How Does Phil Gruissem Win High Rollers?

By Maria McCoyGoogle
Phil Gruissem is quickly building up a reputation for becoming a High Roller tournament terminator with almost $4 million in tournament career winnings.

The German loves the high stakes buy-ins and seems to have his strategy down with a consistent winning style that you can’t help but admire. He is also a cheerful guy to be around at the table with an incredible sense of humour, and at the same time he does have a serious side to his game that comes out in every hand he gets involved in. His meticulous and thoughtful approach just can’t go ignored any further, so we have tried to break down what it is that makes him so successful.

When we looked through some of his hands it just seems Gruissem has a knack of knowing when to fold. That doesn’t mean winning tournaments isn’t about calling, betting or raising because that’s how you win, but you also lose tournaments in the same way.

In one hand Gruissem pulls out a risky two-pair on the flop, but he is behind to a Broadway straight. Gerbi his opponent is first to act after the flop and checks the action to which Gruissem bets out 40k on a board that reads 10c-Qh-Ks. Gruissem looks good with his Kh-Qs hand, but surely has no idea Gerbi has Ah-Jh. Danger starts to loom as Gerbi makes a 3-bet check raise to 115k splashing the pot.

This is where the Gruissem magic starts to kick in as he now smooth calls with some suspicion of his opponent’s quick firing check-raise. The next card is a little scary for Gerbi as the 6c comes out Gerbi must be thinking there is a possibly of Gruissem nailing the back door flush, so when the action is on Gerbi he wastes no time in going all-in. At this point the check-raise on the flop was fast and Gerbi splashed the pot, plus now on the turn card Gerbi once again is quick to take Gruissem all-in.

With Gruissem’s two-pair this is a tough spot to fold the cards, but Gruissem thinks things over a little and decides that the straight is out there. To look deeper into Gruissem’s thinking there were two possibilities he had thought of:

1.      Gerbi had flopped the straight
2.      Gerbi has a set and is worried Gruissem is on a straight draw, so he wants to push Gruissem into a fold or get value out of him if he misses his straight draw.

The fact that Gruissem is even contemplating the second option shows how deep his understanding of the game is, and as he doesn’t have the cards Gerbi has possibly put him on Gruissem effectively has two reasons to fold. On top of this, Gerbi’s willingness to fire strong bets at the pot so quickly adds a third reason to get away from this hand as he is acting strong.

In the end this is enough for Gruissem to give up the hand and get out alive, but would you have folded top two pair? What a fold and there’s exactly how you wait for the right spot in poker. If you feel you are behind, there is always another hand out there. Good instincts from the German. This just goes to show that when making a risk there is always a sensible backdoor out of losing more on your bets, but this takes experience to master and a great understanding of the game you are playing.

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