Concept #5: Why being nit tight in the early game is correct
The Basic Idea:
In the early game, being nit tight is right in DoNs. The two reasons for this are, 1.) in most games, our chipstacks increase in value just from folding, and 2.) we need to have a significant amount of equity (the percentage of time we win the hand at any given point in the hand) in order to profitably get our entire stack in. I am not going to cover what equity is so please research that one your own if you don't know what it is. Also, please note that there are two very different types of equity. There is equity you have in a hand which is how often we would win the current hand at any given point (we will refer to this as equity) and equity you have of the prize pool (we will refer to this as $EV). Let's look at an example:
In a $5.20 DoN, the prize pool is $50 and at the beginning of the game, everyone has a 1500 chip stack which has $5 in real money
value (everyone has an 1500 / (1500*10) = 10% so 10% of $50 is $5). Let's say that on the very first hand, someone doubles up and someone busts (we are going to ignore blinds for the time being). This means the person who has the 3000 chip stack and everyone else has a 1500 chip stack. According to ICM, the 3000 chip stack has 15.56% $EV and everyone else has 10.56% $EV. There are two things we can take away from this:
1.) By folding, everyone who had a 1500 chip stack just gained 0.56% of $EV (10% -> 10.56%)
2.) The person who just doubled up now has double the chips but not double the value of the prize pool. So the natural question to ask is, how much equity in a hand do we need to profitably double up? The math is the following:
-> Chance we double up * $EV when we double up + Chance we lose * $EV when we lose = $EV when we fold
-> Equity * .1556 + (1 - Equity) * 0 = .10
-> Equity * .1556 = .10
-> Equity = 64.27%
Thus, we need 64.27% equity in a hand to double up. In reality, this number is going to be slightly smaller depending on blinds and how much has already gone into the pot. When the amount we risk compared to the amount we win is smaller, we need less equity to continue, but it doesn't change the fact that we need to expect to win a fair amount of the time to enter a hand.
During the first two blind levels, folding everything but QQ+ is not that far from optimal. Set mining is an option if we think we have good implied odds
. As in any deep stack situation, position is important so opening up our range to something like TT+, AK is fine from CO/BTN. The other factor to consider when opening up our range is that playing more hands requires more of our attention. Instead of playing these marginally +EV spots, we could multitable a few more tables and focus on the late game shove/fold decisions which are paramount to DoN success.