Tourney Strategy by Stormswa

stormswa

stormswa

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I was asked to do a rebuy strategy guide and how it differs from a freezeout by one of our very loyal members. What I decided to do was a general guide going through all forums of games along with my general strategys.

Tips Before, During and After your tourney

1. time managment: this is a big one guys, some tourneys can last up in the 6+ hours and it would suck for you to build a giant stack just to have to leave the house for a hour. When you get back you realize you went from being one of the big stacks to being the small stack on final table.

2. Play to win: If you are approaching the bubble and you have like a 4 big blind stack or a "M" of like 3 you did something wrong. We should not be letting ourselves get to that point. We are not playing just to cash, the real good money is not till about the top 3-5 spots so that is what we are playing for. I will go into more detail of this later in this article.

3. hands play differently at different levels of the tourney: What I mean by this is AJ plays a lot differently at 10/20 blind levels then it will at say 200/400 blind levels. At lower buy in levels you are not going to get a lot of respect with your raises so you always have to be aware of that fact on a ace high flop it is very possible the other play has ace also and has matched his kicker. In otherwards people are calling you much lighter in the early stages of a tourney then they will in later stages.


Lets just get to the tourney part of this.


Freezeout

this is what most people play, what it means is you pay a certain amount for a tourney buy-in and you are given a certain amount of chips. Your goal is to accumulate every single chip in play. Now you have time to do this and dont think you need to win every single pot. Be patient when you play and look for good spots.

Early stages

early stages for me are like up until the 1st break. depending on where you are playing but at stars the blind level after break 1 is 75/150. Depending on how we did during the last hour we could either have a dangerous stack 10 big blinds or less, a so-so stack like 10-20bb or a nice stack which is anything over 20bb. Depending on what our stack looks like dictates how we play in the middle stages which we will go into in next section. Ok so I like to play pretty tight during the early stages of a tourney, in this stage you need to raise at least 3x the big blind so we can define the strength of our hand. Dont ever mini-raise at this level and dont ever limp with the intention of coming over the top because most players at this level are just limping in. Just play ABC poker here.


Middle Stages

the middle stage of the tourney varies depends on where you are playing. At this level we should start to see some antes brought into our tournament. ante's are great because now it becomes profitable to steal blinds. To steal blinds you need to open up your game a little bit or switch gears, but you also by now should know who you can and cant steal from so be careful dont steal from calling stations. so during early stages we are trying to survive and during this level we are trying to accumulate. Pick on the small stakes, if you are one of those small stacks keep track of your big blinds and know what your "M" is. We are looking for situation along with good cards right about now. Keep in mind if you have fold equity or not, for instance dont shove overtop of someone with medieum strength hand if the guy that raised is a big stack and has already put half or your stack in middle with his origional raise. At this point we dont have to be raising big, we can make smallish raises. They accomplish the same thing and dont commit you to calls. Like if blidns are 100/200 I like raising to 500 instead of 600 or 700, it may not seem like a big difference but trust me it is.


Later Stages


ok at this point we are either in the money already or around the money bubble. This is the time to really pick on the small stacks, you should not be one of them. You should be medium to big stacked right about now and if you arnt what are you waiting for start pushing. Again our raises dont need to be crazy big, stop pushing that bet pot button! here were are trying to accumulate chips for the final table. We are trying to go deep here kids, I know it sucks busting out so close to the bubble but one tourney win will make up for all those bubble finishes.


Final Table


so you made it to the final table, 1st congratuate yourself on a job well done. But our job is not totally done we have a 1st place to win. kinda play this like you played level 1 here. Just play standard tight poker but if you realize your opponents are picking up on that change gears. Final table is pretty self explanitory so im not going to go into detail here. Your tourney life will be on the line multiple times just try to get your money in good.


Thats about it for freezeouts now lets go to my favorite which is a rebuy.


REBUY TOURNAMENT


rebuy tournaments are tournaments where you pay a fee and get chips just like freezeouts but if you bust out you can pay that tourney fee again to get more chips and continue your tourney.

I have some rules I need to go over 1st.

