Evolution of Tournaments

Irexes

Irexes

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Possibly solid basic strategy has remained the same but I think the tactics of tournaments are ever-evolving with the player base.

In part ring is ring wherever you play. The variable in the structure of the game is limited to the number of players. In tournies there are huge differences in structure due to stack size, blind ratios, time of rounds, rebuys, number of entrants, payout structures etc etc. This means that there is huge scope for variation in play in order to exploit the optimum approach in each context. The trouble with a lot of tourney advice in books is that although it is often given a context (ie 10 man $55 SnG) it tends to underplay this context in favour of a default solid tournament strategy. There are volumes that could be written on on-line turbos or qualifiers or rebuys that would make good books in themselves, it's glossed over a bit in the literature. For example the ultra-tight-early, aggressive-late approach to SnGs is a staple of online play which requires the ditching of hands early in the first few levels that most "solid" strategies would have you playing.

It is at the tactical level where I have felt the greatest evolution. Phil Gordon in the "Little Green Book" refers to the cut-off being the new button when it comes to stealing and goes further to suggest CO+1 is becoming the new cut-off.

Other examples are a stronger trend towards restealing alongside "fashionable" plays like limp reraising AA and KK UTG.

So yes, I think the basic strategy (and a successful one at that) has remained fairly stable over the last few years, but there's a lot in the sublties of each sub-type of tourney that is continually evolving and changing with the players.
 
F Paulsson

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All very good points.

I was thinking more about hand-by-hand differences, but that's of course also a line of thinking that shows my true colour as a ring game player; tournaments aren't played hand-by-hand, they're played tournament-by-tournament. I like what you said about how things change with payout structures, etc.

I have more to say about this, but I have a meeting starting now.
 
F Paulsson

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Phew, meeting over.

I think what I'm getting at is that tournament strategy, when it comes to dealing with individual hands - the Gap concept, etc. - hasn't changed as much as I originally expected it to. You mention the super-tight early SnG tactic for instance, and I think that's a great point; it's definitely one of the places where tournament strategy has changed. And clearly, with everyone and their dog having read HoH1 and HoH2, people are more correctly dealing with shortstack shoves late in the tourney (reading them for what they are: Low-M necessities).

I dunno. I guess that my final disclaimer (I may not know enough about tournaments to know that they've evolved) may have hit home. It's possible that an experienced tournament player feels the same way about TPFAP that I feel about HPFAP.

Fap fap fap.

/F(a)P
 
dj11

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From my online tourney play experiences, which consist mainly of freerolls (don't mistake me here, I know how much all of you detest freerolls and the frw who play them), online tourneys have changed a lot in the last year. Especially since the US ban. The US ban mainly caused a tightening up of the game, with more of the remaining players working on improving their game.

This year alone I would say that the improvement in play is around 50% better poker than last year. Or maybe that is just that I am playing 50% better.

Incidentely, I find no real difference between freerolls after the initial donk outs, and up to $5.00 tourneys. I have no real experience in higher limits except yesterdays wsoof ME. Actually it wasn't a whole lot different.

TAG early, loosening up before the others loosen up, and then tightening up before the others tighten up. Short handed final table play, and HU requiring smart aggression. Along with reasonably good reads.

If that is what your books revealed long ago, then you're right, tourney play hasn't changed much.

I would move to the top of any tourney strategy, as the primary consideration, survival. When I use that as my guiding principle, I always advance further than when I choose looseness or tightness or maniacal insanity as the plan.
 
4Aces

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Anyone know any good books for NLHE tourneys, cos i am terrible at MTTs.
 
Irexes

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I was thinking more about hand-by-hand differences, but that's of course also a line of thinking that shows my true colour as a ring game player; tournaments aren't played hand-by-hand, they're played tournament-by-tournament.

This cuts to the heart of successful tournament play and is also why although I can turn a small profit at ring it explains why I don't "get it" in the same way that I feel I get tournies. I just can't switch off my tourny mentality.

