for me playing that high isn’t necessary – I can easily earn satisfying money on lower stakes. My approach in poker was never to reach the final boss in the game and follow Isildur1’s path, just to make enough money to keep my life at a decent standard to its end.
So you want to play poker till the end of your life?
No, definitely not. I told myself that Smart Backing PLO is my last poker project and after that, I plan to take a new path in life. However, I absolutely love poker and I am sure I will have contact with it for my entire life, even if it will be an only semi-amateur path.
Why did you choose HU?
The first thing is that HU has incomparably higher win rates to 6-max. If you spot the fish at 6-max table, usually there will be four regs around you. In HU the fish is going to donate it only to you.
Moreover, I think HU is crème de la crème of poker. I understand not everyone agrees with that, but this is my opinion, maybe because I have been playing chess for a long time.
Our PLO players' results from May 2018 (graph in CNY)
Did chess have any influence on your poker?
Yes, definitely. I am a big fan of bullets in chess – very fast games (60 seconds). I think I have played around 30,000, maybe 40,000 games like that and it helped me a lot in poker. I still like doing that.
Another poker player that was playing fast chess is my friend, Killuifuplay, from Smart Spin. I think chess had also an impact on his success in poker.
The “chess HU” is a quintessence of reflex, making fast, good decisions (not necessarily the best ones), making variants-trees and predicting your opponent’s moves. Heads-up in poker is very similar – you make decision trees in your head, you have to know what you will do after your opponent will check or bet, etc.
You have also played online tournaments with nice results - you were 3rd in The Bigger $162, vice-champion in SCOOP 2012 PLO HU $2,100 tournament and you managed to qualify to the final table of Sunday Million in 2011.
Yes, my biggest success was definitely a second place at the SCOOP. In this tournament my advantage was that I haven’t been well known by other players – and I had at the tables players from absolute world top. I was playing in quite unpredictable and aggressive way. My opponents were playing carefully and that’s why I was beating them round by round. When they noticed that I was playing very aggressively, it was too late for them, as I had already made a huge advantage thanks to non-SD before. I am sure I will never forget this tournament and especially the final match. My opponent was the guy that had only 120 tournaments played on PokerStars, and after winning this tournament he stopped playing – it was his last tournament. I had a big edge over him, unfortunately, I lost the final round, but it is my biggest success anyway.
How do you deal mentally with playing poker?
In the past, I had serious issues when it comes to mindset. I was really agonizing over failures, I was throwing mouses. I was tilting a lot and I haven’t been ending losing sessions.
I tried to work with the psychologist (only 2 sessions though), but, to be honest, it didn’t help me that much.
I decided to learn how to deal with pressure on my own. Today I am way more advanced player mentally. Thanks to it I have smaller swings and I am less nervous. I decided also to stop playing formats with the biggest variance - MTT and, what can surprise some of you, 6-max PLO – the win rates are way bigger in HU than in 6-max what makes HU much less swingy.
In the end, I would like to ask you about your funniest poker story.
Well, that’s interesting. I won’t mention any story in this interview, I can just tell you there are so maaaany funny stories connected with poker I will never forget that it is possible I will write a book about it someday.
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