Chris 'Fox' Wallace (Poker Pro, Coach and Author) - Ask Me Anything!

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ChrisFoxWallace

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Hey CardsChat! I've just joined the team to write news and strategy articles and take photos at big events. I thought I would celebrate by doing an AMA here on the forums.

I have been playing poker professionally for almost twenty years, have written two books on the subject, worked for numerous training sites, and coached hundreds of students. I also won the wsop $10k HORSE in 2014 for over half a million dollars and have made two deep runs in the WSOP main event.

If you have questions about poker strategy, life as a pro, bankroll management, mixed games, tournaments, photography, writing, guitars, or the best places to eat in Vegas, I'm here to help.

My new book, Short Stack Ninja, was an Amazon Best Seller in it's first month and continues to get great reviews.
 
puzzlefish

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Do you still play online poker on a regular basis? If not, why did you stop?

(I did a little bit of background reading about you and I see you played some on poker stars, but more recently you played a bit on WSOP online.)

Do you consider yourself exclusively a tournament player or do you feel that you are also an effective cash game player?

If you can comment on cash games, what is the easiest way to visualize the difference between what it takes to be successful in tournament play versus cash game play?
 
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ChrisFoxWallace

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Do you still play online poker on a regular basis? If not, why did you stop?

(I did a little bit of background reading about you and I see you played some on Poker Stars, but more recently you played a bit on WSOP online.)

Do you consider yourself exclusively a tournament player or do you feel that you are also an effective cash game player?

If you can comment on cash games, what is the easiest way to visualize the difference between what it takes to be successful in tournament play versus cash game play?


I don't play online as often as I used to. Online was how I made my living for years and also how I got my start in mixed games, but I haven't considered it a big portion of my income since Black Friday. I do play some on WSOP.com these days, a few tournaments here and there and O/8 and Stud/8 games. The O/8 games from $5/10 to $30/60 have been pretty good lately.

The money just isn't as good for me online as it used to be, though the games on WSOP are definitely better than they were a couple years ago. I really miss the days when the money was good online and I could just make a living from home.

I'm primarily a cash player. Tournaments are a ton of fun, but the ups and downs are so long that I have trouble trusting tournament poker to pay my bills. Cash games have also been a much better hourly rate for me over the years, and since I play to pay the bills, I play mostly cash.

I think cash game play is really about staying sharp, at least for me. Tournaments keep me interested, but cash games, especially holdem, can be really boring. And I'm such a social person that I end up in conversations and not paying attention to the game well enough when I get bored.

Being able to play a deep stack is really important in cash games, while short stack to mid-stack play is more important in tournaments. And the mentality is different too. You can't just get up and take a walk every time you get frustrated in a tournament. You can't take breaks or leave when the table is tough either, you have to stick it out.

In cash games I think game selection and only playing when you are at your best is important. Tournaments require a real mental toughness and the ability to play well even when you are at a tough table, running bad, frustrated, hungry, whatever, because you can't leave.

Tournament fields below $1,000 are definitely very soft compared to cash games at a similar level. And online is way tougher than live.
 
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ChrisFoxWallace

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It's so great to have you aboard, Chris! I've really quite enjoyed your articles and have posted some of them on the Poker News and Events forum.

What drove you to begin writing poker articles/books?
Who introduced you to the game of HORSE?
If HORSE is your favourite variant, what is your 2nd favourite? :)

I'm so happy to be here! The whole crew at CardsChat has been great to work with!


I've always enjoyed writing. I started writing a blog for pocketfives.com in about 2004, just covering what it was like to play small stakes for a living online, and the blogs got a really good reception and became quite popular, which encouraged me to keep it up. That prompted Deal magazine to ask me to write an article for them, and that led to a gig writing for them and then other magazines.

I was lucky enough to have a good friend, my co-author from my first book Adam Stemple, who is a serious writer. Adam helped me learn to write well and I wouldn't have been able to finish the first book without his help.

