Thursday, September 2, 2010

Tournament Poker: My New System Update.

The Whirlpool Galaxy (Spiral Galaxy M51, NGC 5...Image via WikipediaTournament Poker: My New System Update.

I am feeling pretty good about my new poker system for no limit tournaments. I have only used this at my local card room, so I am not sure how it would work online.

I believe I have had better results than in the past because the system allow me to win bigger pots, minimize the size of my loses in a pot, and gives me a super tight image early on which I can change later in the event.

Learning from Early Stages:

In early stages, the approach requires you to be passive--very passive. You are looking to limp with even your strongest hands and hit big on the flop. You are not going to lose big or go broke with AK.

You do need a lot of discipline to play this way, especially the ability to laydown a premium hand when action is aggressive on the flop or turn.

A couple of other advantages that I have found is that you can spend more time evaluating your opponents playing style and you create a very, very tight table image.

Learning from Middle Stages and Late Stages

Here is where your tight image comes into play. The first time you raise, your opponents are going to respect that raise a lot! Even if you get called, a bet on the flop will usually scare your opponent into folding.

You do need to play solid poker, but you want to avoid calling pre-flop. This is a tough habit to get into but you can win bigger pots--or go home early. Put your opponent to the test with a re-raise with hands you usually call a pre-flop raise with.

The only exception: Consider the player, the size of the raise, and the position of the player. In these cases, it is okay to call or even fold.

The other key I take into account in these stages of the event is the size of your stack, and your opponents. If your stack is 12 times the big blind or less, just move all in if you are going to enter the pot.

If your opponents stacks are low, your steal raise is more likely to get called--so be aware.

The most difficult time of the tournament for me is when I get down below 8 times the big blind. Here, you have to take a shot to add chips. I like to play smart, which is a mistake. Let the poker gods decide your results.

My advice with low stack: Ignore your opponents play and just play your cards.

For example: I know if two players are all-in, I would fold a hand like T-8 suited. But, if I have only 4 times the big blind, I need to take a shot and just hope for the best.

Last night, I finally had a good hand, J-Q suited. The first player called and the next player raised. I only had about 4 times the big blind, and I knew I was going to have the worst hand pre-flop, so I folded. It was a mistake.

I should have just ignored the action, and hoped for the best.

Yes, my advice, in this stage--when your stack is low--is to only play your cards by asking yourself, "My stack is so low, I need to take a stand with any two cards. Is this the best hand I am going to get?" If the answer is maybe, go for it.

I hope this learning helps. I am only 1 for 8, but in two events I made the wrong play near the end which would have allowed me a decent shot at winning.
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