New Poker Strategy Book | SPATS 100 | Tyler Nals

SPATS 100

Several times per week, I receive messages from people who read or listened to The Perfect Range. They always tell me how they have gone from losing players to winning players by following the SPATS strategy within The Perfect Range. It’s a simple strategy based on starting hands. SPATS stands for…

Suited-Connecters

Pairs

Ax-Suited

Ten or Higher

Suited One-Gappers

These are the only starting hands you’re allowed to play. It DOES NOT mean you have to play them! Sorry for the caps, but I really need to make that clear. If someone in early position raises 3x BB (Big Blind) when you have QTo in MP (Middle Position), that’s a fold.

Another rule is that you have freedom to veer off SPATS on the BTN (Button) and in the blinds if it’s an un-raised pot.

When you put all this together, you stay disciplined with your range while still remaining unpredictable. The added advantage is that you will avoid tilt. For instance, if you were to get unlucky on a hand and you weren’t applying SPATS, you might raise 4x BB with 95s on the next hand because you’re pissed off. If you’re sticking to SPATS, you’re folding that hand, remaining calm, and waiting for a better spot.

Based on the feedback I have received and my own experiences, SPATS works! To date, I have received approximately 50-60 positive messages and one negative message. I still can’t figure out what that one person is doing, but she does admit to being highly emotional at the table, which probably provides the answer.

All of this is great news, but there is one twist. Most of that positive feedback I’ve been receiving for SPATS has been for cash games. I have applied SPATS for tourneys and found success, but a lot would depend on my energy and reads. Tournaments are much different. The WSOPC isn’t exactly a soft field. Nor is the WSOP in Las Vegas in the summer—or any other tourney series around town in the summer.

With COVID-19 hitting and being forced to stay home during the first several months of the pandemic, I found online poker options. In the beginning of this online journey, I was playing tournaments and therefore decided to test out SPATS for tourneys. If you didn’t read the blurb, SPATS 100 is 100 poker tournaments to see if I can turn a profit.

Let’s roll!

Hold on. Is that not a cool saying anymore? Did I just make it uncool by asking? These are the things that enter my mind as I write. Brace yourself.

“Brace yourself!” – Now that was cool.

Tournament #1

I would first like to state that Tournament #1 is written in a much different style than the other chapters because I didn’t know how the hell I was going to approach this project. This chapter is more like random notes. The format will be clearer beginning with Tournament #2. We are on this journey together. Hold on tightly. But don’t let go.

That’s hold on loosely, isn’t it? Well I’m telling you to hold on tightly because tight is right (in many aspects of life).

Buy-in: $16
The Weekender

Yes, $16. When I played in these tournaments, I was at one of the lowest financial points of my life. I accumulated debt to build my brand. Hopefully, that is paying off with increased book sales, more invitations to poker rooms (private deals made), and the movie The Dark Side of The Felt (still seeking capital but script now out there). Back to poker.

UPDATE: Things have changed for the better. My risk-taking paid off.

I wish I could have someone over my shoulder in live games taking notes and whispering my VPIP in my ear every few minutes. Only I would be able to see this person. He would be dressed like a casual butler (if that’s a thing), stand upright, speak in King’s English, and he’d be holding a notepad.

The above is a random thought. Yes … this book is about online poker tournaments. I didn’t mean to confuse you. It was just something that crossed my mind. And when something crosses my mind, I write it so you know exactly how my mind is operating.

The same player keeps going up against me and losing. Just mucks after I check. Huh? I’ll take it.

Keith just got caught in a bluff. I respect it though. Also not a bad thing. It lets people know he’s willing to bluff. Based on his style of play, this will get him calls later when he has the goods.

____________

Qd Td.

Call.

Flop: 8d Jc 9s

Keith check-raises me.

Call.

Turn: 9d

Keith bets 25% of my stack.

Tempting, but I know he’s already there. Also possible I’m drawing dead to a full house.

Fold.

____________

Keith just farted. He’s playing in Georgia and I’m in North Carolina. Just a hunch.