Clearly there is a metagame in Ring, but in tournies I feel it is much more to the fore as you constantly have to be taking account of things that are based on factors beyond the current hand. It is in this area that I feel tourny play has evolved and where the books often struggle to articulate. Not to say there still aren't plenty of people who play like tools or are as passive as can be :)

Biggest thing for me is a failure in a lot of the literature to distinguish with sufficient emphasis between MTTs and SnGs in a way that reflects what for me are two dramatically different disciplines.
 
NineLions

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Anyone know any good books for NLHE tourneys, cos i am terrible at MTTs.

The standard is Harrington on Holdem. I've got book 1, and am just starting 2. Not exactly useless for ring play either.
 
NineLions

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Biggest thing for me is a failure in a lot of the literature to distinguish with sufficient emphasis between MTTs and SnGs in a way that reflects what for me are two dramatically different disciplines.

Maybe SnGs underwent the bigger development more recently? Just a guess, given my extensive (1 year :)) poker experience.


The only place I recall reading much about SnGs, other to say they exist, was in one or other of the Phil Gordon books, maybe the Blue book as it's a later publication than the Green.


So, have you delineated the differences somewhere in your blog, Rex?
 
joosebuck

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i dont think poker is evolving as much as it gets 'deeper'. by this i mean there are still always going to be people that raise AA from utg in tournies for two reasons.

1) they [still] know nothing about poker and wont change gears
2) they are amazing at poker and know that the button/co/hijack are also good and will take their limp to mean aa/kk and will not try to resteal, whereas a standard raise might get a steal attempt on it.

poker is about knowing your enemy and adapting. the actions in poker are so near-boolean (raise/fold/call) that the game can only change so much. it's like that person that makes a correct call, but doesnt know why. They did it whimsically. it's the same result as the person who makes a correct call knowing exactly why. since poker has many many levels, there will always be people doing things because they think they should, doing things because they think other people arent expecting it, and people doing things because it's the opposite of what people arent expecting because those people are now expecting the unexpected (limping aa/kk from ep)


you will always have strategies, counter-strategies, and counter-counter strategies.
 
Irexes

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So, have you delineated the differences somewhere in your blog, Rex?

I've probably written something somewhere at some point, but nothing I remember recently.

And my blog is usually just vanity publishing :)
 
Irexes

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i dont think poker is evolving as much as it gets 'deeper'. by this i mean there are still always going to be people that raise AA from utg in tournies for two reasons.

1) they [still] know nothing about poker and wont change gears
2) they are amazing at poker and know that the button/co/hijack are also good and will take their limp to mean aa/kk and will not try to resteal, whereas a standard raise might get a steal attempt on it.

This is excellent :)
 
titans4ever

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Super aggressive is now the standard. Most players play above even the aggressive style that most books teach. People would rather run you over and ask questions later than think about how to play a hand with subtle changes or moves.

I think overall more people play SnGs and ring games because of the time constraints of the large multi table tournaments. You have to be aggressive in SnG or parish and I think that is splashing over onto the ring games. I think passive players can survive alot more now in ring games because more than likely people will do the betting for you and do continuation bets like it is nothing. You will always find aggressive maniacs on ring games now but watch them cry when the passive player stacks them while just calling.

I see a huge difference between a tournament and SnGs. Tourneys usually have longer blind levels so you can sit back and be more patient with hand selection. There is a huge difference between 10 min blinds (SnG) vs 15 min blinds (tournament). That is a differnce of 2 blind levels every hour. You cannot play the same for these two. Turbos are another beast again.

Books that teach tournament play assumes larger starting stacks (5k and 10k) with 45 or 60 min blinds (20 or 30 min for on-line tournaments). You can learn the moves but unless you play live and get those kind of set ups the information is slightly tainted in the formats 80% of on-line players play.
 
IrishDave

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poker is about knowing your enemy and adapting. the actions in poker are so near-boolean (raise/fold/call) that the game can only change so much.

you will always have strategies, counter-strategies, and counter-counter strategies.

Love these two observations as they get right to the heart of the matter. Textbook play only goes so far, you must be willing and able to throw out your "comfort" style and play each situation as it's warranted.

I take long breaks of a few months between playing a bit and I find that no single style or strategy works for any great period of time. Much depends on the levels you play, the site you play on, and even the time or day of the week. I've just started playing the MTTs at Carbon Poker as the fields are small and being very tight until the break can get you into contention fairly easily.