I started playing HORSE for micro-stakes on Full Tilt because I was tired of holdem. I loved it right away and moved from $2/4 to $100/200 in around a year. I was hooked on mixed games the first time I played and studied everything I could about them, which wasn't much back then, and played a ton.

I like all the mixed game tournaments, and the newer mixed games like super stud/8, razzdugi, and drawmaha are a ton of fun. If I could play super razzdugi every day I think I would be really happy.
 
lukovnikofff

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Hey CardsChat! I've just joined the team to write news and strategy articles and take photos at big events. I thought I would celebrate by doing an AMA here on the forums.

I have been playing poker professionally for almost twenty years, have written two books on the subject, worked for numerous training sites, and coached hundreds of students. I also won the WSOP $10k HORSE in 2014 for over half a million dollars and have made two deep runs in the WSOP main event.

If you have questions about poker strategy, life as a pro, bankroll management, mixed games, tournaments, photography, writing, guitars, or the best places to eat in Vegas, I'm here to help.

My new book, Short Stack Ninja, was an Amazon Best Seller in it's first month and continues to get great reviews.
Hello, I am very glad that you have joined our forum and many of us ordinary fans of this wonderful game will be able to ask such a professional their questions personally! I hope you will share your experience with us and this will help all of us improve our game! It would also be cool if you could play our private freerolls with us! I would like to ask you about the strategy of playing at low stakes, how to improve your game on them, which style of play is better than aggressive or passive? Thank you in advance for your answers!
 
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ChrisFoxWallace

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Hello, I am very glad that you have joined our forum and many of us ordinary fans of this wonderful game will be able to ask such a professional their questions personally! I hope you will share your experience with us and this will help all of us improve our game! It would also be cool if you could play our private freerolls with us! I would like to ask you about the strategy of playing at low stakes, how to improve your game on them, which style of play is better than aggressive or passive? Thank you in advance for your answers!


I'll look into the freerolls, that sounds like fun but I don't know if they will always be at times when I'm free. And I will definitely be sharing my experience to help everyone improve their game, that's part of what I signed on to do here.

The more I learn about poker, the more I think that the idea of aggressive or passive play being better really hurts your game. Find the correct play, not the most aggressive or most tricky or anything else. The more you learn, the more times you will make a correct decision, regardless of whether betting or checking is the right play.

I often find my students who decide to be more aggressive get themselves in trouble because they just mash the raise button and don't understand why, how, or when, to do it. Learn how to play in every spot and how to analyze a hand, and you won't have to worry about labels like passive or aggressive. The only label I care about is profitable. If the decision is the most profitable, then it's the right one.
 
57noona

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Hello Chris thanks for joining Cardschat. What is your favorite game form of poker? Mine is Holdem
but I wished I could find a place to learn how to play razz.
 
Edison A

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Hi Chris, Welcome to Cardschat, you can leave us your links for your social networks please, it will be great to follow you
 
hog123

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Hey Chris

My questions is about brm

At the beginning of your career did you ever struggle with bankroll management?

What did you do to fix or attempt to fix it?

And yes we all know it's about control. What was your biggest factor for your brm success? Besides being a winning player

Thanks and welcome to CC

hog123(ACR). A.K.A Allen
 
gardin555

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Hey CardsChat! I've just joined the team to write news and strategy articles and take photos at big events. I thought I would celebrate by doing an AMA here on the forums.

I have been playing poker professionally for almost twenty years, have written two books on the subject, worked for numerous training sites, and coached hundreds of students. I also won the WSOP $10k HORSE in 2014 for over half a million dollars and have made two deep runs in the WSOP main event.

If you have questions about poker strategy, life as a pro, bankroll management, mixed games, tournaments, photography, writing, guitars, or the best places to eat in Vegas, I'm here to help.

My new book, Short Stack Ninja, was an Amazon Best Seller in it's first month and continues to get great reviews.

I love HORSE, I want to improve my HORSE game! You will see me here asking!
Welcome to the forum Chris! :)
 
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ChrisFoxWallace

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Hello Chris thanks for joining Cardschat. What is your favorite game form of poker? Mine is Holdem
but I wished I could find a place to learn how to play razz.


