Lee Davy continues his Academy Award Winning column, Poker Routines, this time with a look at the routines and habits of Timothy Adams.
The first time I saw Timothy Adams he had blood pouring from his nose.
He was deep in the 2012 World Poker Tour (WPT) Grand Prix de Paris when the scarlet began flowing during a hand against the eventual champion Matt Salsberg.
Adams opened to 35k from the cutoff, and Salsberg joined him from the small blind. The flop was KdTs8d, and Salsberg check-called a 35k Adams bet. The turn was the 7h, and both players checked. The river was the Qh, and Salsberg led for 45k sending Adams into the tank.
And then the blood came.
Fabian Quoss called for someone to pass him a napkin. There was blood on his mouth, chin, and fingers, but he calmly pushed out a raise to 125k, and Salsberg folded. Adams showed pocket deuces for the bluff.
It was a brilliant moment of opportunism.
Let’s find out where it came from?
When did your aspirations to become a poker player begin?
I first began in university when I was 18. A roommate of mine had poker chips, and he would set up nightly games in our dorm rooms’ rec room. Usually, there’d be a few tables of .25/.50 or $10 sit and gos. I had no idea what I was doing and felt bad for losing, so I kept playing until I figured it out and it just kept going from there.
How do you spend the first hour when you wake up?
I’m pretty routine-oriented in the morning, and I don’t like rushing. I will make myself a good breakfast (protein/fruit/spinach smoothie, matcha tea and eggs or oatmeal). I can’t start functioning without a shower; warm shower and finish off the last 30 secs with cold water. If I’m very busy, then I will organize in a day planner and coordinate stuff with certain tasks I need to accomplish in the coming weeks etc
What time of the day do you find it easier to play poker and why?
Years ago I would have said in the late evening, but nowadays I’m usually too tired to play in the very late hours of the day. For me, playing in the middle of the day is perfect. It’s usually when I’m functioning best.
Do you have defined goals for how many hands/sessions you play in a week: both live and online?
This is something I used to do very often years ago, but nowadays with online
like it is, I play when I feel like it/when there is a game running.
Where do you play online, what types of games, and stakes?
My main game over the last ~2 years has been Heads Up NL. From 5/10nl to 50/100nl
Same question for live?
For live tournaments, my focus has been high rollers. When I play live cash, I am generally playing high stakes.
Do you have a specific routine that you go through before you begin an online poker session?
The only routine consists of making sure I have a glass of water nearby and that I’m not too hungry before a session.
Same question for a live session?
I’ll basically make sure I’ve done everything I need to do before I start playing. Usually going to the gym or a run and that I’ve eaten properly. I also meditate when I feel it’s needed. I don’t like a cookie-cutter routine though; I see how I feel and act accordingly.
When you first sit down to play poker how do you begin?
Usually, I’m just looking forward to playing some cards 🙂
Describe your grinding station set up.
I use to have more of an elaborate setup (multiple monitors), but now I’m so mobile, I usually play on a laptop.
What tools do you use when playing poker, live and online?
I mainly work with solvers and calculators.
What’re your thoughts on listening to music when playing? If you do, what do you listen to?
This is usually very mood dependent. If I need something more calming than I’ll listen to something more mellow and vice versa. I usually don’t listen to music in high buy-in tournaments; the table talk is too good
If you use a HUD then how do you use it?
I look at the different stats to help me make better-informed decisions
What system do you use for taking notes on your opponent’s, live and online?
I take notes online, but I think my memory is one of my strong attributes.
Do you have a specific warm down routine after you have finished a session?
What do you eat and drink when you play, both live and online?
Always something light, salads usually. And water, tea or coffee (if I need it).
What is your process of review?
I review a lot of my own hands and opponent’s hands too. I use some tools to figure out optimal strategies.
How do you educate yourself about poker?
There’s a lot of information out there so I try to gain as much knowledge as I can. I also have a good group of poker friends to bounce ideas off.
How do you improve your mental state?
It’s always a work in progress, but as I’ve gotten older, it’s become more natural. A lot of it is being honest with yourself and paying attention to your thoughts and emotions.
How much of your time is spent playing versus learning?
During a live tournament series you’re basically playing for two weeks straight, and there isn’t much time to do work other than looking at a hand here or there. On my off-time, Im usually focused on getting better.
How do you know when to stop a session?
Experience is important to know when to quit. Most of us had to learn the hard way in the early years of our careers so now it isn’t so hard.
Are you consciously trying to emulate the style of a particular player? Do you have people you look to as models for your game?
Not a particular player in general. I just think all the top pros motivate each other because everyone is working so hard.
Is poker easy? Does it come naturally to you?
I think poker is a really complex game and that’s what keeps us coming back. I believe that it comes naturally to a lot of people who have done well at it.
What is your favourite moment in poker?
I think the most memorable was winning my WSOP bracelet in 2012. It was my first big tournament win.
What books/courses/mentors have helped improve your game (doesn’t have to be a poker book)?
It’s usually just the help of my friends to help me improve.
Do your surroundings affect your work, how?
I always make sure to be in a good environment before I play. Not too noisy or busy.
Was there ever a time when you didn’t want to play poker? How did you get out of the funk?
Hmm I think naturally over the years you can sometimes have random doubts, but for me, I have never really wanted to stop playing.
How does poker make you feel?
I like challenging myself and competing at top levels. Poker satisfies that craving for competition.