I ask Keith the identity of two players at our table. I then ask if any of them know my identity. This how the conversation went…

Keith: “But someone recognized you when you said you was gonna write about it and sent Steph a message. They said, ‘OMG a real live professional is gonna play with us? OMG he is famous.’”

Me: “(laughing emoji). You’re an ass!!!”

Keith: “I’m serious, fucker. Steph showed me the messages. I won’t tell you who she is.”

Me: “Lol. Ok.”

Here is something that people don’t understand. Writers aren’t rich. Do my book sales earn me some income? Of course, but I’m far from wealthy. This is actually the case for 99% of all writers—not just poker writers. There is a misconception amongst people that writers are wealthy. The truth is this shit ain’t easy! We do it because we love it! A true writer does it for the love of it anyway.

What I sometimes fail to realize is that the number of books I sell is pretty high. So, I guess maybe there is ‘fame’ without fortune? I don’t know. And I’m certainly not famous. I’m just a dude that some people know in the poker community. What I want more than anything is for people to enjoy my writing. That is all.

Back to poker…

Me and Keith are battling. And, yes, I wrote ‘Me and Keith’ instead of ‘Keith and I.’ I like it like that, but I won’t add ‘ooh baby’ to the beginning. I mean, he’s sexy and all, but not ‘ooh baby’ material. Not for me anyway. The Hawaiian shirts almost got me though.

Two screens just popped up when I was in the SB, but I didn’t know if I was in the BB because of those two screens. Confusion—I didn’t want to accidentally close out the game while in a hand. Fortunately, I had 63o and folded. Based on that information, I don’t even know why I’m telling you about this hand. Weird.

Folding SB in this tourney like never before!

No Ego!

Ego Destroyed!

I should probably say ‘Ego Conquered!’

But if I write that it comes off as Egotistical, right?

Shit!

This is the world I live in.

____________

Jh Th CO.

Fold top pair due to knowing I’m behind.

____________

I lose three big hands while dealing with business stuff. Dumb.

____________

Keith: “I play every game like it’s my last.”

Me: “Love that.”

Keith: “Tomorrow is not guaranteed.”

Keith (again): “Wow. Q high??? Nice hand.”

Me: “Ty.”

Keith: “Good read on your part.”

Me: “Thanks. Doesn’t always mean a lot. Lol.”

Keith: “I know but calling a bet with air … and winning. I fucking love it. You da man.”

Me: “Need a little run good though.”

Keith: “You might need to get the wrench out.”

Me: “This is 1 of 100. Stick to plan.”

____________

77 UTG +1.

Call.

BB only other player and checks.

Flop: TAA

I bet half pot.

BB calls.

Turn: 4

I bet half pot.

BB jams.

Okay….

Fold.

____________

TT MP1.

UTG +2 calls.

Call.

Don’t want to play for all my chips right now.

4-player pot.

Flop: 85K

UTG +2 bets pot.

She likely has K and protecting top pair. Reason for pot-sized bet.

Fold.

____________

Me: “Haven’t played SPATS in a long time. Miss it.”

Keith: “I don’t remember any other way.”

Me: “Probably why you cash a lot.”

Keith: “$1k starting bankroll. Ran it up to $81k in a year with 100% no rebuys in tournament or cash!!! Then when you told me you didn’t play SPATS I started to venture outside of the range and got my nuts handed to me.”

Me: “Yeah. It will fuck you up! Stick to SPATS. Game gives you what it gives you, but it will give you if you’re patient.”

____________

Qh Th UTG.

I min-raise.

Three callers to Keith, who jams.

Fold.

He gets one caller.

Keith tables JJ.

Opponent tables JT.

Keith wins big pot.

____________

I attempt hero call with second pair after overanalyzing. I was wrong. That one hurt. As hero calls usually do.

____________

14 of 14 remaining.

____________

5c 4d BB.

Two all-ins and limper behind, who I know will call.

My best shot to get back in the game. Don’t like it one bit, but it’s a decent spot.

Call.

4-way all-in.

I’m up against AA, KQ, and QQ.

Yikes!

Flop: Ks Qs Js

Busto!