I really like the split pot stud games. For most players Stud/8 is the only split pot stud game they see, but in some of the mixed games we play all kinds of crazy split pot stud games like razzdugi and super stud/8 and even crazier things with high badugi variants added in or razzduecy and razzdacey.

Learning to play Razz is tough. I learned on my own and studied hard and played lots of hands to get a good feel for the game and then used the twodimes.net calculator and a spreadsheet to figure out a lot of tougher spots. There hasn't been anything good written on the game that I have read, but that will all change soon because I am working on a HORSE book with two other mixed game world champions. The book should be out before the next WSOP and the section on Razz will definitely be the best thing that has ever been written about Razz strategy.
 
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ChrisFoxWallace

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I love HORSE, I want to improve my HORSE game! You will see me here asking!
Welcome to the forum Chris! :)


Thank you, I look forward to meeting new people here. And my HORSE book, written with two other mixed game world champions, will be out in the next few months.
 
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ChrisFoxWallace

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Hey Chris

My questions is about brm

At the beginning of your career did you ever struggle with bankroll management?

What did you do to fix or attempt to fix it?

And yes we all know it's about control. What was your biggest factor for your brm success? Besides being a winning player

Thanks and welcome to CC

hog123(ACR). A.K.A Allen

I haven't ever really struggled with bankroll management in terms of the desire to play too high, though there were times in my career when my expenses were really high and making enough money with a small bankroll was a real challenge. This was particularly true right after black Friday when most of my bankroll was on Full Tilt and I had to make enough money to pay a mortgage with the crumbs that I had left.

I have written a lot about bankroll management, and in fact my first really popular article was a piece on bankroll management for pocketfives.com that was read by hundreds of thousands of players. P5s even gave me an award for The 2005 Article Of The Year that I still have somewhere. And I've worked with a ton of students on it and it's usually something we can get handled pretty easily once we find the root of the problem.

I think the key is to figure out why you are having problems. It is usually one of the following issues.

1. You love to gamble and have trouble staying at one stake and just beating the game. If this is true, you have to learn that moving up too fast is guaranteed ruin, you might as well take that money and throw it in the garbage. Then you need to set hard rules that you never break. Like you can not move up to a bigger cash game until your bankroll has 30 buy-ins for that game, and if you drop down to 20 buy-ins you have to move back down.

2. You really want to play big because of the fun, the respect, and the cache that higher stakes players have. If this is the problem, just know that you can't beat a bigger game unless you can beat the game below it. If you can't build up a big enough bankroll to move up comfortably by playing the smaller game, you aren't good enough to move up yet anyway. Stop caring about respect or dreaming about playing bigger games, and start studying to beat the crap out of the game you can afford and moving up will take care of itself when it's time.

3. You are spending money out of your bankroll and constantly shorting yourself. This is like reverse compound interest. It's compound spending. Every dollar you spend means that you earn less because you are short rolled and unable to play games that you could otherwise beat. Sometimes life comes along and eats a big chunk of your bankroll. This happens to all of us. But you must remember the old saying that a printer who sells his printing press to pay his rent will never pay his rent again. Your bankroll is your printing press, and it prints money.

The generally best solution is to set some rules, commit to following them, stop caring about how big you are playing and start worrying about how well you are playing instead, and then work hard to improve. If you do these things the bankroll problem will usually take care of itself.

I'm not sure I have had success with bankroll management. I have never gone broke and have been playing for a living for almost twenty years, but this is because I am so risk averse. I would really hate to go broke. Which has probably cost me millions of dollars because I have moved up slower, taken so few risks, and missed opportunities that made other players a ton of money.

So, one the one hand, I have been successful in paying my bills and not going broke or having to get a job, but on the other hand I watched players with similar skills take more risks and eventually end up with millions.

Good luck building that bankroll!
 
