In this latest “In Conversation” video for the Paul Phua Poker School, Wai Kin Yong and Rui Cao share three secrets for poker success, and remember an amazing hero call. Paul Phua picks the video highlights
If the Triton Super High Roller Series has a break-out star, it’s surely Wai Kin Yong. My young friend has had a superb run: in three Triton SHR tournaments between September 2016 and February 2017, he won twice and came sixth once, for a total of more than US$3m.
Watch this new video for the Paul Phua Poker School, in which Wai Kin Yong explores the secrets of his success with me and Rui Cao, one of the most respected of all French players.
Learn from other poker players
In Wai Kin Yong and Rui Cao’s previous Paul Phua Poker School video, they talked about their aggressive playing style. But actually, as you will find in this new video, Wai Kin Yong achieved poker tournament success only when he tempered that style with a little more caution. In poker tournaments your chips are more precious than in cash: you cannot rebuy. It makes sense to take a slightly less aggressive strategy, and to narrow your hand range.
Here, Wai Kin Yong gives credit to his excellent mentor, the pro Mikael Thuritz. “He’s a great teacher,” says Wai Kin Yong. “I mean, he improved my game, like, 500% maybe!”
Rui Cao, too, stresses the importance of learning from others, no matter how high a level you reach at poker. “I used to watch a lot of videos,” says Rui Cao, “talk with a lot of friends, so it’s not a single person, but just a group of people who made me a better player. I like to talk with good players all the time, so little by little I become better, l think.”
Play the poker player, not the cards
Wai Kin Yong and Rui Cao have played poker together many times, but when asked for their most memorable hand, they both immediately think of the same one.
On a board that ended up something like 7-4-J-6-A, Wai Kin Yong held just pocket nines. All the same, when Rui Cao check-raised the flop, bet the turn, then jammed the river, Wai Kin Yong still managed to call him down! It shows how important it is to know your opponent’s playing style: Wai Kin Yong evidently decided Rui Cao was capable of a triple-barrel bluff.
Wai Kin Yong explains: “I was like, ‘Hmm, it’s Rui Cao. I call with nines. Good!’ And he got so mad about it. I called with nines, ha ha!”
That fearlessness, that ability to trust your read no matter how intimidating the bet, is one of the many things that separates the true poker pro from the amateur.
Play for love of the game, not just money
Finally, we discuss what it takes to be good at poker. Rui Cao believes you need to play from the heart as much as the head; for love, not money.
“If you play the game to win money,” says Rui Cao, “you can be a top player, but you won’t be world class. Maybe you are going to be able to win a little bit, but you’re not going to love it. I think loving the game is the most important thing in poker.”
Wai Kin Yong returns to the opening theme of the video when he says: “I think the most important thing for beginners is their willingness to learn, and admit that you’re not good, you know. Whereas l have known people who play poker every day, and they are losing every day, but they just think it’s bad luck. And l don’t think poker has that much bad luck.
“You have to question yourself, and improve.”