Monday, December 17, 2007

Survivalism

It is always a good thing to amass chips. When an opportunity arises to bluff a pot, I say take it...usually. If you are a beginner it is important to know that decisions are not black and white.

In tournament play, there is a sort of sliding scale to consider as the game progresses. You may have heard that in the World Series of Poker, the first day is about survival—meaning you should keep the super-aggressive play under control until the tournament matures. The idea is that the risk of getting knocked out at low blinds is not worth it unless you have the nuts or an awesome read. On the second day you can start working on your chip stack to put yourself in the position to win.

In single-table-tournament play the same strategy applys—only smaller. I find that most on-line tables under $50 buy-ins are inhabited by weak players, and many high-stakes table are as well. Often, I will make it to the last four players even if I only play a hand or two...or none! Granted only the last three are in the money, but that is only one more player to knock out and your strategy should change short-handed anyway.

It is because of these experiences that I try my hardest to not commit to a pot early on in the game. In a young tournament I tend to not rasie as much with my AK pre-flop, or call a large bet with a mediocre hand against an unknown opponent, and I never over-bet the pot. I survive, let the fish eat each other, then make my move. Typically they will be on tilt by then anyway.

1 comment:

  1. Nice post. I agree 100% with what you said. My feeling is that there usually a point in the tourney where players and the table all of a sudden goes cold turkey. They're afraid of playing hands especially to raises and then they make the mistake of overbetting their super strong hands because they don't want to be sucked out on. How I accomplish that goal is continually raise when the 50-100 level starts. Sometimes I'll shock the table by going all in with super strong hands not because the blinds are worth so much so the table knows that I mean business. occasionally I will come up against monster hands but doesn't happen too often. It does a few things for me. It prevents players from limping in front of me and curtails many re-raises with marginal hands from players acting after me. The more the players acting behind play passive the better off for me so I can start to loosen up my range of hands and starting playing more marginal hands which can net me monster pots. The key to the whole thing is to outplay these weak passive players post flop where you can really build your stacks. It's ok to risk some chips (unless you're low stacked then it's shove time) on a raise because the other players will have "turtled" up and are playing passive looking to make the money instead of winning the SNG. Not sure if this helps but I look foward to your posts in the future.

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