Thursday, March 5, 2009

What Would You Do?


hey mitch,
love all the advice your giving, its very beneficial.
iv got a question though.

i play at my local club with a field of about 80 or so. but the thing i struggle with is that the blinds go up quite quick and they start to double towards the last half of the tournament. it comes to a point where i may be chip average and above and going well, but i only have 10-15 big blinds. i struggle cos i dont know what to do in a spot with a big stack with only 12 big blinds and i get dealt an A10 suited or 6's and under. so i guess my main question is what is my strategy in these kind of situations?

im making some good profit from your advice so thanks heaps,

Ryan Howarth

My Answer:


Good question.

This is what everyone has to deal with in a poker tournament. Overall, it really becomes a game of luck.

Some thoughts:

When I have 10 BB's or less I will just push all-in with these hands and hope for the best.

When I have more BB than this, I want to know the next level of blinds. If in the next round I am going to be at 10 times the big blinds or less (Which is usually the case) I break-up the current round in halves based on time. If it is a 20 minute round, the first 10 minutes I look for premium cards, but in the 2nd half of the round I open up the range of hands since I will have to push all-in soon in the next round.

For me the premium cards in the first half of a round is A-J or better. I raise first in, and if I get re-raised all-in the pot odds will dictate me to call.

In the second half of the round, I am pushing all-in with a wide range of high ranking cards--even Q-10. The reason is that I need chips to win.


What do you do in these situations?


Twitch said...

There's a reason they call those donkaments... My strategy in a fast blind small stack tourney is to open up my hand range right from the start. See the problem with a tourney like this is that it takes almost no time to become a luckfest, and the amount that you can manipulate the odds in your favour shrinks drastically just by the nature of the game. My overall strategy stays the same; i don't push late with a hand I wouldn't raise with earlier, but right from the first level i'm more inclined to 3 raise preflop with hands that are considered marginal or bad in deep stack situations. The key is to never worry about losing that 3 raise if someone shoves or if you miss, and this is the biggest advantage you have in a tourney like this. Most people will raise with an ak/aq or whatever in these low money donks and they are loathe to dump the hand. If you're holding 89 suited and hit two pair or a draw, that person will likely pay you off.

Because of the structure of tourneys like this, you almost have to steal as many blinds as u can early, and you have to win with hands like suited connectors or whatever to be in a strong position late. If it's near the end and the average stack is 10-15x the blind, it will become an all in fest and your only option is to have the money to afford to lose a race. Cuz you will get in a race...somebody will shove with Ace/nine off when you're holding 8s or 10s or even kq suited and you pretty much have to call if you want to win (if you've already put money in I mean).

As these tourneys get later I actually start to shrink my starting hands a bit unless i've got money invested already. Why call/raise/push with ace 10 or pocket 6s when your 5 people away from the bubble and you know people are playing bingo? If you're not a blind, let it go...another hand will come to you.

As with any tournament, the real key is never get into a situation where a loss will cripple you if you don't have the best of it. IF someone out draws you, that's ok...u lost but you played right. But if you call all in with AJ on a 47j board and lose all your chips to 47, that's your own fault. Just my opinion :)

Anonymous said...

My threshold is around 15BBs to open it up. I think one of the most important aspects of pushing in these situations, as you mention, is first in vigor.

I may shove A6o from the HJ if I'm first to open, but fold if there's a raise in front of me.

Mark; poker bankroll building said...

If a hand is good enough to call, it is good enough to raise in the later stages of a tournament.

OhCaptain said...

My threshold will vary with the table I'm at. With looser people at the table, I'll tend keep it together until much lower. They are gonna call any ways, so why just throw yourself on their stack.

If the table is tighter and especially if the players on my right are tight, I will turn the heat on with more chips. It can be possible to steal to sets of blinds an orbit, slowly chipping up.

My philosophy is to use my chips when they can do the most good. I would probably not shove AT into a pot that is already raised. It's just -EV to run into someone already showing strength with an inferior hand.

If I'm very short, I'm also much more likely to just limp or call with a premium hand like AA or KK. It is risky, but the idea is to build a pot, shoving is gonna keep most of the money out of the pot.

The best thing to keep in mind is you need to play each player in your action area. Having a good guess as to what the action will be after yours is very important.

What's Your Poker IQ?