The Amazing 9%

Four Dogs

Four Dogs

Legend
I played a $10+1 nlh tournament this morning which ended in frustration after nearly 3 hours as I placed 19th out of 159 entrants to miss the money by 1. Considering that I was nearly completely card dead for 152 hands it was really amazing that I made it that far, and even on the last hand where I went out, I was favored.

But apon reflection, the really amazing part was that out of 152 hands played, I only saw the flop 14 times, 9.21% of the total. In fact, I only bet 18 times. No, this wasn't some excersize in supertight strategy, but rather a complete and utter dearth of playable hands and or opportunity. After reviewing the results, I can't help but believe there is something to be learned from this. If I wasn't getting cards or stealing blinds, how did I outlast 131 opponents? Super efficiency in the hands I did play. By waiting, (out of necessity) for the right opportunity I was able to win over 50% of the flops I saw. Of the 7 flops, 5 went to showdown, and I won 3 of those. Ordinarily I'm semi loose agressive, playing about 30% of my hands overall. This time, while the agression factor remained high, I was achieved better equal or better than normal results with about 1/4 the hands.

I won't go so far as to suggest one should play less than 10% of your hands, but It does make me reconsider my aggressive style. I believe that 2 or 3 more real hands would have put me deep into the money.
 
shinedown.45

shinedown.45

Legend
I played a $10+1 nlh tournament this morning which ended in frustration after nearly 3 hours as I placed 19th out of 159 entrants to miss the money by 1. Considering that I was nearly completely card dead for 152 hands it was really amazing that I made it that far, and even on the last hand where I went out, I was favored.

But apon reflection, the really amazing part was that out of 152 hands played, I only saw the flop 14 times, 9.21% of the total. In fact, I only bet 18 times. No, this wasn't some excersize in supertight strategy, but rather a complete and utter dearth of playable hands and or opportunity. After reviewing the results, I can't help but believe there is something to be learned from this. If I wasn't getting cards or stealing blinds, how did I outlast 131 opponents? Super efficiency in the hands I did play. By waiting, (out of necessity) for the right opportunity I was able to win over 50% of the flops I saw. Of the 7 flops, 5 went to showdown, and I won 3 of those. Ordinarily I'm semi loose agressive, playing about 30% of my hands overall. This time, while the agression factor remained high, I was achieved better equal or better than normal results with about 1/4 the hands.

I won't go so far as to suggest one should play less than 10% of your hands, but It does make me reconsider my aggressive style. I believe that 2 or 3 more real hands would have put me deep into the money.
I sometimes feel the same way, just this weekend my flop stats were 17% for 1 game and 18% for another, so I know what you mean about being card dead.
By any chance were these games played on pokerstars?
 
Alon Ipser

Alon Ipser

Cardschat Elite
I think it is a bubble strategy. The tight play simply lets the others lose while you are preserving chips. When it gets to the bubble, you don't have enough chips to do anything with. May be an OK stategy under other circumstances but a big MTT, I don't think so.
 
Four Dogs

Four Dogs

Legend
I think it is a bubble strategy. The tight play simply lets the others lose while you are preserving chips. When it gets to the bubble, you don't have enough chips to do anything with. May be an OK stategy under other circumstances but a big MTT, I don't think so.
There's something to what you say, but I don't think it was as hopeless as all that. I'm beginning to believe that in an MTT, mere survival has alot more value than it gets credit for. I was about 1/2 the average stack most of the way, and If I had won my last push I would have been somewhere around the middle of the pack.
 
cali420fornia

cali420fornia

Guest
You didnt see ANY your semi good hands hitting trips or sets? had you played normal (normal to you) would you have caught a lucky break and been in the money?

dont forget its still poker...noone ever won a tournament without a lucky break.
 
Irexes

Irexes

Legend
MTTs have a rhythm to them. There are periods where playing a few more pots is productive and times when it's best to stay out of it unless you have the genuine strength in your hand to mix it up. The rhythm is affected by the size of your stack, the tone of the table, the presence and position of big and small stacks and the proximity of the money.

What is definately true is that building decent stack early with a few low cost investments in pots means you can avoid taking far more costly risks later on. Winning in MTTs means final tables and top 5 finishes anything else is usually just paying for a couple of buy-ins.