1. dont cap your buy-ins, people ask me this all the time some in instant messanger how many buyins should I do before I quit. My answer is buy in as many times as it takes. I played a rebuy last night where I had to of double rebought at least 10 times.

2. there is no such thing as a bad beat in a rebuy, there are going to be plenty of times when people make bad calls and catch. It is expected so dont tilt if it happens to you.

all the stages after the 1st break here are played the same, but the 1st break is play totally different.


lets get on to the 1st hour..

ok this 1st hour is going to be filled with more action then you see a whole tourney sometimes. in 1st hour we want coin flips and we dont mind getting our money in with 88 vs AK. When I play I dont want a extra 3k that I would be thrilled with in a freezeout. I want like 9k+, when we start 2nd hour everyone will be very deep stacked. Really that is kinda all there is to rebuys, if you want to know specifics just let me know but really you just try to get your money in as good as you can and let cards fall where they will. oh yea 2 more things.....

always add on during 1st break, it is dumb not to and no reason not to.

also if you get down to the last hand before break #1 and your chipstack is about where it startedshove no matter what you have. if you win then great you have a much bigger stack and can add on....BUT if you lose you can always double rebuy and add on and basically have what you would of if you folded that hand and added on, understand that?


I do concider myself a above average tourney player, when im focused I play my tourneys pretty perfectly. Now that not to say im winning tons of them but I realize what I need to do and when to do it during the tourney. But lets not talk about cash games because I suck there.




thanks for reading,
Stormswa (Brian)
 
OzExorcist

OzExorcist

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A question, if I may:

In the middle-to-bubble stages of a tournament (freezeout or rebuy, guess it's much the same at this point), wouldn't it be preferable to pick on the medium stacks rather than the small stacks?

My thinking is that it's the medium stacks who can afford to throw away their marginal hands - they might well recognise that you're stealing from them, they might well be folding the best hand, but they don't want to risk putting a dent in their stack when they're pretty much guaranteed to make the money if they just sit tight.

Short stacks, on the other hand, can be playing much more marginal hands, and won't necessarily be afraid to get in a pot with you - either they double up or they're finishing with nothing anyway.

I realise that if you act before them and take away their first-in vigorish then many of them are still folding, and that the ten-to-one rule probably applies too. And if we've got a worthy hand, why not be the one to take their chips and burst the bubble. But lose one or two of these confrontations, and suddenly you're back in the main pack with everybody else.

I guess what I'm saying is on the whole I find picking on the medium stacks to be a less risky way of accumulating the same amount of chips - just wondering if you had any special thoughts on leaning towards the small stacks instead?
 
HartAttack3

HartAttack3

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Oz, I want to try and answer this one for ya and if im wrong im sure storm will love to tell me =p lol. You want to pick on the short stacks because they are looking for something to push with, meaning unless they get a PP or something like a-10+ (depending on their stack of course) they will fold to your bets and you can steal their blinds. If they are in a hand with you they will probably be playing scared so unless they hit a monster they will laydown that 88 when you bet with ak on a q-j-3 flop as long as they dont have a good read on you. Of course the medium stacks will do that as well but I think storm was going somewhere in the region I went with that answer. Could be totally wrong, and I kinda hope I am, I love it when storm tells people they are wrong, most of the time its hilarious even when its me lol.

Great post though storm, I was waiting for someone like you to do a freezeout guide, I play rebuys extremely well but I cant do freezeouts as well.
 
stormswa

stormswa

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Hart pretty much got it right, sorry buddie cant correct you. Like he said the small stacks are looking to double up and im not saying raise them with hands like 52os. A lot of the times we will be commited to calls by the small stacks so we need a hand with decent show down value suited connectors, gapped suited connectors etc. When the blinds get big we are going to be raising almost every bubble and small blind when it is folded to us unless we know the players are defenders.

at latter parts of the tourneys we really want to eliminate any hard decisions we have. By picking on the small stacks we totally eliminate hard decisions. Like we raise he shoves, we are commited so we call, we raise he shoves we are not commited so we fold.

of if we have the small stacks the roles are reversed, guy raises blind we are in BB with something like 5-7 suited we have fold equity so we push. Usually he will fold and we will pick up very important chips for us or he calls and most likely we are live and if he has overpair we have the best kind of hands to crack it. Like I said very simple decisions.
 