As Joose said, the key is adapting to the table and the opponents...
 
dj11

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joose, Have you invented a new math called near-boolean. boolean is bistate (0/1, on/off, raise or fold), not tristate (raise/call/fold).

Just kidding with you cause what you say does strike near to dead on.

And I 'll give you the totally uncoveted word of the day award for getting boolean into a poker discussion.
 
dj11

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sure fine, binary. same thing . just didn't fit the ribbing as well.
 
joosebuck

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well of course it's not bistate, that's why i said near boolean. in a sense it is boolean (staying in the pot or not) but only has a slight more depth to it than boolean responses.
 
joosebuck

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bump - dont let a good discussion die.
 
F Paulsson

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the actions in poker are so near-boolean (raise/fold/call) that the game can only change so much. it's like that person that makes a correct call, but doesnt know why. They did it whimsically. it's the same result as the person who makes a correct call knowing exactly why. since poker has many many levels, there will always be people doing things because they think they should, doing things because they think other people arent expecting it, and people doing things because it's the opposite of what people arent expecting because those people are now expecting the unexpected (limping aa/kk from ep)


you will always have strategies, counter-strategies, and counter-counter strategies.

Generally speaking: Actions in limit poker are only raise/fold/call/check. Actions in no-limit aren't at all binary, but people treat them like they are and I think that's a mistake. There's a big difference between a big bet and a small bet. I understand that this is not what you meant, though.

When you enter a situation with short-stack play, the actions get more and more limited. A bet where you leave only half your stack behind may as well be an all-in bet to begin with. You approach a situation where decisions do become either/or. There's less room to maneuver, and therefore less room for strategies, little room for counter-strategies and virtually no room at all for counter-counter strategies. So to speak.
 
F Paulsson

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I didn't phrase the above post very well. I had something profound to say, I'm sure, but I don't know what.

I need sleep. ****ers called me from work at 9:30 pm last night, and had me come in and work until midnight. :(
 
jayneseo

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i dont think poker is evolving as much as it gets 'deeper'. by this i mean there are still always going to be people that raise AA from utg in tournies for two reasons.

1) they [still] know nothing about poker and wont change gears
2) they are amazing at poker and know that the button/co/hijack are also good and will take their limp to mean aa/kk and will not try to resteal, whereas a standard raise might get a steal attempt on it.

How about us people that raise AA/KK UTG because we don't like to open limp and like to take control of the betting? There is a lot more to it than you make it seem: table image, table's playing style, level in the tourney, stack sizes.

To say that a raising AA UTG only equals weak or pro is absurd.

Also depends on how you play after the flop as well how your opponents play. If you can't let it go when 2-5 people all limp after you all you've done is squandered your preflop advantage and are likely to get taken. All you have to do is look at the bad beat section to see that.
 
F Paulsson

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How about us people that raise AA/KK UTG because we don't like to open limp and like to take control of the betting? There is a lot more to it than you make it seem: table image, table's playing style, level in the tourney, stack sizes.

To say that a raising AA UTG only equals weak or pro is absurd.

Also depends on how you play after the flop as well how your opponents play. If you can't let it go when 2-5 people all limp after you all you've done is squandered your preflop advantage and are likely to get taken. All you have to do is look at the bad beat section to see that.

"I don't like to open limp" and "taking control of the betting" are not the strongest reasons to raise AA, and you yourself even list the things to take into consideration that I feel have more weight than those two things.

I believe what Joose is going for, and you're on the same track here so I don't quite see the disagreement, is that people either consider just their cards, or they consider more than their cards. Someone who doesn't even consider limping AA is still stuck on the first level. Someone who considers it for all the right reasons may still end up raising every time, but the second guy is a much stronger player than the first one.
 
jayneseo

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It just seems too black or white with no grey/gray area in between. Limp = bad or super good. But I do see what you're saying too.

Here's something to think about

What if you consider other peoples cards but you know they don't? Do you just consider your own cards then?
 
joosebuck

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jay, i wasnt saying those are the only two options. the point i was making is that there will always be people making actions and people making actions while thinking. open raising aa to narrow the field being a 'bad idea' is not what im trying to convey
 
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