I'm not advocating crazy-looseness, but I do think that playing pots while the blinds are cheap and there is opportunity for post-flop play is important in order to have the stack later on to continue playing after the flop. As tournaments progress there are usually long periods where it's fold city and you don't play many hands, but I think that should be a phase of play dictated by the situation and rhythm of the tournament rather than a strategic approach to be adopted.

Rambling a bit there :)
 
Ronaldadio

Ronaldadio

Legend
mmmmmmmmmmmm

I think it is a bubble strategy. The tight play simply lets the others lose while you are preserving chips. When it gets to the bubble, you don't have enough chips to do anything with. May be an OK stategy under other circumstances but a big MTT, I don't think so.

Most of the time I play about 10-20% of my hands. So I think I am a tight player.

The point you make above is correct to an extent, but the amount of times I see loose players catching, being chip leader, and then dropping like a stone is amazing!!!

When u play the above way (tight) you need your big hands to stand up. I aim to keep myself about mid field throughout a MTT. As long as I have about 10+ the big bling when it gets down to about the last 15% of the tourny I`m happy. More is obviously better. The blinds are so big at this stage that a double up is a regular occurance - as is your KK being bust by Ax, or your trips on the flop falling to a runner runner flush.

I always think the great thing about poker is that there is no one style that is the best. What I do when get late in a tourny and I know a lot of the players are good players I will then go on the steal - they are more likely to respect a raise and more ppl are trying to avoid the bubble - so to an extent I become a `loose` player at this stage
 
Four Dogs

Four Dogs

Legend
You didnt see ANY your semi good hands hitting trips or sets? had you played normal (normal to you) would you have caught a lucky break and been in the money?

dont forget its still poker...noone ever won a tournament without a lucky break.
Winning Hands and BLinds
15/30 JJ 2 pair
25/50 KJ Opp folded on the turn
25/50 AQ Won Pre-Flop
30/60 JJ Won on the flop w/KKJJ
30/60 A8 Won the showdown W/KKKA8 vs KKKA7
40/80 J4 Folded around to me in the BB
40/80 AA Won on the flop
60/120 J5 Folded around to me on the BB
80/160 AK Won pre-flop
80/160 A8 Won pre-flop
80/160 77 Was short stacked and pushed All-in vs big stacks KQs from BB
120/240 55 Pushed from the button and won Preflop
150/300 A7 Rivered a 7 vs AT. This was the only real lucky hand I had.
200/400 99 Won pre-flop

So, no, not a single hand greater than 2 pair.
As far as playing normal is concerned, this was normal. The difference wasn't in my playing style but in the lack of playable hands, but more so, the lack of opportunities. By opportunities, I mean opening the pot with decent hands, stealing the blinds, or calling with great pot odds. It just wasn't happening. I might get a decent hand on the button only to face an all-in from early position.

There was actually a difference in the way I was forced to play however. Because of my continuously short stack, the rising blinds, and the antes, I had to take bigger chances with some marginal hands like med pocket pairs or Ax. I was lucky that all but the last attempt worked in my favor.

Incidentaly, on the last hand I was dealt A5 in the SB. The button, who I had covered by 15 chips min raised and I pushed all-in, certain that he would fold a marginal hand rather than chance finishing in 19th place, 1 out of the money. I was wrong. He called with QJo and rivered a str8. The antes took my last 15 chips on the next hand.
 
V

venturer49

Rising Star
I generally play supertight for the first half to 2/3 of pretty much any tournament, & I tend not to worry too much about having a low chip stack - I've come back to 2nd place in an SNG from 850 chips with the blinds at 300/600 and my opponents on '000s, so generally feel reasonably confident that by being aggressive at the right time I can usually claw my way up the ranking. Obviously, there are times when you just get unbelievable successions of trash hands, like Four Dogs says, and then your chances of surviving rapidly vanish pretty fast.

What I also find is that a lot of the time, by staying out of pots, I get to watch the other players eliminate each other nicely. I've got into payout positions several times courtesy of other players with much larger stacks than me slugging it out.
For some reason, I find freerolls harder to do well in, maybe because there are so many players in them who'll call anything at all, and suckouts are more frequent.

Incidentally, I reckon I do much better in tournaments than ring games, and I'm pretty sure it's because in those it's harder to focus on a specific goal, and I tend to end up getting looser and more careless out of boredom...
 
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