Did you notice what I did there? It wasn’t anything good. I was in the BB with a non-SPATS hand and called a raise. The other mistake was the hero call with second pair. That’s the thing with tourneys. One mistake will crush you. I guess I shouldn’t have written about Ego before, huh? Ego crushed me!

We shall try again tomorrow.

Net: -$16

Overall Net: -$16

Tournament #2

Buy-in: $16

The Weekender

____________

First hand…

Kc Qc MP2.

Raise 3x BB.

Steph raises 4x my bet.

Three callers, including me.

Dangerous call.

NOTE: I’m typing this five months later and I wouldn’t make this call today. This shows me I’m more on top of my game now than then. My only real shot here is to flush out. Not a good wager.

Flop: 6K3-rainbow

I bet 1/3 pot as a feeler bet.

Steph raises 4x my bet again.

Fold.

I message Keith to tell him about that hand (he’s at a different table).

He said Steph had AK.

Good fold in the end, but bad call to begin with. This situation could have been avoided. I wish today’s version of me—as well as old version of me—could go back to this version of me and smack him upside the head.

____________

I check-raise with top pair against DazzlinDebs.

Effective.

Almost got all my chips back.

____________

TT BB.

Three limpers to me.

Check.

What my gut tells me.

Flop: Js Qs Ks

I bet 3/4 of pot.

NOTE: Another strange bet. Who is this person? This is so weird—and so cool—to see how I was playing back then by typing it five months later. I would never make that bet today in that spot. Stupid. And, to be honest, EGO! I only care about one thing now. Just like pre-Ego days, And that is Profit.

One caller.

Turn: Jd

I bet 3/4 pot and get min-raised.

Call.

NOTE: Why the hell would I call that? How obvious is this shit? I seriously don’t understand what frame of mind I was in at this time. It had to relate to financial stress and Ego. Dangerous combo.

River: Th

I bet 3/4 of pot.

Villain min-raises.

I min-raise back.

Villain calls.

Villain tables As 5s for flush.

Got her with boat on river.

NOTE: You might think I played this hand well, but if you think that, you’re cuckoo! That would be results-oriented. From a decision-making standpoint, it was horribly played. It should have been a fold on the flop. Speaking from today’s mindset, I’m going to point out something else that happened here. Pay attention to the comment that was written in chat immediately after the hand…

Villain: “Figures. These tournaments aren’t for me.”

This person seems nice and cool, but I see this often. People get so down after one hand. Even if a hand gets you down, definitely don’t show it. Just my three cents. I can’t go with two cents because it’s cliché, and I hate cliché. And I’m not using three cents instead of one cent because I think my opinion is more important. It’s just because I want to feel different. I don’t need to be different. Just feeling different is enough.

____________

6 of 23 remaining.

____________

A8o BTN.

Fold to 4x BB raise.

____________

ATo back-to-back hands.

First one: min-raise, check, fold.
Second one: 3-bet, bluff, win.

____________

44 UTG.

I min-raise.

Three callers.

Flop: A47

All checks.

Turn: 5

I have an eerie feeling that someone has 55.

I bet half pot.

Lisa Lindell calls.

River: 7

The logical side of my brain thinks to bet. My gut is telling my something is off. Let’s see how it plays out.

I go logical and bet half pot.

She raises 3x my bet.

Crying call.

She tables 55.

Always go with your gut.

____________

AJo SB.

UTG +2 raises 4x BB.

Call.

NOTE: STOP! There is NO WAY IN HELL I’m calling a 4x BB raise from UTG +2 with AJo out of position today. I mean, what the heck was going on??? So weird to be typing this from a completely different mindset, and it proves that mindset is everything! Well, at least a huge factor.

Flop: 385

Check.

Villain bets half pot.

Call.

Huh?

Turn: K

I bet 3/4 of pot to represent K.

Villain folds.

NOTE: I seriously don’t know this player/this version of me. That might have worked, but if I was playing this way, it’s not +EV. A lot of you might think: I like it! It got the job done. You’re thinking hand-by-hand, not long-term profitability.

____________

7 of 20 remaining.

____________

Keith: “Hey. Just found out I’m a mystery bounty today.”

Me: “Nice. Is that every tourney?”

Keith: “Not just today, but not all the time either.”

