How to survive the early stages of a microlimit or freeroll tournament?

jadaminato

jadaminato

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I invite all those who want to participate to make a kind of "manual" to survive the early stages of a microlimit or freeroll tournament. The idea is that everyone contributes their knowledge and we also discuss the ideas.

1- The first idea that comes to mind is not to play all-in with flip coins. If you win you will double your stack, which at the beginning of the tournament does not mean much. If you lose, you are dead.

2-The second thing that seems important to me is: it may seem that the rest of your table stacks many chips playing all kinds of hands, but in the long run they lose them in the same way. Patience and patience, wait for the good cards that will arrive sooner or later.

Well, I think it's fine with those two ideas to start. I am willing to discuss them with those who disagree,(you can always learn something new)

Finally, I invite you again to contribute your knowledge and experiences
 
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25thinfantryman

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please provide info knowledge i keep getting whooped on bogus calls
 
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popstani

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I play freerolls like any other tournament, but in early stages I try to be really TAG, meaning, don’t play to many hands, and when I play, I bet them hard, people mostly don’t pay attention on other players and mostly get involved in pots that they don’t suppose to be. Yes, you can have some bad beats and suck out sometimes, but for me works really fine.
 
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gwj63

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I agree with your #1 and #2
Tight is Right
 
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berryryan2488

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Bogus calls in micro tourneys happen all the time. The stakes are so low that most people don't really care if they lose a small buy in. It almost takes the fun out of it. Just know that if you play your hands properly that over time you will eventually profit once you catch a better run of cards. Doubling up early is super useful to how I play micro tourneys or turbos, but not really required. The best strategy I try to employ is to play extremely tight in the beginning, raising 5x the blind with premium hands
until blinds hit 50-100.
and even fold so so hands in position since there's no real benefit from losing or gaining a small amount until blinds hit 50-100.Your table image will be tight and that really matters once the blinds increase. After that, I'll slightly loosen up and switch my bets to 3x and try to pick off the blinds and raise in position a lot more.. This is especially useful once the antes hit. Depending on your opponents fold equity (size of their stack, whether they play tight or loose etc) you can build your stack bit by bit that way. I will immediately fold to pushes when I don't have premium hands pre flop or if I don't connect post, but I will almost throw out a continuation bet if there's a call preflop. I try to avoid betting into players with stacks similar too or larger than mine pre flop unless I have a premium hand. That's when most of the major donk outs happen. Small donk outs are easier to manage without losing your chips. Another general rule of thumb is that if I'm not connecting, I lost a big hand or things just weren't working out, I'll go all in once the blinds hit about 20% of my stack.
 
Dzob

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1. I think that patience is the most important thing in the early stages of the tournament. Many hands should be folded that have no potential for a strong hand. Tight - agressive is OK.
 
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Guernica1974

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not entirely

I agree with your #1 and #2
Tight is Right


i agree to a certain extend - the first two table rounds of play dont go all in except monster hands and prefereable only in position so you dont get multiple players.

but be very loose on what beginning hands you play but only limp - if raised a lot just fold - often you will catch a passive aggressive players with two pair and he cant fold his high over pair in his pocket! (or something sinilar). typically i just call any bb with anything if bb is smaller than 100 times beginning stack. has to adjust if beginning stack is smaller.

you can choose not to play the first table round of play just to see who got allin lust and who will call etc - good to get a good read on allin type, will not fold type, will not fold if hit top pair type etc.

agree on patience is a virtue - once you put players on betting pattern and type, call more often types that will not fold if getting a pair or allin players (call preflop - check flop until someone bets when allin - thats the best cash cow to get doubled on, because you alteady have a hand when getting all in)!

in freeroll and micro tournaments just assume the player going all in on a mix flop got you beat unless you got something close to the nuts - and yeah a lot of times tve player will be bluffing but doesnt matter - that playing style will double you up later (if the player last that long!).

think generally the first two table rounds of play avoid preflop allin unless a player go allin every 2-4 hand. but again such a player will either build a huge stack or go out - so maybe better to catch him on a play later on? really depend on your own risk appetite. if you want to stay because big freeroll just wait there is always another opportunity later and those types always loose in middle or end tournament. those are your main prey in middlegame - they will double your stack and elevate you to ITM
 
stevecambog

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for me the best way to win is agressive tight pré flop all in
 
Igorek1313

Igorek1313

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just like they played before that !! nothing should change in the game !!! it’s not necessary to be first-hand everything will be the first with time !!!
 
infonazar

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1. You need to be patient.
2. You need to play with good cards.
3. You need to use the position correctly.
 
