Is there a system to winning MTT's?
This post was going to be about the system I am currently following when I play online poker tournaments. However, I realized that it is rather arrogant of me to suggest I know a system that works, so I just deleted it.
But, I do think you should consider developing your own poker tournament system. Let me explain why it is a good idea.
The Good Old Days
When I started playing tournaments I would write down my learning and come up with systems to test. I would take these pages (usually 5 to 12 pages long) to the local card rooms and review them at the breaks.
I started with a limit tournament system since that was the game I was usually playing.
There used to be a great limit tournament every Wednesday night at the Oaks in Emeryville, CA. (Frankly, limit events may require more skill than no limit events.)
My goal was to win back-to-back Wednesdays. For some reason I thought that if I win back to back events, it would mean I was really, really good. Anyway, for the limit events I started by using a system I read in a book by a player who had won back-to-back events. It didn't work for me, but it was the foundation for all my revisions.
Eventually, I had a 9 page limit poker system. It worked one Wednesday night. I won!
The next Wednesday night, I used it again, and I won again! It was amazing. I had set out to win back-to-back and I did.
After those wins, though, I lost a few more times before I decided to focus on the hottest game around--no limit tournaments.
No Limit Poker Tournament System
I wrote up a system to play that was based on Super System. It didn't work. I read a lot of articles in Cardplayer, and bought books on poker. My no limit poker system, started at 5 pages, then 7 pages, and eventually it was 12 pages long.
Yes, at the breaks, I would take out these pages and read them to remind me how to play.
Back in those days, Sundays were the best day of the week for poker tournaments in the Bay Area. There were two events on Sunday. A no limit event at the Oaks in the late morning, and another one at Lucky Chances in Colma, CA in the evening.
My system kept changing as I learned more and read more.
Finally, I set a goal: to win back-to-back Sunday events. It was a ridiculous goal since no one had ever won the event at the Oaks and Lucky Chances on the same day.
I don't know why, but I told Frank, a poker player at these same events, of my goal. His reaction. He laughed at me. When he stopped laughing, he told me I was good but not that good. And he laughed some more.
The Oaks game started at 11 am, and the Lucky Chances game started at 6 pm.
The next week, I finally won that first event at the Oaks. What was strange about that game was what happened early on. It was only the 5th hand, and I won my first pot of the day. Another player, who was not even in the hand, says to me, "I feel you're going to win. You look very serious." Weird. He was right.
After you win an event, you have to wait to get paid. I didn't think about it before, but there was no way I was going to get to Lucky Chances on time. I had to go from Emeryville to Colma on a Sunday night over the Bay Bridge. The key was to get to Lucky Chances before the first break or it would be too late to enter.
The game would start in 20 minutes, and you never know about Bay Bridge traffic. Fortunately, I knew a short-cut to bypass traffic at the other side of the bridge. It worked and I arrived in plenty of time. (By the way, you should check out what is going on at the Bay Bridge right now. They are taking out an old piece about the size of a football field and replacing it with a new one.)
I know it seems silly but at the breaks I would review my poker system and how to play at the different stages of the event.
Yes, Frank came by and he was still laughing. He actually says to me, "There's no way you are going to win this one." Unreal.
I guess the poker gods had a different plan. I made it to the final table! Frank was watching me like a hawk. Maybe he thought I had cards up my sleeves or something. He wasn't laughing any more. In fact, he was rooting for me!
Players seem to knock themselves out a final table. And sure enough, it got down to 6 players in a hurry. Then it was 5, 4, 3, and yes, I was heads-up.
My opponent and I were fairly even in chips. The players watching were all talking about how I had won at the Oaks.
We took a break. I got out my system for heads-up play. I admit it. I did not have anything on how to play heads-up. It didn't matter. I won earlier. I can win again.
And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout. But there is no joy in Mudville - mighty Casey has struck out.
So did I.
I never got close to that goal again.
The moral of my story: Consider writing up your own poker system and keep working it. You will learn more and maybe you will win back-to-back WSOP bracelets.
Saturday, September 5, 2009
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