Lee Childs Interview with PokerSoftware

Date: 2011-06-29
Author: Paul Ellis

Poker pro Lee Childs is one of the newest instructors at Tournament Poker Edge and recently recorded a seven-part series documenting his run to a final table during the FTOPS Main Event.  Childs has a great number of stellar live and online tournament results, including a seventh place finish in the 2007 WSOP Main Event.

He also has outright wins in the $750,000 Guarantee on Full Tilt Poker and the PokerStars Nightly Hundred Grand to go along with live results that include more than $1.6 million in career earnings.  Childs is also a writer for a number of poker publications and can be found at AcumenPoker.net.

PokerSoftware sat down with Childs to talk about his video series and how he reviews his tournament play.
PSW: You seem to play many more tournaments than cash games.  Is there a reason that you gravitate toward MTTs?

Lee Childs: I think the reason is that they play more to my competitive nature.  I grew up in the game of poker playing all kinds of games and have a history playing a number of different sports, but my training thus far has been primarily in tournaments.

I like tournaments a lot more because they really bring out the competitor in me with having to make adjustments to the varying blind structures and chip stacks and everything that comes with the competitiveness of tournament poker.

Since Black Friday, I’ve actually been playing a lot more live cash games and logged a lot more volume there.  I have a number of classes where I teach ring games as well and I’m pretty solid there, but if given the choice, I usually prefer to play tournaments.
PSW: You recently put together a seven-part series documenting every hand you played en route to the final table of the FTOPS Main Event.  What do you think that users viewing your series can take away from it?

Lee Childs: That was a really fun series to put together and I’d like to thank Tournament Poker Edge for giving me the chance to do it.  I think that every person can pull something different from it and I know that I learned a lot simply by putting the series together.

I did the videos for that series a few months after the tournament completed.  There were several spots where I provided my commentary on the best way to approach a hand and I had done something completely different.  I had to go back and rethink whether that was the best approach to that specific situation.

The thing that was really valuable to me personally was being able to say in the video, “I don’t know if this was the best choice for this spot” or “I know that a lot of people just want to jam in this situation every time” – things like that.  The comments spark interaction and involvement in the forums from other instructors and makes for a really great learning tool for anyone to look at.

There are always a number of ways to approach a hand, but finding the way that best suits your style of play is really important.  Getting all of the feedback on the forums was tremendously helpful.
PSW: Did you operate with a HUD during the tournament?  Do you usually?

Lee Childs: I’ve played with them a little in the past, but honestly I don’t usually use a HUD very often for a couple of reasons.  In 2007, I took a WPT Boot Camp class and became good friends with Nick Brancato, who is one of the instructors.  His advice was to not use the HUDs because you may become reliant on them and when you transition to live poker, it takes away from your abilities when you rely so heavily on something that won’t be there live.

They also tend to get in the way and clutter my screen, so when I’m playing across multiple tables, it’s just easier to have them off.

I still use programs like PokerTracker and Holdem Manager to keep track of my hands, but I usually just use them for reviewing my hand histories and statistics.  Those programs are great to go and look back at when you have those times that we’ve all faced when you feel like “aces never hold” or “I always lose A-K to A-J.”  Then, you can go back and look at your stats to remind yourself that those hands hold as often as they’re supposed to and you see the results over a period of time just like you’re supposed to.

If they aren’t holding at the rate they’re supposed to, then it’s a good opportunity to look at the way you play those hands and identify the leaks that you have in your game.

PSW: What’s your typical process for reviewing a tournament?  Are you using any specific software when you review your hands?

Lee Childs: I use Popopop’s Universal Hand Replayer to go back and look at my tournaments as a whole.  I import the hands from PokerTracker or Holdem Manager and look at more than just my bustout hand.  I know a lot of people who focus on just the hand they went out on or the one that basically crippled them, but I like to go back and take a look at spots where I missed an opportunity or should have played differently.

Sometimes those are hands that allow you to paint an image that will allow you to take advantage later in a tournament.

For example, I once had a student who showed me a hand she doubled up on, but when we looked back at the tournament and saw that she could have played a few other hands a different way, we saw that she very likely could have quadrupled her stack in the same spot.  I think it’s very important to tell the whole story and not just look at one hand, especially in tournaments.
PSW: Are there any other video series or instructors at Tournament Poker Edge that you personally found to have made a difference in your game?

Lee Childs: I’ve become friends with Ryan “HITTHEPANDA” Franklin and Casey “bigdogpckt5s” Jarzabek.  I have a great amount of respect for both of them; their poker minds are just incredible.

In fact, I just had a chance a couple of days ago to meet them in person while I was playing at the Venetian, and it was great to have met them.  I had two significant hands that I played and really wanted to run by somebody.  I have friends that play, but not of their caliber.  I was able to talk to both of them and it was awesome to get their feedback right on the spot.

That’s one of the greatest aspects of the forum and the community members.  When you engage them over the site and then run into them in big tournaments, you can get advice on ways to play different hands in different spots.  That makes an incredible difference in your tournament.

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