Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Interview: Corey Cheresnick a.k.a. Muchaka

How do I Improve My Game: Part II
An Interview With Corey Cheresnick a.k.a. Muchaka

The one question I hear asked more than any other is “How do I improve my game?” Well, thanks to the help of Adam, Cal and Riley, three people many of you have never heard of and their internet poker forum PocketFives, I am attempting to answer that very question. Over the past few weeks, I have been fortunate enough to talk with some of the best poker players on the internet, all of whom I got to know through the PocketFives forum. I have broken the information down into a 3-part series. This is the second installment of that series.

Corey Cheresnick or as you may know him, “Muchaka, is a 23 year old Poker Phenom. His largest win online is $40,000 and live he has pulled down an astounding $240,000 in a single tournament. What’s so scary about that? He has only been playing poker for two years! A little piece of advice…when Muchaka enters a pot in front of you, FOLD! For the second installment of this interview series, we will delve into the strategy of Corey Cheresnick and see if we cant use some of his insight to better our own game.

When I asked Cheresnick to explain his style of play, he told me “My style is constantly changing. If you saw me play two months ago, you wouldn’t believe it was the same person playing today.” I have broken out a tourney into early, middle and late stages and asked Cheresnick to explain specifics about his play in each stage:

Early Stage- Much like GambleAB, Muchaka also elects to avoid the coinflip situations in the early stages because he feels his skills allow him to have a better shot at winning than 50/50. In fact, Cheresnick doesn’t like to be all-in early in a tourney with ANY hand. .

Middle Stage- This is where Cheresnick says he gets “very very aggressive”. If he goes broke, so be it, but he tries to come out of this stage of the tourney with a large chipstack.

Late Stage- “Tight Aggressive”. This is where you need to make crucial reads and go with them. If you have a hand and you feel it is better than your opponents, really push him.

When I asked Cheresnick what he considered to be the best hand he ever played, he told me about a hand from the Bay101 tournament, where he coincidentally finished 5th (You may remember the MU-CHA-KA, MU-CHA-KA chant from the WPT episode...yes, that was Corey Cheresnick!). With about 17 people left, Cheresnick picked up 66. He raised from late position and the Big Blind called. The flop was K-4-5 and the Big Blind check-raised. Cheresnick called and the turn was a blank (a meaningless card) and both players checked. The river paired the board with a 5, the Big Blind checked and Cheresnick bet about 70% of his remaining chips. The Big Blind went deep into thought, literally taking 10 minutes before finally folding and showing KQ. To me, this really illustrates Muchaka’s late-stage strategy. He got a read that the Big Blind was weak and could be pushed off of his hand. He was right and took down a very large pot.

After reading about this hand and the tourney breakout, you can begin to understand how Cheresnick has had so much success. Cheresnick has some advice for the new players, who strive to reach this level. First, “never get too attached to one hand. Tournaments are long and one hand will not make you a winner”. Well, except for the last hand! Secondly, “learn every style of poker, loose, aggressive, etc. Be able to master each style, then you will be able to switch gears in the middle of a tourney and more importantly be able to recognize how others are playing.” For those of you who have gotten this far and can’t wait to finish reading so you can run out and become a professional poker player, Muchaka says he actually would NOT recommend it as a profession to most people. “It takes a real special personality to be able to handle this profession” says Cheresnick, “there are plenty of players who are good enough, but don’t have the mental stability to be able to make it”. And Muchaka heeds his own advice. Still in school, I asked him if he planned to play poker for a living when he graduates, his reply? “I do not know if poker will be my full-time job, but I know it will be a big part of my life.”

To use a cliché, “the cream always rises to the top” and Corey Cheresnick has certainly proven himself to be among the cream. He estimates that he has won over $150,000 playing online alone, not counting two seats to World Poker Tour events around the world and a seat to the World Series of Poker. One thing is for sure, whether this exceptional poker player chooses to play full-time or part-time, the poker world will be sure to see lots more of Corey Cheresnick.

1 Comments:

Blogger Brian said...

nice article, quick question why was it or is it a 3 part thing why not just interview as many good players as u can? am sure it would make for some good reading also some questions about their life like what they bought with their first big win would be nice.

ps. am sure some may be too private but it would differentiate your interviews from the many out there in poker sites.

12:56 AM  

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