1. #1
    ChuckyTheGoat
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    Tournament Strategy

    A few tournament strategy observations to note:

    1) Bet-sizing on open-raise. Most players simply raise to the strength of their holding. The tourney-pros know that every bet is supposed to LOOK like any other bet. IE, don't reveal the strength of your hand (until u have to).

    A lot of guys use standard raise of 3.0 xBB. That is now seen as too heavy. Current trend is more toward 2.4x or even 2.2x. Rationale is that smaller will still get the job done. IE, you'll get the same # Fold%...and you're risking less.

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  2. #2
    ChuckyTheGoat
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    2) Will list two trouble hands for me that have crippled me in past tournaments:

    a) Pre-Flop. Holding small pocket-pair (like 55), facing an overshove all-in. I've reluctantly called w/ this hand in past, thinking that a pocket-pair is strong late in tournament. So often, the odds just aren't in your favor. You're either a small Fav (vs overs) or a huge dog (vs Bigger pocket-pair). Concept of domination is out the window, as you're rarely going to be up against an even smaller Pair (22, 33, 44).

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  3. #3
    ChuckyTheGoat
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    b) Post-flop. The hand that's been killing me is Overpair, on a paired board. If u face a huge overbet on paired board, consider the opponent.

    Do they have a bluff in them? If not...you have to consider letting it go. AA or KK is nice. If the board is 77 and u feel like that hit their range, think about letting it go.

    If you're catching odds, you have to reluctantly call it. If the overshove gives u no-odds (like +150 or shorter)...think about it. Why are they overbetting? Most players don't bluff that situation.

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  4. #4
    Optional
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChuckyTheGoat View Post
    2) Will list two trouble hands for me that have crippled me in past tournaments:

    a) Pre-Flop. Holding small pocket-pair (like 55), facing an overshove all-in. I've reluctantly called w/ this hand in past, thinking that a pocket-pair is strong late in tournament. So often, the odds just aren't in your favor. You're either a small Fav (vs overs) or a huge dog (vs Bigger pocket-pair). Concept of domination is out the window, as you're rarely going to be up against an even smaller Pair (22, 33, 44).
    Small pairs suck me into errors

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  5. #5
    ChuckyTheGoat
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    3) Concept of Pot-odds. I'm of the opinion that most players miss a lot of detail at the table. Poker (at its essence) is a game of odds. Are u getting correct calling odds? Are u giving your opponent inappropriate odds?

    My opinion is that most players don't even contemplate pot-odds. In their view, their hand strength is Call or Fold. Regardless of the pot-odds being offered.

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  6. #6
    ChuckyTheGoat
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    Quote Originally Posted by Optional View Post
    Small pairs suck me into errors
    Me, too, Opti. It's a bit of an illusion. Let's start w/ the math:

    * Probability of catching a pocket-pair is 1 in 17. ~ 6%.

    ...When u get one, u have to feel pretty good about your hand potential. Problem is that you're not a big Fav vs any two Overs. Small pairs are virtually 50/50 vs any Suited Overs.

    22 is the worst. Pocket-pair, racing vs any two cards that aren't 2x.

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  7. #7
    ChuckyTheGoat
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    4) Stack behind. I think this concept really distinguishes the Pros vs the amateurs.

    If they're playing a speculative hand, they want to know that they can get paid off. Just no point in playing em, if the odds-behind aren't big enuf.

    If playing a small pocket-pair or Suited connectors, I really want to have a 7/1 ratio in (Stack-to-Bet ratio). That considers my stack and opponent's stack. Not saying that's a perfect #, but it's a working #.

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  8. #8
    ChuckyTheGoat
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    5) Wanted to post one more tournament strategy. This is a "Fedor Holz" technique.

    How often are u in a position where u have a strong hand but feel like you're up against an even bigger hand?

    A lot of players just feel "you need to pay it off." I don't think so. Based on experience, here's a ratio to track. If Opponent comes in cheap pre-Flop...but is now betting like he has Gold (post-flop), take that as a warning.

    Think about Opponent bet-ratio, as hand progresses. If he bets $2 pre-flop and is now betting $100...he made his hand. You don't need to think much further than that. I've seen this so many times. It's a pretty accurate tell.

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  9. #9
    Optional
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    Good tips Chucky

    I'll have to grab you for an hour or so and have a practice game where I can pick your brain a little. Maybe Oneunder would be in for that too?

