The "long-term game" in tournaments, or the curse of variance

jadaminato

jadaminato

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Today something very typical happened to me in the cardschat tournament. A very loose player limp before me. He has 4 blinds left so I with JJ put a raise the size of his stack. The button pays and limper does too. The range of the button for that play is broadways, As-x or a pair lower than mine. With QQ + almost certainly he would have re raise. The limper pays.


The flop comes 3-4-8 without flush project. The button bets half the pot, which is half of my stack. If he had a third i think he would checked so I'm almost sure I'm ahead. I go all-in and he pays. Shows AQo. River is an A and he wins.

When he paid me the all-in odds were 75% in my favor. Perfect, my play was profitable in the long term. But this left me out of the tournament. So I would like someone to tell me if "the long term" also applies to tournaments.

Even with a couple of aces we will win 4 out of 5 times. But in a tournament, especially in microlimits or freerolls, we will face many more than 5 all-in. And we will not always have AA. So the variance is against each player. But someone has to win.

So, to win a tournament, do we really have to be lucky? That capital that has any pair of cards against another, however small, do we have to expect it not to pay (or unless, when it does, it doesn't cost us all the chips)?

I would really like someone to enlighten me on this matter, because I am about to give up the tournaments and stay alone in cash, where the variance can cost us the box but the long term is more noticeable.

Sorry if I have spelling errors, I'm using a translator.
 
Edu1

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depending on the position in the tournament you were in, you could give All In pre flop even with this JJ, it would be less frustrating I think, I lost today against a flush in the flop, it is hard to play this freeroll, but stay hard and keep playing and try to learning from mistakes, and trying to minimize bad luck during tournaments
 
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LuisBoaC

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Look into the Independent Chip Model (ICM). Basically put it's a way of putting a monetary value on tournament chips. The $value of a chip changes through a tournament because some people have to leave with nothing. In a tournament, a play that has a +ve chip expected value does not necessarily have a +ve $expected value.
Research chipEV vs $EV and ICM for more info than my basic attempt to explain!
 
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Veritas

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flush Project sounds awesome :D :D
Today something very typical happened to me in the cardschat tournament. A very loose player limp before me. He has 4 blinds left so I with JJ put a raise the size of his stack. The button pays and limper does too. The range of the button for that play is broadways, As-x or a pair lower than mine. With QQ + almost certainly he would have re raise. The limper pays.


The flop comes 3-4-8 without flush project. The button bets half the pot, which is half of my stack. If he had a third i think he would checked so I'm almost sure I'm ahead. I go all-in and he pays. Shows AQo. River is an A and he wins.

When he paid me the all-in odds were 75% in my favor. Perfect, my play was profitable in the long term. But this left me out of the tournament. So I would like someone to tell me if "the long term" also applies to tournaments.

Even with a couple of aces we will win 4 out of 5 times. But in a tournament, especially in microlimits or freerolls, we will face many more than 5 all-in. And we will not always have AA. So the variance is against each player. But someone has to win.

So, to win a tournament, do we really have to be lucky? That capital that has any pair of cards against another, however small, do we have to expect it not to pay (or unless, when it does, it doesn't cost us all the chips)?

I would really like someone to enlighten me on this matter, because I am about to give up the tournaments and stay alone in cash, where the variance can cost us the box but the long term is more noticeable.

Sorry if I have spelling errors, I'm using a translator.


first of all, yes, you have to get lucky to get a Deep run in a big Tournament (1.000+ entries). with luck I mean Winning with the worse Hand, Winning more than 50% of your coinflips, hitting your flush Project,.....
you Need those Moments to win it all, you can't win a Tournament with just a skill advantage

you are also Right About the Long term for MTTs and cash game. In cash game every +EV decision matters, while in MTTs the Hand were we bust or lose most of our stack really matters the most.
but still, over a huge sample, the bb/100 will be almost the same as the EV bb/100.
Sure, you can bust 10 tournaments in a row with AA and it sucks, but the chances are equal that you double up vs AA 10 times in a row.


I think MTTs are more fun and more challenging. cash games are kinda monotone. If you run really good, you could win 1k-10k in a Tournament within a day while it will take months to get there with cash games.
if you are a decent Player, the Winnings in cash games might be slow and Steady while in MTTs there can be HUGE jumps in your Winnings graph which you won't be able to reach in cash games.


just try out both and see which fits best for you ;)

depending on the position in the tournament you were in, you could give All In pre flop even with this JJ, it would be less frustrating I think

button would have called aswell and it would be ~50:50 instead of 75:25
so the cautious way was the better one.
but you are Right, shoving JJ with a small stack of <15bb is totally fine

Look into the Independent Chip Model (ICM). Basically put it's a way of putting a monetary value on tournament chips. The $value of a chip changes through a tournament because some people have to leave with nothing. In a tournament, a play that has a +ve chip expected value does not necessarily have a +ve $expected value.
Research chipEV vs $EV and ICM for more info than my basic attempt to explain!
If we are not in the Money or even far away from it, we can ignore ICM or $EV.
generally I would only look at those if I'm at the final table or at least the last 2 tables.
 
