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Poker Mental Game & Planning

Bryn Kenney Poker Strategy

7,129 Views on 1/9/17

Bryn Kenney is one of them genius young pros who traded Magic: the Gathering cards for what seems like the never ending stream of pocket aces.

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Bryn Kenney is one of them genius young pros who traded Magic: the Gathering cards for what seems like the never ending stream of pocket aces. Even though the guy is in his early thirties he managed to crack the top 20 on the All Time Money list with more than $17,000,000 in tournament winnings. He has one WSOP bracelet to his name and after starting 2017 with back to back high-roller tournament wins on the same day, he's not showing any signs of slowing down.

Kenney is not only good at winning, he also does so in style, which becomes really apparent after a brief look at some of the hands from the young pro's career.

Advanced Bluffs

Sometimes when we discuss certain player's strategy based on a single hand there's a great deal of ambiguity and guessing game involved - which is certainly not the case here. Kenney knew exactly what he was doing and he told everyone at the table as much which makes his play all the more impressive and easy to describe.

First of all, Bryn decided to just call preflop with KK which is not a default play but it was totally understandable given the table dynamics and stack to pot ratio. By 3betting Kenney would undoubtedly deny himself a lot of action from the loose open raiser and active players behind him. Checking the flop on a lockdown board like 7cAd7d made a lot of sense for all the players. Ross had some marginal showdown value, back door and his bluff cbet would've been much less successful in a multiway pot than it would've been in a heads-up one.

Kenney was in a classic way ahead/way behind situation so he couldn't really expect to get any value on this particular board and while Kilmashin could make a value bet in position he can't reliably go for three barrels and the flop was a good place to check and control the size of the pot given slightly shallower stacks. After what happened on the flop the initial raiser's perceived range wasn't very strong which made an already obvious call from Bryn even easier. However, a call behind him meant that Kenney had to reevaluate his stance in the hand and that resulted in some nice fireworks on the river.

Bryn realized that while Klimashin was fairly strong given his turn line he also had Ross still to act behind him which allowed Kenney to put a tremendous amount of pressure on the owner of the best hand by turning KK into an incredibly advanced bluff. Ironically, the fact that the Russian player was fairly competent, made this bluff easier to pull off, because Bryn knew that his opponent would account for the table dynamics and realize how bad his relative position in the hand was. Absolutely brilliant play and Kenney's comment after the hand left us no room for doubts.

Some people might consider his 'advanced bluff' comment in poor taste or even a -EV mindset leak (given how at a poker table, it's usually more profitable to be seen as a lesser player than one actually is), but there's something oddly satisfying in witnessing a player having such a degree of control in such a volatile game as poker.

Advanced Calls

Kenney is not only great when it comes to dishing out the bluffs, he's also exceptional at catching them, which we can clearly witness in this particular hand from the WSOP 2015 Event 2 final table. Bryn began the hand with a slightly loose open which was a great adjustment given that he was a chip leader. He decided to skip the cbet on a somewhat coordinated 9h3c7d flop that failed to hit his perceived range. His opponent followed suit and the 4 of clubs hit the board. Koren then decided that he might be in a good spot for a double barrel bluff but there were a number of things going against him.

First of all, after he decided to check back the flop on a somewhat coordinated board he could no longer reliably represent a number of strong combinations in his range. Second, of all, he was playing against a stellar opponent who had the benefit of holding two crucial blockers. Kenney knew that his Ac blocked a huge number of possible backdoor flush combos and 6c decreased the number of combo draws and second pair type hands available for Koren.

Lastly, villain's sizing - while perfectly respectable and close to the default given the setting - was perhaps a bit too small given the coordinated board texture. All of that information allowed Bryn Kenney to make a really impressive hero call showing us that he's, in fact, a complete player and his impressive results at the tables are no coincidence.


Matt VIP

Matt is predominantly a mental game and planning expert, with a terrific knowledge of science, meditation, practical methods of improvement and of course, a good level of poker skill! Look out for his strategy articles and follow him for hi ... Read More

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