The newbies “Big cards, play aggressive” strategy problems.
Things I have learned the hard way, 101.
One of the first articles I read about tournament poker for beginners involved talking about how you need to stick to big hands (AA, KK, QQ, AK, AQ suited) and play them “very aggressively”; ie; Raise real big preflop, and C-bet with vigor. I had been playing awhile, and the first thing I noticed about this advice was...my game suffered, and I do mean horribly. The problem basically boiled down to these factors:
1. Online Free Roll: When you start w 1,000 and the blinds are at 10/20, your raise should be 2.5 to 3x the Big Blind. NOT 8, 10, or more. Why? Well, opening up for 100 is TEN PERCENT of your stack! Even if you start with 2500, remember that the weakest players are at the beginning, so that limp-in with QJ (Q-x if it’s suited!) now warrants a call (?!?). If they flopped a Q, then they might check that top pair to you and are not going to fold to your C-bet.
2. What is a good C-bet? 1/2 to 2/3 the pot...So if you got 2 callers, the pot is now 345 at least, so you now bet around 300 or more. Again, do you think a rookie will fold top pair to this bet, afraid you have AA? Nope, so now you’re into this pot for 400, almost half your stack. If they don’t fold and you don’t improve on the turn, then what? Bet again on the turn if you have missed? That is the “aggressive” way. Now you have 60-80 percent of your stack in with AK, no pair, no draw, and get wiped out by a rookie with QJ, or worse, Q2 suited.
3. How long can you survive opening up each hand you decide to play for 10% of your stack? I can tell you, NOT LONG!
4. Lets say you raised preflop to 100 w KK and flop 342. Great, right? Now you bet 300 after being checked to and get three callers. Now, the turn brings a 10, and you decide to shove. Then your callers show A5 off, 10-10 and 2-2. Now, you are drawing DEAD. River a K and you still lose to the guy who flopped a straight.
You must read any flop you get. Why invest 10% of your stack only to be forced to fold? Hey, big cards are great, but you have to connect in some way. And when you bet too big too early, you quickly become “pot committed”. Then you are most likely going to go to the rail. Since so many limp in with god-only-knows-what and will call any raise with it early in the game, you have to be careful. If the blinds are changing every 5 minutes, you don’t have time to wait for the big cards. Plus, you want to wait until you have WAY better than one top pair before you go Rambo on ‘em. So, in short, no, you do not have to C-bet every frigging flop!
If you are like me, you start off with any free roll MTT you can find. It’s not easy. The “advised” strategy works far better with decent starting stacks and long blind intervals, so beware. No free games have this. 1k and 5 minutes turns poker into bingo, but it’s a great place to learn. The aggressive strategy works best in live games where chances are, if they paid XX-$ to get in, you will have a few less loose cannons at the table. In a free game online, they might all be loose cannons.