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LuisBoaC

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I agree we can ignore ICM early on. I do feel, however, an understanding of ICM can go some way to answer OP's question of how the "long term" applies to tournaments.
 
jadaminato

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depending on the position in the tournament you were in, you could give All In pre flop even with this JJ, it would be less frustrating I think, I lost today against a flush in the flop, it is hard to play this freeroll, but stay hard and keep playing and try to learning from mistakes, and trying to minimize bad luck during tournaments


When there are many flip coins lovers behind me I prefer not to go all-in with jacks. My reasoning is as follows: if an A, K or Q appears on the flop, I can always fold. If it does not appear, then more likely they fold. Although in my example it was not the case, my opponent's play was just a donk move.


flush Project sounds awesome :D :D



first of all, yes, you have to get lucky to get a Deep run in a big Tournament (1.000+ entries). with luck I mean Winning with the worse Hand, Winning more than 50% of your coinflips, hitting your flush Project,.....
you Need those Moments to win it all, you can't win a Tournament with just a skill advantage

you are also Right About the Long term for MTTs and cash game. In cash game every +EV decision matters, while in MTTs the Hand were we bust or lose most of our stack really matters the most.
but still, over a huge sample, the bb/100 will be almost the same as the EV bb/100.
Sure, you can bust 10 tournaments in a row with AA and it sucks, but the chances are equal that you double up vs AA 10 times in a row.


I think MTTs are more fun and more challenging. cash games are kinda monotone. If you run really good, you could win 1k-10k in a Tournament within a day while it will take months to get there with cash games.
if you are a decent Player, the Winnings in cash games might be slow and Steady while in MTTs there can be HUGE jumps in your Winnings graph which you won't be able to reach in cash games.


just try out both and see which fits best for you ;)



button would have called aswell and it would be ~50:50 instead of 75:25
so the cautious way was the better one.
but you are Right, shoving JJ with a small stack of <15bb is totally fine


If we are not in the Money or even far away from it, we can ignore ICM or $EV.
generally I would only look at those if I'm at the final table or at least the last 2 tables.


Thank you for your response, it was enlightening. I like tournaments and I will continue to play them, but as fun and to improve my game. But to make money, I definitely do better in cash. At least until I get a great prize;)
 
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sweeper21

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I tend to be super conservative and very tight during the first few hours of a long tourney. Towards the end, I'll play very loose!
 
Q

Qrise

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in MTT you need to learn endurance and patience. Play MTT knockout there will almost always pay off entry to the tournament, so with a serious approach to MTT you will have free participation in this tournament. If this is too long a distance for you, then play sit n go for 180 or 360 people, they also have a knockout.
 
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1nsomn1a

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When you go all in, you should be prepared to be eliminated from the tournament if your opponent's stack is larger, regardless of the strength of your hand. There are no absolutely winning hands and you should be ready for bad beats. If you don't want to become a victim of variance, go all in only in a situation where you are not in danger of being eliminated from the tournament.:)
 
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fundiver199

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To be honest this should probably have been posted in the bad beats and vents section, because that is really, what it is. Someone has AQ, and someone has JJ with 18BB effective stacks. Usually that means, the chips are going in preflop, and then someone win a flip. Here they went in on the flop instead, and with a SPR of just 1, its quite reasonable to go with AQo. Often AQo is going to be the best hand on 843, and when its not, it usually has 25% equity.
 
theANMATOR

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Some players can NEVER fold a big Ace - regardless of odds

When he paid me the all-in odds were 75% in my favor. Perfect, my play was profitable in the long term. But this left me out of the tournament. So I would like someone to tell me if "the long term" also applies to tournaments.

I would really like someone to enlighten me on this matter, because I am about to give up the tournaments and stay alone in cash, where the variance can cost us the box but the long term is more noticeable.

Great points all above. I'll only add for very gambly players - some of them can NEVER fold a big Ace. A/K A/Q A/J even A/T suited - regardless of the board - no draw, no pair no nothing. They still can't fold em, and gamble there entire tourney life on hitting that 3 outer.