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  10. #10
    ChuckyTheGoat
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    Sounds good, Opti. Many think Poker has mentally been played out to the n-th degree. I don't consider myself to be a better than avg player:

    * Made a bad mistake today. Big pot brewing, pre-flop. Loose game, mostly passive. Mid-pos raise is followed by callers, I call on button w/ 66.

    Flop comes AQ6, rainbow. Great! Early player (somewhat a maniac) bets INTO pf-raiser. PF-raiser folds, one more late caller. Stacks are pretty deep, at least enuf for 2 more bets.

    I look at it. Are there any scare cards on turn? Can I be beaten by one more card? Story here is to play your opponents.

    I can pretty easily put the Post-flop raiser on Ax. AQ is likely not in his range, b/c he limped pre-flop. Caller is very like Qx, calling 2nd-pair. But he COULD be calling on a gutshot. I don't want him to get there cheaply.

    I decide to make a Min raise. Original bet was $30. I raise to $60. Pre-flop pot was like $180! So, a call is merely $30 to win $300! 10-to-1 odds. I expect to get AT LEAST one caller. Fold, fold! See my comment above on pot odds (and how players ignore that). How could they not call w/ those odds?

    I had made a Set vs Maniac's top-pair earlier, so I'm sure that's the hand he put me on. He was very likely drawing dead (or very thin).

    Now, I'm kicking myself. Any betting action on Turn would have virtually committed one or both Opponents. If I had been patient, could have been a huge score. Instead, it was a modest score.

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  11. #11
    sinmiedo
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    a win is a win, maniac could have a K 9 Kq etc and any J will devastate you. A win is a win, be happy, a win is a win

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  12. #12
    ChuckyTheGoat
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    sinner, I hear u. As I re-thought the hand...it was a pretty dry board:

    * I really think I had my 2 opponents dead to runner-runner. Realistically, have to call once. Keep the 2 opponents in hand. He might just put me on weak-Ace and continue betting. Think at least one opponent might have stacked-off.

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  13. #13
    sinmiedo
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    This game was developed in the devil den, trust me. I had seen so many bad beats that unless you flop the royal, no hand is guaranteed.
    I m saying this because part of your preface indicating your poker abilities

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  14. #14
    ChuckyTheGoat
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    Fair discussion pts, sinner. Talk to u later, pal.

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  15. #15
    Optional
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChuckyTheGoat View Post
    Sounds good, Opti. Many think Poker has mentally been played out to the n-th degree. I don't consider myself to be a better than avg player:

    * Made a bad mistake today. Big pot brewing, pre-flop. Loose game, mostly passive. Mid-pos raise is followed by callers, I call on button w/ 66.

    Flop comes AQ6, rainbow. Great! Early player (somewhat a maniac) bets INTO pf-raiser. PF-raiser folds, one more late caller. Stacks are pretty deep, at least enuf for 2 more bets.

    I look at it. Are there any scare cards on turn? Can I be beaten by one more card? Story here is to play your opponents.

    I can pretty easily put the Post-flop raiser on Ax. AQ is likely not in his range, b/c he limped pre-flop. Caller is very like Qx, calling 2nd-pair. But he COULD be calling on a gutshot. I don't want him to get there cheaply.

    I decide to make a Min raise. Original bet was $30. I raise to $60. Pre-flop pot was like $180! So, a call is merely $30 to win $300! 10-to-1 odds. I expect to get AT LEAST one caller. Fold, fold! See my comment above on pot odds (and how players ignore that). How could they not call w/ those odds?

    I had made a Set vs Maniac's top-pair earlier, so I'm sure that's the hand he put me on. He was very likely drawing dead (or very thin).

    Now, I'm kicking myself. Any betting action on Turn would have virtually committed one or both Opponents. If I had been patient, could have been a huge score. Instead, it was a modest score.
    That's a good example as I don't really know if I am doing the right thing in that situation no matter what I do.

    I'd probably bet for information based on what you said.

    If I just called there, any A to 10 would concern me on the turn.

    I think I would have gone a bit more than 60, maybe 120-150, and try to make it look like I was make a half hearted attempt to push one or both off the pot, rather than just trying to build it up.

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  16. #16
    ChuckyTheGoat
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    Opti, you're spot-on. How to proceed?

    Sometimes, a bit bet looks bluffy. But a min-raise looks strong!

    Well...can u use REVERSE-psychology to get opponent to lay it down. In theory, I could have min-raised w/ 6x or even a gutshot and possibly triggered a Fold.

    I couldn't really put the caller on a gutshot (KJ, KT, or JT). If he's calling on a gutshot, that's not a great play. Gutshot calling odds are normally shorter than the pot-odds offered. The top-players know that a gutshot (w/o any backdoor flush draw) should be viewed as a Raise or Fold. Not a Call.