Andrew Popov

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1- The first idea that comes to mind is not to play all-in with flip coins. If you win you will double your stack, which at the beginning of the tournament does not mean much. If you lose, you are dead.

Perhaps this is not the worst strategy for a freeroll. Quickly double or triple with not the strongest, speculative hand - this is an opportunity not to spend time further in case of no luck. It only works in a regular freeroll where you don’t pay your buy-in. But certainly not the best idea for exclusive tournaments in which you would like to receive money at any cost.
 
jadaminato

jadaminato

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Perhaps this is not the worst strategy for a freeroll. Quickly double or triple with not the strongest, speculative hand - this is an opportunity not to spend time further in case of no luck. It only works in a regular freeroll where you don’t pay your buy-in. But certainly not the best idea for exclusive tournaments in which you would like to receive money at any cost.


I guess in a hyper or turbo freeroll this can be a good strategy, because you don't have time to wait for better cards. But in one with 10 minutes of blinds at least I think it is best not to play flip coins.
 
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pentazepam

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I guess in a hyper or turbo freeroll this can be a good strategy, because you don't have time to wait for better cards. But in one with 10 minutes of blinds at least I think it is best not to play flip coins.

I think he means what it is no point in spending to much time in a freeroll unless you get lucky and build a big stack early so you also have a chance to place in the top. Since often you spend a lot of time with very little return even if you play correctly.

Most peoples time is worth something.

To your original question: if your main goal is to just survive the earlier rounds of course very tight is right.

But normal strategy is that early in a poker tournament since the blinds is still low the stacks are deeper and you should play it like a cash game. That means take every spot that you think you are ahead. Every spot that is +EV (not that you can know for certain). Playing like a total nit can be way to build a bankroll - especially against maniacs that like to go all-in early to bust or build a big stack. But it is not the optimal way to win money in tournaments.
 
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CaptainXL

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Play tight, but note the maniacs. If he has gone all in six of the last six hands, call his all in with your A2.
 
Raphael Zabel

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In most of the tournaments I won or reached the final table, I didn't do a few all-in pre-flop when I was short with strong hands, but just waiting doesn't help much. It is good to play TAG at the beginning but also take advantage of opportunities with middle hands in position and extract value when you hit something good.
 
monkey23

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I invite all those who want to participate to make a kind of "manual" to survive the early stages of a microlimit or freeroll tournament. The idea is that everyone contributes their knowledge and we also discuss the ideas.

1- The first idea that comes to mind is not to play all-in with flip coins. If you win you will double your stack, which at the beginning of the tournament does not mean much. If you lose, you are dead.

2-The second thing that seems important to me is: it may seem that the rest of your table stacks many chips playing all kinds of hands, but in the long run they lose them in the same way. Patience and patience, wait for the good cards that will arrive sooner or later.

Well, I think it's fine with those two ideas to start. I am willing to discuss them with those who disagree,(you can always learn something new)

Finally, I invite you again to contribute your knowledge and experiences

I must respectfully disagree with you totally on your first point. The aim of early in a micro tourney is exactly that imo...to double or triple up asap. Then you have 300/350+ bbs, and can have some fun..and build your stack quicker. If you lose your flip...it's a minimal time investment...and you can move on.
I'm all in 95% of the time with AK or 88+ early doors.

with your second point, I agree completely. Once you have your stack, avoid going all in or playing excessively marginal hands unless absolutely necessary..ie you have the nuts...top 2 pair on the flop etc. Fold those raggy aces ...and don't call a 3 bet with a low pocket pair...unless you have your oppo well stack dominated.

If you never go all in, you will win the tourney...interesting logic. Hellmuth taught me that.
Pick your spots wisely...patience...tenacity...aggression. PTA
 
kurtcobain

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patient and waiting for a good card ...
 
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HunPokerRoll

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patient and waiting for a good card ...
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Eat your betting money but don’t bet your eating money.?