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Welcome to Cardschat Chris!! :wavey: and thx for the help,,, in advance. ;) Great to have you aboard. :captain:
 
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Hi Chris, welcome to Cardschat! :)

I am really looking forward to your HORSE book. I enjoy mixed games but I know that I have to improve a lot.
Razz is one my absolute favorite games. A few years ago I thought, I am quite good. Now I am not so sure, so I am really looking forward to the Razz chapter :)

My question: When you won the 10k HORSE, it was a tough final table. Did you think you were the best player at the table? Who was the toughest player or did this depend on the game? :)
 
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Hi Chris, welcome to Cardschat! :)

I am really looking forward to your HORSE book. I enjoy mixed games but I know that I have to improve a lot.
Razz is one my absolute favorite games. A few years ago I thought, I am quite good. Now I am not so sure, so I am really looking forward to the Razz chapter :)

My question: When you won the 10k HORSE, it was a tough final table. Did you think you were the best player at the table? Who was the toughest player or did this depend on the game? :)


Oh, good question.

That was a really tough table. I generally always thought I was the best player at the table in a HORSE game back then. Most people hadn't caught up to some of the knowledge we had about the games and were too timid and too passive when they did call. The game is really much tougher now that so many smart young players have learned to play these games well in the past few years.

I thought Calvin Anderson was one of the best players in the world at the time, and was really happy to see him go broke early. Max Pescatori and Randy Ohel both played very well and have proven to be really strong mixed players in the years since. And it's very possible I was the only person at that table who thought I was the best player there, but I knew from my high stakes online results that I could play with anyone.

I think if there was one player I wouldn't want to face again at that table it would be a Cal, he's really tough and fearless.
 
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Hello my name is Chris and i want You to ask about BRM strategy to play MTT's

How many buy ins strategy do you use ?
for example if you want to play 5$ mtt it should be 5k$ roll or mby agressive strat and only 100-250? bui ins ? im not begginner but it was always my worst thing in poker online :( how to manage ur BR ;/
 
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Chris, how important was it for you to win a bracelet? Was this one of your lifetime goals or did you enter a WSOP tournament once in a while just to have fun?
 
AndryxaDovolen

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good afternoon! I cannot address by name because I use a translator) and he does not spell your name correctly .. Thanks for the previous answers, they opened my way in the right direction. I'm a beginner with a sad result) and I think I am in the right place. Please tell me how to stop at the chip leader stage and not go into all the hands? I play micro-limits and it’s impossible, as it seems to me, not to respond to the maximum with monsters. a lot of people just sit back and get to the prize places in the tournament, and from the position of the chip leader I slide down to zero. how to overcome this passion? I understand my mistake, but during the game I can not stop. I think I might be missing a good combination. and when I fold preflop, the very monsters of the combination come very often. What about my head?) Thanks in advance!
 
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ChrisFoxWallace

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Hello my name is Chris and i want You to ask about BRM strategy to play MTT's

How many buy ins strategy do you use ?
for example if you want to play 5$ mtt it should be 5k$ roll or mby agressive strat and only 100-250? bui ins ? im not begginner but it was always my worst thing in poker online :( how to manage ur BR ;/


I wish there was an easy answer for this. The answer is dependent on a few factors.

1. Field size. In a field of ten, or even fifty, you are going to win a lot more often. In a field of five thousand, you are almost never going to win, no matter how good you are. So the fields that you are playing should have a big effect on what you choose to play. In fields over a few hundred players, the bankroll number is really hard to calculate, but would be quite large.

2. Your ROI. This one is also hard to calculate exactly, because both you, and the game, have changed since you played your last thousand tournaments. But if you are a big winner, the necessary bankroll number will be much smaller.

3. Your risk tolerance. I tend to play well below my bankroll because the only thing that really tilts me is a downswing. If I lose even 5% of my roll on a rough patch, I'm stressed out. 10% makes me annoyed until I win it back.

4. Whether you can add to, or replace, your bankroll if you need to. . If you are playing $5 tournaments and make 100k a year, then don't worry about bankroll at all. If you are playing $500 tournaments and you play poker for a living, then bankroll management is super important.

So start with 50 buy-ins for MTTs and then modify that number significantly based on how you feel about the factors above.
 
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