To Flip or Not To Flip in a Tournament

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Nileator

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The opportunity arose for me the other day to take a coin flip early in a freeroll tournament. The question dawned on me that there is clearly a tipping point where this no longer becomes the optimal decision but I'm unsure of where this line stands.

As for my thoughts thusfar:

1) In a high buy-in tournament on initial consideration, it seems this idea is far less favorable.
2) As for freerolls, the benefit of doubling up in the first few levels all but guarantees your ticket at least as far as the bubble (somewhat depending on the schedule). But it also allows you to control the table with the chip lead and make maintaining your stack easier.
3) Thus at some point, there must be a time in the tournament after the starting levels and the bubble where the risks of a double up coin flip does not outweigh the benefits of doubling up. ie. going for a flip with one player left to bust the bubble and not being under pressure to steal blinds to survive.
4) Account has to be taken that the opponent ranges will also vary depending on the time of the tournament as well. And thus swings the odds quickly if you can eliminate or leave weak hands in their range.

For a scenario perhaps consider the hero contains 10s/Js on the BB and the villain in the Deal position limped. Hero responds with 2.5 BB raise and villain has shoved to respond ideally with a range only hands containing Js or better. The most likely outcome is a pocket pair vs. 2 overs and we have our coinflip scenario.

How should I go about playing this?
 
FoxMS

FoxMS

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frnandoh

frnandoh

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About the hypothetic hand: First of all, you have to guess the opponents range. Second: you have to discover what is the probability to your hand win the villains range. Third: basic account of pot odds.
When you are available to make rebuys for double ups, you make your tournament to be more expensive, so depending on tournament, you have to have a lot of edge over the field, for this strategy maybe being profitable.

The main objective is to be profitable, not to hit the first place by any cost.
 
eberetta1

eberetta1

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I have moneyed more times being patient than being aggressive and pushing the issue.

The other thought is many times I will risk a double up or early elimination in the first half hour of the tournament, so I do not have to wast just over two hours of my time only to miss being in the money by a few hands or minutes.
 
Amanda A

Amanda A

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It also depends on your stack size. If you are 100BB deep I would not be calling it off with J10s, but if you have only 5 bigs and you are against a wide button range of say 50% then it might be a good spot to double up.
 
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fundiver199

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In the early phase on an MTT, ICM can almost be neglected, and you should basically play, as you would in a cash game. This mean not overly risk adverse, but since stacks are usually deep, you still need a stronger hand to get it in, than you do later in the tournament. This is just simply because of the fact, that 20BB stack off ranges are so much wider than 100BB stack off ranges.
 
Alizona

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The only problem with getting all-in on the first level in a freeroll is that they don't offer re-entry... in a normal online tournament? Depending on the buy-in level, I'm more willing to get all-in because I can just re-enter if I lose. But if I'm right at the top of my buy-in level (meaning I have a larger percentage of my bankroll at stake than usual), I won't be as willing to get all-in early on.

So as always in poker, the answer is... "it depends". The problem with being willing to flip a coin is that sometimes you're not flipping at all, instead you are crushed... but in my opinion you definitely have to be willing to flip because you can't just sit and wait for KK or AA all day long. Whether that means you should just be over-shoving early or calling an early shove, well that's up to each player and everyone will have a different take on it. There's really no right or wrong, its mainly about you willingness to gamble or not, and how willing you are to take some chances to accumulate a large stack early-on.

I have moneyed more times being patient than being aggressive and pushing the issue.

Same for me, but I am generally a very patient player than my words above might indicate. I consider my patience to be my biggest "skill", even tho it really isn't a skill at all. :)
 
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