____________

KJo UTG.

Raise 3x BB.

Villain jams for another 5 BBs.

Call.

Villain tables A3o.

Flop: JJA

Turn: T

River: K

Knockout.

____________

AKo BB.

I 3-bet.

Two callers.

Flop: K34

I bet pot.

Two folds.

____________

5 of 19 remaining.

90 BBs. I should just chill for a while.

____________

9c 9d UTG.

Raise 3x BB.

CO calls.

Flop: 8h 6h 2s

I bet 3/4 pot.

Villain calls.

Turn: 7d

I bet pot.

Villain calls.

River: 8s

I bet pot.

Villain jams, which is almost half my stack.

Fold.

Tough one, but no chance I’m ahead with that action. If I was checking, maybe.

____________

AA BB.

Seven limpers to me, including player I folded to on previous hand.

I bet pot.

Everyone folds to villain from previous hand, who jams.

Call.

Villain tables 99.

My hand holds.

Knockout.

____________

Even though I wasn’t on top of my game at this time, this is why I fold in tough spots. You will often have a better spot in the near future.

____________

5 of 16 remaining.

____________

Jc 9c UTG.

Call.

3-player pot.

Flop: TTJ (one club)

I bet 3/4 pot.

One caller.

I bet half pot.

Villain folds.

____________

22 BTN.

Call.

BB has more chips than me. Not messing around.

Fold to bet on river.

____________

We are in the middle of COVID-19 and nobody is allowed to go anywhere unless it’s a necessity. As I sit here playing poker, I listen to EDM music on YouTube, where I watch huge crowds of people dancing and having fun. This is interesting to me for one reason…

The last time I was in Tunica for the WSOPC, I looked around the Event Center (Bluesville) where all the tournaments were being held and thought to myself: Do these people realize how good they have it? Win or lose, we are all congregating with like-minded people to play a game we love while also having the option of free alcohol. I’m not sure how many people in this room appreciate that kind of freedom.

Two months later, the world shut down.

____________

4 of 16 remaining.

____________

Kd Jd UTG.

Raise 3x BB.

Two callers.

Flop: Kh 6h 6d

I get into it with Villain.

Short Version: third heart on river and Villain fires big. Thought strongly about it but my read was that Villain didn’t have flush but did have KQ. She wouldn’t fire that confidently with KT or worse.

Fold.

____________

7 of 14 remaining

Top 3 cash.

4 of 14 remaining (one minute later).

8 of 13 remaining (ummm….).

____________

Now that I think about it, other than the full house vs. flush, I have won the majority of my chips via bluffs. Working hard for my chips in this one.

____________

44 MP.

Didn’t work out well.

____________

66 HJ.

Worked out well.

____________

Butter on the mouse,

Butter on the pen,

Butter for…

Mother Hen?

____________

Shit, I don’t know. Needed to finish the rhyme. Only Mother Hen was embellished. While we’re kind of on the topic, I was once told that you can wipe off butter with a dry napkin. I’m not sold.

____________

9 of 13 remaining.

____________

ATo UTG.

Raise 3x BB.

Villain in MP jams for 33 BBs.

Fold.

____________

AA CO.

Raise 3x BB.

Looks like every other hand.

One caller.

Flop: 8KK

I bet pot.

Not a time to play games.

Villain tank-folds.

____________

9d 8d UTG.

Raise 3x BB.

Two callers.

Flop: JJ9

I bet 3/4 pot.

Two folds.

____________

Miss flush with 85s from BB but small pot.

____________

6 of 13 remaining.

7 of 12 remaining.

____________

Win a pot with min-bet and middle pair.

____________

KK < JJ for half my stack (vs. JulieK925).

Crusher.

____________

12 of 12 remaining.

____________

As 5s.

Call 6x BB raise from JulieK925.

Very light call that doesn’t make sense. That’s fold or jam.

Whiff-fold on flop.

Dumb!

Present-day me is mad at this version of me.

____________

10 BBs.

____________

AK MP.

I jam.

Called by 88.

Busto!

____________

Net: -$16

Overall Net: -$32

Tournament #3 Coming Soon.