Questions and Answers

AskThePRO with Chris "Apotheosis" Kruk

We would like to invite all our users to watch and participate in yet another AskThePRO episode on TiltBook.com that will take place on Wednesday, 20.11.2013 at 20:30 CET!

You can start posting your questions right now and when the session begins, our hero will choose and answer your best and most interesting ones in a course of exactly one hour (during which you can still post more questions)!

This week's special guest: Chris "Apotheosis" Kruk

Believe or not, our this week's guest began playing cash games on PokerStars seriously only in January of 2013 when he took a semester off of school and actually borrowed $2500 from his mother (do not try this at home, lol!) to start playing NL100 Zoom. Chris Kruk better known as Apotheosis quickly found himself sitting regularly at NL500 where he currently puts in most of his volume, but he also can be seen at $5/$10 Zoom when it runs and has sat as high as $25/$50 before. Chris focuses nearly exclusively on NL 6-max cash games and sprinkles in a few tournaments here and there to add some variety. He has one small live cash to his name (for €4200 euro) which occurred in the Estrellas High Roller Event during EPT barcelona in August of 2013.

Chris is currently a coach for Leggopoker/Iveyleague where he makes instructional videos helping players improve their game. Chris is also a student himself, studying Biochemistry at Queen's University in Ontario, Canada, where he is part way through his 3rd year. Chris plans on eventually finishing his degree and then looking into either law school or medicine.

To read more about this fasctinating persona and possibly get some of the magic that lead him into becoming such a beast so fast, visit his official Leggopoker page and of course, do not miss out on this week's AskThePRO!

Chris will be live and happy to answer any questions you have on Wednesday, 20.11.2013 at 20:00 CET at www.tiltbook.com/AskThePRO. And as always, remember the best question posted will win $20!

Sorry, you can't post questions at the moment.