OzExorcist

OzExorcist

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If they are in a hand with you they will probably be playing scared so unless they hit a monster they will laydown

This is kinda what I was getting at, and I don't think the assumption can go unquestioned - if the small stacks don't make a move and double up, they're going home with nothing. With nothing to lose, they're actually the least scared players at the table. And you can't bully someone who doesn't have any fear.

Sure, if you lose to a short stack you won't be out of the tournament - but it only takes one or two of these losses to put you back in the pack with everybody else, and all of a sudden your bullying and chip accumulation powers are reduced.

To my mind, you've actually described the exact situation the medium stacks are in - they're the ones with something to lose, and the ones who can afford to lay down everything but monster hands.
 
HartAttack3

HartAttack3

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This is kinda what I was getting at, and I don't think the assumption can go unquestioned - if the small stacks don't make a move and double up, they're going home with nothing. With nothing to lose, they're actually the least scared players at the table. And you can't bully someone who doesn't have any fear.


Idk about this one. I have to say that small stacks on the bubble are the most scared, they think they have no shot at winning so they want to just make the money so they at least dont lose the money for their buyin. The medium and bigger stacks are looking to win so they will play more cards. Im sorry but im gonna have to disagree with you, the short stacks will not play unless they are over 90% to win in their head so you can push them around easier.
 
Egon Towst

Egon Towst

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Nice thread, Stormy. :)

It`s perhaps worth adding that the rules of rebuy tournaments differ quite a lot from one site to another. If you are playing on an unfamiliar site, it`s important to check this out, so you know what to expect.

For example, in a typical bodog rebuy you start with 1000 chips, can buy another 1000 whenever you have 1000 or less, and the addon is 2000.

At Titan, on the other hand, you start with 1500 chips, can buy another 1500 only when you are at zero, and the rebuy is 1500.

These differences can be enough to affect the style of play. In the two examples above, the Bodog game is likely to be played somewhat more tight in the first hour since it is possible to accumulate 4x the starting stack without ever winning a large pot. In the Titan game, however, you can only ever get 2x the starting stack unless you play aggressively and double up, so the play is likely to be looser (bearing in mind that all rebuys will be loose in the first hour as compared with freezeouts).
 
stormswa

stormswa

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Idk about this one. I have to say that small stacks on the bubble are the most scared, they think they have no shot at winning so they want to just make the money so they at least dont lose the money for their buyin. The medium and bigger stacks are looking to win so they will play more cards. Im sorry but im gonna have to disagree with you, the short stacks will not play unless they are over 90% to win in their head so you can push them around easier.


yea again hart is right the small stacks, normal small stacks just want to make the money. Expecially if the are satty qualifiers, remember they might of gotten in for like a couple dollars and looking at making a couple hundred. Here is the easiest way to find out, raise the button if he comes over the top of you then you know you cant steal his blinds and you only raise with hands you intend to call a all in with.


Nice thread, Stormy. :)

It`s perhaps worth adding that the rules of rebuy tournaments differ quite a lot from one site to another. If you are playing on an unfamiliar site, it`s important to check this out, so you know what to expect.

For example, in a typical Bodog rebuy you start with 1000 chips, can buy another 1000 whenever you have 1000 or less, and the addon is 2000.

At Titan, on the other hand, you start with 1500 chips, can buy another 1500 only when you are at zero, and the rebuy is 1500.

These differences can be enough to affect the style of play. In the two examples above, the Bodog game is likely to be played somewhat more tight in the first hour since it is possible to accumulate 4x the starting stack without ever winning a large pot. In the Titan game, however, you can only ever get 2x the starting stack unless you play aggressively and double up, so the play is likely to be looser (bearing in mind that all rebuys will be loose in the first hour as compared with freezeouts).


agreed, this actually screwed me up on the stars rebuy, its only 1/2 hour long unlike FTP which is a hour.
 
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