Discussion in 'The Poker Room' started by Breeze147, Jun 29, 2016.
Do you remember your first tournie? Say a low level $60 buy-in? What advice would you give a noob?
That's all I ever play now in Vegas.
I try to observe what I can - you should get a pretty quick understanding of a player's demeanor and actions if you do some light reading beforehand. It will "click" once you see in action what you've read about.
Play strong hands in the favorable positions early on (if you get them), implying a clearcut passive aggressive approach to playing. Use that reputation when the blinds are up and you are in action with those who have clearly gone into a skimping mode to get into the money. This is a time where I will engage some action with a lesser quality hand and try to bully a few pots. If you can do this successfully, it helps you to have a stack that can withstand being passive aggressive again in the later/final rounds since the blind structure can force a shove-fest.
Have fun, don't get too stressed about making a mistake...it happens. Learn from it and go!
One of the big adjustments for tournaments is adapting to increasing blinds.
As they go up, position becomes far more important. No limping. No playing 'decent' hands out of position. On the button or under the gun, raise here and there to try and pick off blinds. Other than that, only play really premium hands.
The other big adjustment is that results are more binary. Until you are in the money, any gain of any amount of chips could be temporary, while a loss takes you completely out. So in situations where in a cash game you might decide you have good "pot odds" to make a big call on a draw or facing a potential coin flip scenario, in a tourney you are just setting up a place where you go home half the time, and other half you still don't necessarily gain much. You want to be playing where you clearly have the best of it (and/or winning without showdowns) pretty much exclusively unless/until you get short stacked.
If you end up a short stack (less than 10 big blinds), this strategy shifts dramatically, and what you are looking for is a reasonable hand in late position where you can shove, and either end up in a race to double up, or steal the blinds.
Strategy also changes as you approach the bubble (the cut off before everyone left in the tourney is in the money). If you get to that point, if you are one of the biggest stacks, you want to look for chances to push little stacks around. If you are a middle stack, you want to be ultra-conservative and just stay out of trouble. And if you are a low stack, you are only about surviving until the money, so pay close attention to the other low stacks, stay out of things as much as possible, and either try to wait them out, or if forced, look for the safest opportunity to double up or steal blinds.
Breeze--have you only played cash games?
I have seen some cash players who have difficulty transitioning to tourney play; typically they are waiting for a cash table & see a tourney to just fill their time. I started in tourneys. I have played some cash, sometimes quite successfully, but it feels more like a grind to me. I love the change in nuances of the tourney game as blinds increase. It is a constantly changing animal.
As said before, biggest difference is that when you are all in you have potential to be ALL OUT. Not to say that all in isn't a strategy in tourney poker--it very much is. But you better either have the nuts, have a huge chip stack, have an excellent read on your opponent, or be less than 10BB so you have little choice.
The very best structure for $65 on the Strip are Mirage & TI. I specifically stay close as I consistently do well in these tourneys. I play tight aggressive poker and get a pretty good read on players fairly quickly.
Last month I bubbled out too many times. I always say I'm playing to win, but bubbling out 8 times in 12 tourneys--I outright won 2x, final table the other 2-- I need to reconsider my play at the bubble. Typically I was short stacked & looking for a spot, but blinds were so high so was most everyone else. Going to try a few things differently next trip, see if that helps.
I am staying at Mirage next month and plan to play their tournaments. Thanks for the suggestion.
Are you talking about trying to change approach before the bubble to prevent short stacked decisions?
Yes. I am always playing to WIN not to CASH. But as often as I find myself near or on the bubble I could have made some different decisions & perhaps been more patient.
And once you get cashing position + 1 (the bubble), I always recommend tossing out to the table to pay the bubble at least their entry fee.
In a tournament I will never open action with a call. Do I want to play J9s from mid position? Maybe.... but if I do it's going to be a raise. If you are fortunate enough to approach the bubble with plenty of chips apply pressure as often as possible. Nobody else wants to risk going out on the bubble and they will fold hands like JJ as long as there are stacks that could bust out at any moment.
In a recent tournament in the Grand series at Golden Nugget, I was dealt JJ in the big blind. UTG moves all in and is called by a short stack mid position player. The button raises all in with a massive stack. Against the 1st two, I call because I have them covered and both have been searching for a hand. The button shove tells me he has AA or KK. It's possible he is overplaying AK but he has shown me nothing to indicate this is the case. In a cash game I probably roll the dice based on pot size. In a tournament this is a fold every time unless you have almost no chips left. There were 20 left and 18 got paid making the fold more imperative. A jack hit the turn and I would have been chip leader. I made the right move and I would do the same every time.
mwig--yep, I would fold Js there in a heartbeat. I recall reading in a book about Tourney hold em that there might even be argument for folding As in a similar situation, especially if payouts are significant. As aren't a lock as we all know! Luckily I have never had to worry about that!
I always take notes on my play after tournaments and when I reflected back on this trip I got a bit aggressive when I didn't need to be at that late stage. Stepping back just a bit would probably have had me cashing most of those.
I've played in a number of low buy in tournaments. The thing I remember from my first one is that it played a lot different than a cash game.
For example, you're not trying to win money. Sometimes, your playing tight to wait for others to lose their stacks.
I know you meant cut off, not UTG but this tactic would most certainly throw some people off. I like to goof around in tourneys so might as well try this.
Lol, yep, and meant the cut off. Oops
My favorite piece of advice came from Chris Ferguson. He recommends always coming in with a raise unless you are checking in the big blind. The key is you always open for the same amount (3-4 BBs) no matter what you have. This way the table only knows you have a hand good enough to play. It's very helpful starting out as you avoid telegraphing what you have.
Excellent advice. Took a workshop with a CA poker pro last summer & his advice was the same--basically why come in if it isn't for a raise & your raise is always the same--2.5-3x BB. That way whether you are simply playing position, have the cards or looking to bluff, you always look the same.
I agree. I typically play small ball by raising pre-flop. That might seem counterintuitive but if you raise with a weak holding and get re-raised you can easily let it go. If you get one caller a continuation bet will take the pot quite often. If the continuation is called, you have all the info you need in most cases. Being stubborn is the worst thing you can do in tournament play. You just don't have the chips you need to try and catch every bluff every time.
Pay the extra $45 for a tournament that doesn't charge 35% rake.
I don't know too many that charge 35% rake (tho Strat is 38%!!)
TI & Mirage are both 23%
Love Aria--I wouldn't recommend it for a beginner. Additionally, you need to plan 8-10 hours of play to cash.
TI & Mirage are best structure for the price on the Strip, imo. $65-75, 23% rake, 8-12K chips, start at 25/50 or 50/100, 20 min. rounds. And I don't have to play ALL day or night. 3-4 hours
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