Saturday, August 21, 2010

Suggestion for a New Tournament Poker Rule

DSC_8714Image by aboutmattlaw via FlickrSuggestion for a New Tournament Poker Rule

The Bad Beat Re-entry Rule

This rule only applies in a heads-up situation where both players have a pocket pair, and one or both player's are all-in in pre-flop so no more betting is possible. When both players have a pocket pair, if the player with the higher ranking pair loses and gets knocked out of the tournament, she/he is allowed to re-enter the event.

To re-enter the event, the player must pay the entry fee again and only receives the amount of chips a player gets when entering this event.

Note: If it is a rebuy event, and the tournament is pass the point where more rebuys are allowed, this player also is not allowed any rebuys.

Example of the rule in action:

You enter a tournament for $100 and get $2,500 in chips. It is late in the event, you have $5,000 in chips, and you get dealt pocket Kings under the gun. You raise the $50-$100 blind to $300. Everyone folds to the big blind, who moves all-in for $7,000. You call all-in.

Your opponent shows pocket Jacks. You have pocket Kings. While you are an 80% favorite to win, if you lose you will be knocked out of the tournament.

The common cards are dealt out, and a Jack hits the river. You lose the hand and you can not continue to play as you have no more chips.

With the Bad Beat Re-entry rule, you are given the option to re-enter the event. To re-enter this event, you would pay $100 and get $2,500 in chips to continue to play.

What do you think?
Enhanced by Zemanta

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Why You Should Not Play In Another Poker Tournament

Angry german shepard.Image via WikipediaWhy You Should Not Play In Another Poker Tournament

I believe that no limit tournament poker has changed for good and if you don't understand what is going on, you shouldn't bother to enter one ever again.

I would describe the key change as Blind Aggression. Players are willing to take on significantly more risk than ever before and make plays without (what appears as) much thought. Some examples...
  • Players who will raise and re-raise preflop with inferior holdings.
  • Players that will call a pre-flop raise with any two cards.
  • Players who make big bets or move all-in on the flop or turn even though they know they are behind.
I describe this aggression as being blind because these players will suck out to win and often declare "I knew I was behind." And, these players will often be the ones with huge chip stacks at start, middle and at the end of an event.

Why the Shift to Take on More Risk

1. More players.

With more players come a bigger disparity in skill levels. Many inexperienced players need to find a way to counter the advantage of more skilled players. The best way to beat a pro is to move all-in pre-flop. It is high risk, but one that eliminates his opponent's advantage on other streets.

2. Online poker.

While online poker allows players to experiment and quickly gain experience, the key is the ability to multi-table. A player who is in 6 events at the same time, has a goal of building a big stack in one event. This allows for blind aggression since more risk leads to more rewards/bigger stacks. With multi-tabling, you can now place your bets on more games, and if you can build that a big stack in one event, you can even afford to slow down. In tournament poker, always remember that it is better to win one event than to take home small wins in all six.

3. Poker on TV.

To make viewers at home more likely to watch poker, the program needs to be exciting. What is more than watching a bad beat (assuming you are not the player taking one)? When a poker player sees the worst hand winning often enough, it leads to thinking that a) any two cards can win b) they are a better player than the ones on TV.

There our other factors in this shift to take on significantly more risk, such as: blind levels increasing too fast, fewer starting chips, "tells" being of less value online, personally experiencing bad beats as the giver and the taker, and the desire to be noticed.

Go Big or Go Home

When it comes to tournament poker you need to realize that you must go for the win. Be bold.

"Risk is good" is the underlying principle in my tournament poker book with 101 winning moves. But, risk in my book is about knowing how to manage it. The game today has taken the level of risk to a higher level.

My advice: Be bolder than you've ever been before. Someone is giving other poker players bad beats. Why shouldn't it be you?

I recommend you try this new approach to poker, since it may open your eyes to the way the game is being played today. You may decide this style is one you want to adopt as your own.
Or, you can try my new approach.

My New Strategic Approach to Tournament Poker

I have been working on a way to counter this blind aggression. To date, I have used my strategy in five events and won one. My strategy is higher risk than before, but it still provides for a way to manage it.

While I have written about it in my previous post, let me give you a brief overview:
  1. Early Stage: You play a solid game. Understand implied odds; that is, how you can come in with suited connectors and other drawing hands to win a big pot. Slowplay premium hands. Minimize the A-K losses.
  2. Middle and Late Stages: Open up your game and be more aggressive. Look to raise or fold, preflop. You can't win by calling. If you get a top hand, even if you are almost 100% sure your opponent has you beat when he moves all-in, you have to go with it when your stack is declining and this hand may be the best you'll see.
  3. Final Table: Play tight until 4 players have been eliminated.
By the way, I know that this blind aggression in tournament poker has been part of the game for the past year or so. However, I really had not figured out a smart way to counter it. I believe my new approach may be the answer. It attempts to counter blind aggression with smart aggression. Give it a try...

