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Which is True #5

Hey readers. I've been dragging myself through the mud all day because of that last post, an amalgamation of a couple of ideas that came out in a pile that resembled a duece more than an ace. But fortunately, my blogger bretheren are kind enough to write some fantastic stuff out there, so I've got a new post in mind. Special thanks to the Black Widow of Poker, aka BWoP, aka CK, aka the Asian Sensasion, for inspiring this post. In a recent post of the BWoP, ole BWoPpy paraphrased something Miami Donald said during the Buddy Dank Radio Programme. Essentially, from my limited reading comprehension skills, Miami Donatello said that in the early stages of deep-stack tournaments, there is little need to get tangled up in marginal situations. Now, don't actually attribute that to Donny, unless he wants to adopt that stance, since its through two filters, BWoPpy's and mine. But let's extapolate a bit more from this kernel of an idea.

There are two schools of thought in deep stack tournaments. One is that the blinds start off low, so you should not be playing marginal hands early since you can fold for orbits upon orbits without seriously handicapping yourselves. The other school of thought proposes that it is when blinds are low relative to stacks that you can play more hands, provided that you can control pot size so that you are not risking much of your stack unless a situation is extremely strong.

So, I ask thee, Which is True:

Statement A: In a deep stack tournament with a reasonable blind structure, it is better to have tight hand selection while the blinds are small relative to your stack.


Statement B: In a deep stack tournament with a reasonable blind structure, it is better to play more hands early, while the blinds are still small relative to your stack.

If you have a thought, chime in. If you don't have a thought, you clearly are not thinking hard enough. Hell, even if someone has already posted your thoughts, still chime in, because, well, I'm sure that person could use your support.

Oh, and feel free to add qualifiers to your comment. I don't mind "It depends..." but "It depends..." is a lot more effective if you can explain on what it depends.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 5:26 PM,


At 6:14 PM, Blogger Fuel55 said...

This really depends on how good you are postflop ...

At 6:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Assuming a skilled NL Hold 'em player, preferably with cash game experience (read: post flop playing abilities) ...

Statement B is definitely more accurate, but that plan takes A LOT more effort and focus.

Strictly in terms of the amount of effort required to succeed, the style described in Statement B is definitely NOT a worthwhile strategy, because the other strategy will work; Statement A style just requires more luck when the blinds are high, like most tournaments.

At 6:39 PM, Blogger KajaPoker said...

A lot of top tourney pro claim that the tournament doesn't start until the antes hit and the pots are worth playing for. There is just very little reason to get involved early when the pots are small with speculative hands.

I say A is right.

The other side of the coin is that if you play too tight you will not get paid on your big hands. Another thing I am learning lately is that to get action you have to give action. How many times do you see an 8% VPIP player raise and get no action on his AA or KK?

At 6:58 PM, Blogger lj said...

i think a is "better" (no sense in stealing blinds when they're so small), however why not do a little of both -- there's nothing wrong w/ seeing cheap flops in late position, as long as you can throw garbage hands away when you don't hit/only have a small piece. there's also nothing wrong w/ playing tight, especially if your table is loose. i would say some combination of both would work well.

At 7:16 PM, Blogger BWoP said...

As for style B, I agree with Fuel and DP. This can be a very effective means to start building your stack early when your opponents are playing style A. It may also afford you with the opportunity to make huge scores by cracking the tightie players with those fun crackin' hands (some players will *never* be able to lay down A-A or K-K post-flop). But it does require a lot more *skillz* than style A (being able to make good reads, knowing when you can get tight opponents to fold, managing bet sizes, etc.). If you are okay with increasing the variance in the early portion of a tournament, go for it. How often have you seen someone amass a huge chip lead early and then blow it out in the middle of the tourney? Once you have the big stack, how can you make adjustments to keep it?

But for me, and my personality, and my current poker goals, style B doesn't make sense for me right now in terms of "regular" strategy. I am much more comfortable mixing it up in cash games than tournaments.

So I am looking for an effective style of tournament play that is more akin to style A. And that is what I will be focusing on.

BUT . . . you have to be able to mix up your game, lest you fall into the situation that Kaja mentioned where you never get action on a pre-flop raise because it *always* means you have A-A, K-K or A-K.

As I mentioned in my post, I've tried to remain within style A for the most part, but I will throw in a raise with other types of hands (I <3 suited mid connectors and suited mid one-gappers) so that people won't always assume the premium hands. I like to play these hands in position, particularly against the style A players.

Go figure.

At 7:32 PM, Blogger smokkee said...

there really is no sense making fancy plays early in an MTT stealing/restealing and you don't want to get caught in a bad situation with something like AJ/KQ/QJ, etc. but, i do like calling standard raises in LP with suited connectors, gappers, small pocket pairs hoping someone will stack off if i hit a huge flop.

so, i guess i would lean more toward (B). i'm very comfortable with my ability to play post-flop.

At 8:30 PM, Blogger Alan aka RecessRampage said...

It depends on what kind of hands you are talking about. Playing tight doesn't necessarily apply to preflop hand selection. Some hands play better in position early in a tournament than others. For example, early in a tournament in a double stack and the blinds are 10-20 or whatever, would you rather have 89s on the button or AK from the BB? AK from the BB doesn't play well at all. You're either gonna win a small pot or your AK just goes to waste. However, hands like 89s or any other suited connector type gives you the ability to potentially hit it big. In other words, early on, it plays more like a cash game. Having said that, the whole mixing it up for your image thing, I don't agree with.

Early in a tournament, it's very unlikely that you are gonna be at the table with the same players. Early on, the donk to ballah ratio is very high. So, no one is paying attention to your "image." What's the point of building a loose image if you get moved??? In other words, I think playing tighter has more to do with playing hands in position, not committing too much chips in marginal situation, etc and not necessarily folding until you see AA, KK, QQ, or AK.

At 9:19 PM, Blogger Gnome said...

I agree with Statement A. I find that taking too many chances early in a tournament are more likely to result in a diminishing stack. The reason for this is that it's hard to both hit a flop hard with gambling-type hands, and it's also difficult to get paid off.
Sure, I like to see cheap flops if the price is right, my stack is healthy and I'm in good position. But even if you are somewhat successful in chipping up, I'm not convinced that the value of those early-tournament chips is high enough to to justify the risk

At 10:18 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

I think that the key part is how comfortable your play is. If you are aggressive, and you feel like you are better with early play, you try to see a lot of flops. I am recently have beem successful with a 6-Max turbo style, which brings early play into account.

When I do play MTT's I choose to be more selective because of the ability to play good hands, and either win a bunch, or cuss like Waffles when I get sucked out on.

It depends on what you feel comfortable with. I just don't think that risking a portion of your early chips on a sooted hammer against a LAG is +EV.

Wait... unless you're forced to move.

But then that's just my opinion.

What's yours?

At 9:44 AM, Blogger Pokerwolf said...

It depends on how your table is playing. It also depends on your definition of "tight".

The way I play a tournament is based on how everyone else is playing. Both strategies can work depending on the circumstances.


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