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  17. #17
    ChuckyTheGoat
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    Sinner, one more comment re: the hand I reference above. When a player flops a huge hand like that...so often, I see him shove to the moon. All-in, don't bother thinking about it.

    Who is calling u in these spots? In poker, u should be thinking about 2 ways to make $$:
    * Get your Opponent to fold a Better hand.
    * Get your Opponent to Call w/ a Worse hand.

    Most players simply view Poker as bingo. Hit my card, bet relative to hand-strength. At a higher level, poker is a game of deception.

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  18. #18
    ChuckyTheGoat
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    Not telling u anything new here, sinner. I know u understand the value of Fold Equity:

    * How nice is it to get opponent to lay down better hand? I know you've done it to me! (Tip of cap).

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  19. #19
    ChuckyTheGoat
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    I'd like to continue posting the tournament tips/notes, as the week proceeds:

    * When people see me play, they note that I'm always counting my chip-stacks.

    This is true. You always want to know how many Big Blinds YOU HAVE and u want to have a rough idea how many BB your opponents have.

    Pet peeve for me is the opponent that plays w/ his hands on top of his cards. Two things:
    1) I never know if he has cards, or if he's just folding his hands.
    2) More importantly, I don't know what his stack behind is.

    Deeper the stack, more u can play speculative hands and shoot for the moon to make a monster.

    Shorter the stack, fewer moves available. On the short-stack, hand pretty much plays itself.

    I'm of the opinion that u have to play different Stack Sizes like this:
    * 0-13 BB. It's an All-in or Fold situation. U really shouldn't even see Flops.
    * 14-20 BB. U can play "real poker", but not much wiggle room. I believe all raises should be Min-raises.

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  20. #20
    ChuckyTheGoat
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    * 21-25 BB. I still think your Open-Raises should be smallish. Like 2.4BB.

    Reason I say that is you want to DISGUISE the strength of your hand, as long as possible. At 20BB, so often I see guys push All-in and then wonder why they got no-action on AA or KK.

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  21. #21
    ChuckyTheGoat
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    One other thing about Shortish stacks, let's say 25BB or less. Most players HATE playing post-flop. They get wigged out on decisions and wonder if they're beat. If they don't have the nuts, they're very uncomfortable.

    This ties into my earlier point about how to read opponent bet-sizes. If your opponent bets disproportionately big, they normally have a big hand. Respect this tell, until he shows u otherwise.

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  22. #22
    ChuckyTheGoat
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    Props to Opti for creating a separate thread. A lot of ideas to throw out there:

    I'd offer up one basic idea, as it relates to No-Limit Holdem and specifically Tournaments:
    * What is the purpose of your bet?

    You shouldn't just be betting to bet. Consider how your opponent might react. Can you get him to fold?

    Basic idea behind poker theory is to get your opponent to do the opposite of what he should do:
    * Get him to call w/ worst hand.
    * Get him to fold best hand.

    Poker is not bingo. I've observed that an Opponent needs a strong hand to absorb a double-barrel bet. He will give u credit for a strong hand.

    Why do I mention that? If u bet two streets, Opponent will have to think u are holding Top Pair+. If u are betting a combo-draw, if u bet on a Big Draw (12+ outs) or a Hand that improved on Turn...u are going to get a lot of Folds. IE, he's often going to lay down a hand that's SLIGHTLY stronger than yours.

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  23. #23
    ChuckyTheGoat
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    Have watched a lot of tournament video. CAn make one observation:

    * Don't give the top pros too much credit. They get 2cards just like anyone else.

    Have seen name players go thru ups and downs. They're trying to read the situation like anyone else. I will say that the better players have a better understanding of their opponents.

    They know what their opponent is capable of and how to apply the right amount of pressure.

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  24. #24
    ChuckyTheGoat
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    There's a saying in poker: "Don't try to bluff a donkey."

    This has good application. Watch when a pro runs a bluff. They're not doing that vs a low-end player that will call them down w/ top-pair. They know that a GOOD player will feel obligated to lay down marginal hand.

    Conversely, I've seen a top pro like Phil Ivey bet to the downs if they have a made hand and feel like their opponent's hand-strength is such that they can't lay it down.

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  25. #25
    ChuckyTheGoat
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    A follow-up tell to Item5. Watch how your opponent operates on very short stack. Like 5 BB or less.

    Tourney players know that this is Shove or Fold territory. If he tries to min-raise, 2bb (40% of his stack), he's holding dynamite. AA or KK. He's trying to run it out and get a caller to double him up. Have seen this consistently.