Please let me know what you think.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Monday, August 16, 2010

My New Poker Tournament Strategy: Adjustments

Photograph of a marble chess setImage via WikipediaMy New Poker Tournament Strategy: Adjustments

I wanted to provide an update on my new strategy to poker tournaments and make some adjustments. I've used it four times in live events and I have had one win for $2,900 (a 3-way chop).

My Tournament Strategy

Early Stages:

In early stages, preflop limp with premium hands or call one raise. If one player raises and another one calls, push all-in with a premium hand. You don't want to have more than one caller in a raised pot.

A premium hand defined: AA, KK, QQ and AK.

The advantages: 1. Winning a big pot by surprising your opponent. 2. Not losing a lot of chips with AK.

The disadvantages: 1. Losing with a premium hand 2. Needing the internal fortitude to laydown your hand when there is a lot of action and/or a coordinated flop.

Middle Stages and Late Stages

a) Play aggressive with raises and re-raise. Avoid calling. Raise and re-raise with any pair, raise in back positions first in preflop, and attack the more aggressive players. No more limping or calling.

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 when in a back position.
Look to raise with any A, K, Q J-x hand from a back position.

b) When you get a premium hand and you are low on chips, evaluate whether it may be better to limp to win more chips.

c) When you have a strong but not premium hand pre-flop, take on more risk by even calling an all-in player or two. Example: Two players are all-in and you have pocket Jacks. Since this may be the best hand you see for quite a while, and your chips are bleeding away, just call the all-in.

Final Table

Play very tight until you get a premium or strong starting hand, and/or 4 players get eliminated.

Goal: Not to finish on the bubble! Either win or go home early.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Monday, August 2, 2010

Putting My New Tournament Poker Approach to the Test: #1

The Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco, CA a...Image via Wikipedia

Putting My New Tournament Poker Approach to the Test: #1

Sunday I went to Lucky Chances for $225 buy-in $10,000 first place guarantee event. I wanted to try out my new approach to tournaments. Unlike most events, the Lucky Chances tourney is a Re-entry one" that is, if you get knocked out in the first 4 rounds, you can buy back in. It is not your traditional rebuy format.

There were over 120 players that entered. I was lucky to start out at the "final table" since it is less likely I will be moved. I was in table 1, seat 1.

Early Stages

My starting style was to be totally passive pre-flop with all my hands, even the premium starting hands. My objective was to take on more risk, to get more chips.

The first hand: I am in the small blind for $25. They give you $5,000 to start.
Everyone folds to me. I peek at my cards and almost fall off my chair. I have QQ. I call the $50 big blind.

The big blind raises me to $125. I call.

The flop is 2-4-5 with 2 spades. I check and call a $125 bet.

The turn is another 4. I check. My opponent bets.

I figure this is the time to raise. I raise his $200 bet to $600.

He re-raises me to $1,500!! Oh no! Disaster on hand one. I make a reluctant call.

The river is a J. We both check. He shows Q-4. I lose almost half my stack on the first hand.

I continue to limp, even with A-K. I keep missing. My stack is getting lower and lower.

However, right before the break, I get back to even thanks to two key hands:

I win some chips when my Q-J gets raised by the weakest player at the table and I call. The flop comes J high. I check, call. On the turn it's check, check. And on the river since my pair is still high, I bet. My opponent folds and shows A-K.

A few hands later I'm dealt the Ac-10c in back position. I limp and the weak player on the big blind calls, as does one other player. The flop is 8 high with 2 clubs. They check, I bet and only the weak player calls. The turn is another club, giving me the nut flush. I check after my opponent. The river is a rag.

I am going to bet small hoping my opponent will call, when I notice he seems eager to call any bet. I bet the pot or $1,500 and he insta-calls. He has A-K.

Middle Rounds

In the middle rounds, my approach is not to call. Raise or fold. It works quite well and I build a nice stack.

I get lucky when I raise pre-flop with A-A and an opponent makes a move all-in with K-Q suited. I double up.

I am able to move my stack up to $15,000 in chips and we are at the $300-$600 level.

Late Rounds

After the break, we are down to 4 tables. I need to build my stack since the blinds are now at $600-$1,200 with $100 ante. I still have about $15,000.

Under the gun, I am dealt K-K. I raise to $3,700. A player on the button with $20,000 pushes all-in. What do you think he has to make this move?

I call.

He shows Ad-Td. Oh my! What hand did he think he could beat with that play?

I am feeling good when the flop is 7-7-J with no diamonds.

I am feeling even better when the turn is a 2 of spades.

When the river is an Ace....well, I'm sick.


I'm not sure I can take away too much from this experience. Except for the fact that the construction near the Golden Gate Bridge is so bad, it took my almost 2 hours to make a 30 minute trip back home. I may avoid Lucky Chances, and head back to the Oaks.

One final note. If I had a hand like pocket Jacks I would simply move in that last hand. The reason is that I don't mind someone going over the top when I have Kings. When I have Jacks, if I'm going to call a move all-in, it's better to move-in first.
Enhanced by Zemanta

What's Your Poker IQ?