TiltBook: Hey Chris, thanks for doing the AskThePRO! I guess my first question is, how the hell did you manage to move up so fast and what do you think you are so much better at than other regs that it actually happened like that? Thanks!
November 18, 2013 13:05
Hey so I'm not sure I'm better at much of anything than the regs I play against now haha. As for the regs I started off against at 100 NL I'd say I was significantly better at handreading than they were. There was so many times where people made absolutely atrocious calls where I honestly couldn't even believe what I was getting called by. I assume similar folds were also made though I obviously didn't see those. I guess part of my "moving up so fast" was also my aggressive BRM. I moved up to 200 NL with ~5k and was taking my first shots at 500 with ~12.5k.
 photo Apotheosis November 20, 2013 20:51
Scarmaker: Hiya Chris, Is the thing about borrowing money for poker from your mum actually true? Can you elaborate more on that story? :P
November 18, 2013 13:21
It is indeed true. I returned home from exams in late december (a few days before Christmas last year) and was really sick of school. To be quite honest I've really hated university. I think there are several reasons for that. I won't bore you to death with the details but a combination of a horrible ex and not really enjoying the classes I had to attend as part of my degree combined with the fact that I had spent the previous summer studying/writing my MCAT[ the standardized test to get into medical school in Canada/USA] (which meant I had been in school for ~16 months straight at that point) all combined to leave me completely worn out. Anyway, I was pretty sure I didn't want to go back in January and needed to at least take a semester off to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. As I'm sure you're aware, a high school diploma and 2.5 years of a 4 year biochemistry degree leaves you about as qualified work as a carrot stick. I didn't want to work somewhere like Burger King or w/e and I had played poker leisurely prior to this and thought that people at 100 NL played poorly. I didn't know how much money I could make but I figured since I only needed to make > 10$/hr after rakeback for it to be better than working at Burger King It was a fairly safe bet I could do it. (add in the fact it's significantly more fun and I'd have been happy with ~8$/hr. Anyway, after deciding that was what I wanted to do I approached my mother with this plan and informed her I would need $2500 to start this project and that hopefully I would be able to pay her back her $2500 in a few months. She had to think about a little while but eventually (with a lot of persuading by my step father I'm sure) loaned me the $2500. I pretty much destroyed 100/200 NL in January. By the end of the month I had paid her back and had ~10k on stars and off I went.
 photo Apotheosis November 20, 2013 21:00
kalaimihai: How do math and psychology cross in poker? For example, if the book says a certain hand is a loser 60 percent of the time, how would this change if you know your opponent likes to raise with weak hands at this point, and if you suspect he is bluffing? And a small one pls!! If you could sit down and play a game of poker with any five people in the world (living or deceased), who would you pick?
November 18, 2013 20:29
I'll do the 2nd one first since it's shorter. If I got to pick from only poker players I'd have to take Daniel Negreanu (Canadian, seems like an all round good guy). Phil Laak and Antonio Esfandiari (Who the hell would be more fun to play with than these two guys? Also, I think Phil Laak doesn't get as much credit for being good as he deserves. This fold against Johnny Chan is spectacular (because of how fast he mucks)http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2mt-ig_8T9M). Phil Ivey (because he's probably the greatest all around player of all time?) Phil Hellmuth (I mean, what's better than a fish with deep pockets that's absolutely convinced he's the best player at the table? $$) As for how I think psychology and math cross in poker, I believe it's a function of the quality of the poker being played. At it's absolute highest level, poker is purely math. If you deviate from an optimal strategy you are decreasing your EV. It actually requires your opponent to have fairly significant leaks for it to be wise to deviate from an optimal strategy. The psychology only comes in when your opponent is playing exploitably and (as my friend likes to put it) you can try to "be a magician" and guess what your opponent is doing.
 photo Apotheosis November 20, 2013 21:13
Sentin: Can you discuss the need (or lack of need) for postflop balance at 200nl + 500nl zoom (more interested in 200nl but know 500 is your main game)? Do you think most regs are paying enough attention to warrant balancing in all postflop situations or is focusing on hand-reading and perceived range sufficient in most instances?
November 19, 2013 21:01
I think at 200 NL you don't have to be any more balanced than having some bluffs and some value in pretty much every spot. I wouldn't worry about anything more complicated than that. I think actual hand range and perceived range is sufficient for 200 NL. At 500 it's a function of who you're playing. Some regs (the 200 guys that also play some 500 mostly and the lower end of the 500 only regs) I'd treat exactly like 200 NL guys. I'd start to worry about being balanced exclusively against the absolute best 500 regs (mostly the guys that play 1k when it runs and some 1k/2k regular tables).
 photo Apotheosis November 20, 2013 21:17
