Originally Posted by Piranha 131
Going for the win would be building your chip stack and taking chances to try and finish 1st in the tournament. Before I'm in the money but close to the bubble I play very tight and just try to outlast people. My strategy in tournaments is the begining of tournament I play slightly aggressive, middle i play tight. Late I play very aggressive.
So I guess we are talking about taking a chance to increase our stack by calling with A9s and expecting to see 88+ with the idea that we'll hope to catch an A/9/flush and double up. (DO correct me if I am misrepresenting you here, Piranha.) Roughly half the time we will double and the other half we'll lose; but the trouble with this play is that the double chipstack will very often not be worth double the cash, or, to put it another way, it doesn't increase our chance of winning the tourney as much as we might think because as Orifice says, chips won are not as valuable as chips lost.
Let's imagine that according to ICM a given stack is worth $10 and that if we double our stack it is worth $16. By pushing it in on what our best guess says is a 50/50 chance we are obviously playing a losing strategy. Would you pay $10 to flip a coin and win $16?
I am not advocating a passive style or saying aggression is wrong with a marginal hand as there is a whole lot more to poker than the maths. I do think, however, that saying that we are 'playing to win' becomes meaningless if what our actions are doing are reducing our expected return in $.
To finish, here's a hand that I played in a $10 MTT tonight. Early in tourney I get QQ and reraise to 300, 1/10 my stack. When it comes back round to me two players are all in and have me covered. I fold. Although I folded the best hand (AKo and JJ) I am happy enough. More than half the time I will lose that hand and be out - the other half I win and have a stack of 9K. Whilst that 9K would be very nice indeed and preferable to the 2700 I ended up with it wasn't worth enough. I was confident I could get my stack up to that level in much less risky ways - which I did. Presumably, a PTW player would love to get their chips in in that spot. For the record, I would have lost to a J straight.