    Might look like u have to call w/ QT. U hit top-pair, he goes all-in, and you're left holding the bag.

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  26. #26
    BeerDog99
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    Really good points and opinions Chucky! One thing that you leave out in your last point is two points that I think you need to consider on dbl or triple barreling an opponent:

    1) the overall point is that betting is better than calling. It gives you two ways to win whereas calling, only one...
    2) when you are dbl/triple barreling, you need to take into account the type of player you are playing against. Not all players recognize that you have bet three streets, they are just seeing their big pair or other semi-strong hands. When you are betting against this type of player, make sure you are getting value and not just thowing $$ away for someone that will hold onto a pair and you miss your hand.

    Also, position plays a big role in betting, if you are out of position, betting multiple streets could be tough and building a pot where you have a hard decision on the river if they all of a sudden open the betting.

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  27. #27
    ChuckyTheGoat
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    Thx, BeerDog. I'm trying. But it's all hot air if I don't produce.

    Wish me good luck at the tables tomorrow!

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  28. #28
    thetrinity
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    Fairly good points and info but I would tweak your numbers a little bit.

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  29. #29
    JAKEPEAVY21
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    in live games, I profile the table and then play accordingly...if they are playing fast, I tighten up and pick spots..if they are playing slow, I start raising more..shifting gears is important too so the villains don't get a solid read or feel for your play..

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  30. #30
    ChuckyTheGoat
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    Played the 9am Bally's. These Turbo tournaments are so forgettable.

    Blinds go up quickly. If you're card-dead for 2orbits, u quickly move toward "Shove or Fold" zone.

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  31. #31
    ChuckyTheGoat
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    Played the 2pm Deepstack. $235 entry, I'll cut to the chase. I finished 35th out of 1000. Turned $235 into $924.

    Been said a million times, huge variance in tournament-poker. You really have to run good.

    I was pretty fortunate on the flips, but u have to hear the hand I was eliminated on.

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  32. #32
    ChuckyTheGoat
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    Standard fare for tournament-poker. You play for a long time. Only a few memorable hands. Then it's bingo-time and u have to win the flips.

    One early winner that got me pointed in the right direction:

    * I raise in mid-pos w/ AJ, get a caller in late-pos. Flop is Ace-hi w/ 78 and two Hearts. Note: I'm holding J(h).

    I bet flop and get called. Turn is a low-brick. I bet small, thinking there's not a lot I'm getting called by. He check-raises me. I ponder a bit and then call.

    River is T(h), which would normally be a dirty river. Flushes + Straights get home. But I'm holding a great blocker in J(h). A lot of Straights + Flushes would include that card.

    He bets river to Pot-size bet. Does he have 2pair+? My hand's too good to fold. I call and he mucks.

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  33. #33
    ChuckyTheGoat
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    2 early limpers, smallBlind raises to 4.5xBB. I'm in BB w/ 53(spades), a hand I'll gladly defend. Limpers both call, 4-way pot.

    Flop is T53, this is great. PF-raiser bets, and I call, w/ one more caller. Now, I'm HOPING this guy has overpair like AA and not AK that bricked. Turn is an 8. He (sadly) slows down, check on Turn. I bet half-pot, 2 folds. Could have made much more on a hand they wouldn't have seen coming.

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  34. #34
    ChuckyTheGoat
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    One more noteworthy hand, b4 Bingo-session starts. Tell me if this is a Good Fold? Or a Gutless Fold?

    I'm at 20BB in BigBlind w/ KJ(diamonds). I'll gladly defend raise from mid-position and call on Button. 3-way pot, about 7BB in pot.

    Flop is T93 w/ one Diamond. I check. Mid-Pos raiser is a maniac, btw. He bets 4 into 7. Button goes all-in, which is only about 5. BAck to me. Do I like my hand?

    I count 11 outs to topPair+:
    * 6 overs
    * 4 Queens, which complete the gutshot
    * Runner-runner Diamonds

    I tank for a minute. Here is what bothers me:
    1) 20players from the $$bubble. No big deal, but I could easily get there by avoiding big pots.
    2) The early action indicates Hand strength. Are my 11 outs clean? PF could have better than TP, and Button has a hand worthy of going all-in.
    3) BAsed on chip-stack, I feel like I'm very close to All-in or Fold. And I don't think I have any Fold Equity vs him.

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  35. #35
    Optional
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    ^^^ great feeling when you get the call right and they just muck it in disgust


    What time was it when knocked out in 35th?

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