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MikeCarasone

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You will need to exercise extreme caution and patience. You will get shoved on when you know you likely have the best hand. But sometimes folding is just the right move as we all know the starting lead isn’t necessarily the finishing leader. Winning flips isn’t easy. Trap bad and loose players. I try and play a LAG style where I am semi tight but willing to gamble with my bigger hands or good draws. I try not to put myself at risk unless it’s necessary. I would rather wait for the ideal spot and pounce.
 
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psanto

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How I play

I think most of things is already said. I don't risk my early tournament by going all in with draws or if I think I'm in a coin flip. But it's true I tend to go with worse hands, like suited connecteurs, even if it's 45. If the bet is too high, however, I prefer to fold. Maybe the worst is when you pay a bet and the next player goes all in or 3-bet more than you could pay.
 
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sundizzel

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I think the starting stack size (in terms of big blinds) and the speed of the blind levels is the most important consideration, and these two factors can vary quite widely when discussing super micros and freerolls.

Let's start with freerolls, which generally start you off with a small stack (I typically see 30 BB or 50 BB starting stack in freerolls), have many players, have bad payout structures, and are typically fast-paced in terms of blind levels (less than 8 minute blind levels). In a tournament like this, you are not deep enough to play speculative hands, even by attempting to limp in to see a flop (maybe one exception would be in a very late position, in which case you should probably raise anyways if you want to play your hand). Furthermore, you simply can't afford to wait for an absolute monster because you might find yourself down to 20 BB, or even 10 BB or less, in which case your double up effectively puts you at your starting stack or worse in BB. Therefore, you probably want to play the top 25% or so of your range in any position, shoving with the top 10% if you'd like, although shoving isn't necessary. With a premium hand that runs out well, you should be able to get more value from other players without shoving. The final consideration is the fact that, unless you make it to the final table, you're literally playing for pennies trying to place in a freeroll. I started with $0 on ACR, so I understand that every penny does count to get you into those super-micros. But if you're not looking for an approximately $0.50 score and are shooting for some real money at the final table, there's no sense playing extraordinarily tight in a freeroll. I placed 1st in a freeroll once for over $10, which I imagine is more than the sum of all the other freerolls I got into the money but did not make the final table.

On the other hand, while some super micro tournaments might reflect some of the characteristics mentioned above, there are many that provide you with a more than adequate starting stack (usually around 200 BB) and have better payout structures than the freerolls such that getting into the money can return some decent value as opposed to pretty much needing to make the final table. In tournaments like these, a "tight is right" strategy may be appropriate, but I think most people misinterpret the "tight is right" phrase. When you're this deep-stacked, you should be playing all the speculative hands in your range unless an earlier player has already opened. Furthermore, you can also get a lot more value out of bluffs and semi-bluffs in this position by betting "big" (in quotes because it looks like a lot in terms of BB if you raise a 3 BB open to 15 or 30 BB, although the actual chip value is not that significant at this stack depth) because inexperienced players are intimidated by the look of that type of bet (I used to be, as well, and changing this simple aspect of my game has tremendously improved my early game, deep-stacked performance).

All in all, freerolls are honestly a joke most of the time because of the structure combined with the quality of play. Since all the money is up top, it makes sense to play quite aggressively early with premium hands, but you should avoid speculative hands unless you've got a nice stack. For the super-micros, play aggressively early as well, including speculative hands, with your most important considerations being your position, previous action from other players, and your bet sizes.
 
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suitedsadness

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You should just be patient, and wait for good cards. As the majority of the field does not do this, you will consistently outperform them with just this simple trick, no matter how badly you play in other aspects of your game. It is not difficult to get an edge on players that don't care about losing.
 
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kanycta99

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Early stage is only 10%? We play only premium hands - we pass 80% to the middle stage of the tournament. Along the way, we make notes on the players.
 
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CSLysander

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Playing tight can mean even having so so luck will allow you to make it to the money. People keep saying you need to go all in, but most of those people are not making it that far. Yes, you can double up or quit wasting your time, but every tournament should be practicing your way of playing. If you are playing micro or free, then you most likely still need the hands to practice what will work for you. Study is great, but practice is much better.

Quit thinking about the specific winnings. Think about what sort of practice will allow you to make it in bigger tournaments. Figure out where your leaks are. Believe me, going all in is a leak too often that will cost you to get in the habit. A practice means you need hand upon hand. You need to have confidence in your ability and that means you need to see your strategy working. So the money is not going to make you rich. Who cares? The point is that this will get you understanding what you have been studying.
 
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