Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Tournament Poker: A New Strategy...

image of Khet, the strategy board gameImage via Wikipedia

Tournament Poker: A New Strategy...

After a disappointing World Series, I took some time off to consider the state of tournament poker in general. I had witnessed plays at the Series that truly surprised me since they made no real sense to me at the time.

Now I realize that tournament poker has reached a
level where the traditional smart moves in the game need
to be updated. In fact, it may be that the game has changed
so much that even the long-time Pros are not doing as well
so they are playing more in the smaller, limit based events.

The theme of my tournament poker book is "Risk is Good." Today, it may have to be revised to "Risk is Good, But More Risk is Better."

A New Strategy

In fact, I am going to test out a new strategy based on what I've seen. I am going to look at playing tournaments where I take on more risk. For example,

In early stages, surprise the opposition, by limping with premium starting hands. If you get raised, move all-in.

In middle stages, play aggressive with raises and re-raise. Avoid calling.
Examples: Raise and re-raise with any pair, raise in back positions first in preflop, and attack the more aggressive players.

Look to re-raise the raiser rather than calling a raise in middle and late stages of an event.
Look to move all-in with A-K.
Look to move all-in with A-9 or better by attacking players who raise too often or a back position.
Look to raise with any A, K, Q J-x hand from a back position.

My goal: To get to the final table with more chips or be eliminated faster.


One warning: I've discussed this strategy with a player who recently got to the final table of a no limit, World Series event. His reaction: It's a mistake. He believes that you have to play the game with skill, hope to have some luck, avoid bad luck, but to hang on and give yourself a chance to win.

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1 comment:

Mitch said...

It's interesting because I was watching The Grinder last night on ESPN win the $50,000 No Limit tournament against a Russian amateur with a lot of confidence and some nice skills. Once the guy took a major hit on the river, it's like he totally lost his confidence and forgot how to play the game, something a top pro would never do.

You see this young breed of poker player that goes all out and takes chances the rest of us won't take because they've played a lot online and, I'll say it, online it just doesn't seem to mirror what happens in a live game as much, although they love talking trash about it.

Online, you don't play the player, you play the cards; in person, your opponent can look at you and know whether you're up or down. Miz gave away some serious signs late last night that the Russian player totally missed, and he got crushed.

In the end, it comes down to playing your game for the most part; aggression has its place, but there are some really stupid plays that'll get you bounced.

What's Your Poker IQ?