kramirez05: Hi Chris, i just want to ask, did you have moments where you're having a hard time balancing poker and studies? Also how do u shift your focus and motivation from studies to playing poker. I have seen so many players here at such a young age just like you and very successful. I wanted to ask what makes the young generation so good at right now. And 1 last question, when you're at the tables playing, what are you thinking most of the time aside from winning and strategy? Sorry for lots of question. And good luck to u always.
November 20, 2013 11:40
I actually have barely been in school while playing seriously so I've been lucky. That being said, I do have a few courses at the moment and I'll have a full course load next semester. I think it's about just managing your time well. Play poker when you want to play poker and study when you want to study, but also realize that there are times you just have to sit down and do one of them (even if you don't want to). When I play I'm solely focused on playing (or at least I try to be, sometimes I end up talking with guys on skype). As for what makes young players good I think it's the combination of a few things. First of all, younger people have more free time as they aren't tied down by work, a wife, kids etc... and they also have more incentive to get good at poker due to financial implications. For example, if I'm a 20 year old kid that can work at McDonalds for 10$/hr or play poker for 200$/hr I have plenty of incentive to learn how to play poker well. If however, I'm a 45 year old surgeon making 250$/hr now I don't have much incentive to learn to play poker as the salary cap is comparable to what I'm already making and I have to invest time to get there.
 photo Apotheosis November 20, 2013 21:27
johnaz: Hello Chris, I'm currently playing NL50 zoom, and after struggling first it seems to be going well now. I have a question about higher levels, starting at 100.. are the players playing very laggy or is it acceptable for me to stick at something like 20/21-16/17 (6/7 3b)? also what about squeezing? how essential it is to chase people pre? I mean, I almost alway do this with hands like KQo, AQo and AJo, but that's pretty much it (+value obv).
November 20, 2013 12:58
I don't think it's wise to outline a strategy for every stake as it's going to be so dependent on who's at the table. That being said, I think as far as moving up stakes the jump is mostly psychological. People think that the guys a level or 2 above them are these beasts that are absolutely unbeatable so they make these drastic changes, but realistically you should just stick with what has worked so far. As for your squeezing hands, those are definitely good candidates, but once again the spot is super dependent. If villain is folding to 3b 10% then I wouldn't even put any bluffs in. If villain is folding to 3b 90% of the time you can probably just 3b anything that's half decent like 58s for example. My best advice would be to consider every spot in the moment. At the end of the day, it's a thinking game. So if you look at a spot and aren't immediately sure what to do... THINK! It's truly amazing how many spots you can just think your way out of when you really try.
 photo Apotheosis November 20, 2013 21:32
Andre: Hi there Chris, I have a couple of questions for you. 1.) What would you say is acceptable VP/PR/3B stats for a 2/5/10NL Zoom player? 2.) Pokerstars recently announced that Heads Up Zoom tables will be added. What is your overall feeling towards this and will you play them? 3.) Bit of a fun question: If you could sit down and play a game of poker with any five people in the world (living or deceased), who would you pick? Thanks in advance for the answers, I wish you all the best.
November 20, 2013 18:58
Hey, my guess is that playing tighter is probably best at smaller stakes is likely best so I guess something like 20/18/5.5 or something like that? The introduction of HU zoom tables I think was in response to problems with the HU lobbies (specifically at higher stakes). I'm not too familiar with HU or the problems in the lobbies so I don't think I'm qualified to comment on how effective the HU zoom lobbies will be at solving the problem. I've heard mixed things from HU guys I talk to so only time will tell. I'm definitely not going to turn into a HU reg anytime soon, that being said I'll certainly dabble (probably in the lower stakes like 200NL?) partially for fun/partially for profit/partially to develop my game. As for the other question I've already answered that in the 2nd or 3rd post so I will refer you there.
 photo Apotheosis November 20, 2013 21:36
fulixas: Hey chris! What is the best and worst things playing zoom? And how to beat tilting? ty :)
November 20, 2013 19:00
The best thing about zoom is definitely the convenience. I can sit, play and leave as I wish. I don't have to worry about starting tables, having them break, sitting on waitlists etc... The worst thing about zoom is the shortstackers than can continuously rebuy for 50 bbs. I heard something is being done about this soon so hopefully that gets solved. The way to beat tilt is to have discipline. You need to teach yourself that winning money is the single most important thing in this game and every time you make a mistake you're costing yourself money. After that it's just about deciding whether or not your little adventure is worth the money you know it's going to cost you. Things like not playing tired and taking regular breaks are good ways to avoid tilting though.
 photo Apotheosis November 20, 2013 21:40
johnaz: also you have amazing redline obv :) I'd say a lot of other (winnings) regs are making more money from showdown winnings. do you bet river very thin? or what are you making differently than other people? is it possible to have such @ NL50 - since our winnings are comming from our value hands?
November 20, 2013 19:52
I honestly don't know exactly what I do if that makes sense because I don't know what other people do. Like, the way I play (that generated this graph) is the only way I know how to play. It's the way that makes sense to me so it's what I do. I'm not sure what strategies need to be employed to generate graphs with more blue line and less redline but I guess barreling less and calling less is probably a good start. I think it's probably possible to have winning red line at smaller stakes but I'm not honestly sure. Pick your spots well and have discipline and I think you should be able to still have a good redline despite the fact people are calling more.
 photo Apotheosis November 20, 2013 21:43
sierinsh: Hey, Chris! Thank u for giving us this opportunity ;) I have few questions for u :) 1)What skill is more important in Holdem: discipline in the range of hands you play, or the ability to read the other player? How can you teach someone to trust their read and to let a hand go, or to trust the read and make a difficult call? 2)What was the one concept you learned early in your career that really accelerated your poker progression? 3)I’m often sitting at a table where most of the players are competent to very good, but there is usually at least one player who has no idea what he’s doing. I know I’m supposed to go after this player and find ways to play pots against him, but that often gets me into trouble against the others. What’s the best way to isolate a bad player? Thanks for ur answers, have a good evening ;) And good luck with studies, u are now finish last year of bachelor or MD? Cuz, im studying medicine, last year finished bachelor - im not studying biochemistry, but pharmachy -last year had 3x biochemestries, how can u handle learning with poker, i remember i studied hours and hours and hadn't time for anything else :D Eh, i guess my mind isn't the brighest i need alot of study... :)
November 20, 2013 20:10
Playing your own range is probably more important than being able to read another person's range. The reason being if you play a lot of crap then you're going to end up in a lot of spots where you have absolutely nothing and you just have to buy yourself out of the pot which creates a lot of problems. As far as trusting your own reads I don't know how you can teach someone that. I think you need to just develop it on your own. I think playing stakes that your rolled for (so that if you're wrong it doesn't hurt so much) as well as believing in your own ability is the most important thing. The one thing that really helped me out was definitely the fact that you can't be worried about getting called when you bluff. Yea, sometimes you're going to get picked off and look like an idiot/lose but as long as it's a + EV play you have to pull the trigger. As for playing with a fish, I think you want to go out of your way to play with them, but only slightly. At the end of the day you can't get too crazy because a) fish make hands too b) the other regs are going to know this. I think a good strategy would be to just loosen up slightly (like if you normally call KQ and fold KJ maybe call both) but not go crazy (if you normally call KQ and fold KJ you cant just call K2o or whatever other garbage you feel like playing). I have 1.5 years left in my Bachelor of Science. After that I have to apply to medical school. Best of luck with Medicine and congrats on getting in!
 photo Apotheosis November 20, 2013 21:51
ginge: Which regs do you not like playing against the most at 500nl zoom and why?
November 20, 2013 21:20
I guess it depends how you define 500 guys. If it's guys that only play 500 then truthfully no one. If it's just anyone I've ever played against at 500 I'd say the best ones are like... playitsmart, sarald, zaza, trueteller, human, sat1337en, adam001, takechip, averagegreg, vegasmidas, asianflushie. That list isn't exhaustive but that's probably a pretty comprehensive list of talented players at the high end of msnl and higher.I don't like playing with them because they're good and I doubt I'm making money off of them and at the end of the day that is what this is about.
 photo Apotheosis November 20, 2013 21:54
johnan1988: Hi, i have an unusual guestion. In this section we always ask about the best moves, best mindset tricks, generally about the good stuff. I want to ask you, what are you really bad at? If u were to point out up to three things that really suck about your game or mindset, what would they be?
November 20, 2013 22:03
1) giving credit to villain for thinking like I think. I swear, especially at the lower stakes there have been so many times where I have put villain on hand x, said to myself, there's no way he calls if I bet y, bet y and then get insta snapped by hand x or a hand worse than x. 2) Multi tabling. After I get > 4 zoom tables up my game falls apart. I can generally keep it together for 6 zoom tables but its ugly and 8 is a complete cluster****. 3)Blind play. I think my blind play is average/fine for like 200/500 but at 1k I'm suffering
 photo Apotheosis November 20, 2013 22:11
Scarmaker: Thanks a lot to Chris for doing the AskThePRO as well as you guys for posting some really great questions :) Apotheosis liked johnan1988's one the most and so he wins $20 for the best questions posted! Congratz!
November 21, 2013 11:19

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