Try not to be results oriented. My pocket KKs have not held up going on 4 days. All-in pre, playing them post, - it doesn't matter - either they get ran out on, opponent hits a set, or the rag Ace hits. Although they aren't holding up recently - I'm still not going to change my strategy of playing them aggressively - when the damn Ace doesn't hit the board. :)

in MTT you need to learn endurance and patience. Play MTT knockout there will almost always pay off entry to the tournament, so with a serious approach to MTT you will have free participation in this tournament. If this is too long a distance for you, then play sit n go for 180 or 360 people, they also have a knockout.
I'm missing what your suggestion has to do with OPs issue on long term vs short term variance, unless you are suggesting a different event type? He is talking about variance, and KO events are notoriously higher variance due to the bounty opportunities of busting out opponents.
To reduce variance as much as possible - I would not suggest bounty/KO events unless they were freezout events. GL finding any of those around.
But playing freezeout events could reduce the likelihood of meeting those players who just can't fold dem big aces. :)
 
Shantaram

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jadaminato;5334031When he paid me the all-in odds were 75% in my favor. Perfect said:
firstly, 75% pfffffffffff. That ain't near a lock.
YES. To win a tournament you have to be exceptionally lucky. This doesn't mean you are the dog in your hands and give other players bad beats. Just to have your hands hold up is lucky. As you noted, you have AA, that's 80% against another pair. 8 out of 10 times you win. How many hands you dealt in a tournament. You're supposed to lose a few of these just on maths and when it happens at a critical moment in the tournament you can't help but feel what's the point.
Poker isn't fair and sometimes it seems bad players get rewarded - and they do. And because you'd probably sense your 9s weren't good preflop when faced with 3bet or whatever, you'll never get lucky the way those people who throw caution to the wind will.
 
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fundiver199

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To win a tournament you have to be exceptionally lucky. This doesn't mean you are the dog in your hands and give other players bad beats.

Actually it does. To have the best chance of winning a tournament, you can not just sit around and wait for the nuts, because you dont get the nuts very often, and ofter players get the nuts just as often as you. So having the nuts is not really a strategy for winning poker tournaments, which is something a lot of nitty players get wrong.

To have the best chance of winning a poker tournament you need to get aggressive and try to steal the blinds. And this mean, that when you get caught, you will often have the worst hand. Maybe someone min-raised from CO, you jammed for 18BB from SB with A4s, and he snap called with AK having you covered. You have 69% risk of busting from the tournament now. But you also have 31% chance to end up with a 38BB stack. And when that happen is when, you have a chance of winning the tournament.
 
theANMATOR

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Actually it does. To have the best chance of winning a tournament, you can not just sit around and wait for the nuts, because you dont get the nuts very often, and ofter players get the nuts just as often as you. So having the nuts is not really a strategy for winning poker tournaments, which is something a lot of nitty players get wrong.

To have the best chance of winning a poker tournament you need to get aggressive and try to steal the blinds. And this mean, that when you get caught, you will often have the worst hand. Maybe someone min-raised from CO, you jammed for 18BB from SB with A4s, and he snap called with AK having you covered. You have 69% risk of busting from the tournament now. But you also have 31% chance to end up with a 38BB stack. And when that happen is when, you have a chance of winning the tournament.

Totally agree with fundiver.

As an example; I was in a 1500gtd last night, about 50 away from the money bubble. I have a top 15 chip stack. The table I'm on has 2 players who are above me in chips and several who are healthy with 25+ bb, so I'm playing POSITION and exploitatively, to chip up slowly.
I've been tight in the blinds, and late position and I have not shown down with anything less than 2 pair in several orbits.
BB has me covered by just over 5 bbs and the sb has roughly 5 less bigs than I do.
Folds around to me and I min-raise on the btn A/K off. SB jams for his entire stack, big blind folds and I make the easy call. He turns over A/9 suited and the board runs out favorable for me. I nearly double up.
One entire orbit later the new small blind player is short stacked roughly 8bbs, and the opponent in the big blind has been very active playing a wide range. He has opened K/T o and J/T o from early position and lucked into small wins. I have also noticed he is sticky with ANY one pair when defending his blinds. I have also witnessed him 3bet bet ANY Ace and ANY two suited broadway cards in the blinds several times.

I open with A/T suited from the CO, he is in the small blind, and 3bets 4x my min-open. I'm positive I have a solid read on this opponent, and I'm willing to gamble with him at this point. Everyone else folds and the flop comes T high with a backdoor flush for my hand.
SB checks I bet a little under half pot and sb re-raises me a pot sized bet. I believe he is either bluffing here with two over cards or possibly has an over pair to the ten, but I decide right here, this hand can push me towards a final table so I jam for my entire stack roughly 30 bigs, and the opponent calls with A/K no pair. Board runs out and I win, crippling that player down to under 10bb.

Turns out - shortly after making it into the money my AA get cracked by TTs, and the very next hand I jammed with TTs and lose to QQs,,, I'm out.

I min cash - but before I left I noticed one player (not the same one I beat with A/T) who I had battled with at the early stage of the tourney - a very aggressive player who plays top pair as if it is the nuts every hand, I had gained several large pots from playing against this player. This player was leading the field, although I had pretty much dominated him early on.

We gotta get lucky, we gotta win flips when we are ahead and also when we are behind, and we gotta play solid in position and find exploitative spots to win small pots, even when you don't really have a hand. Run good brothers. :)
 
theANMATOR

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Actually it does. To have the best chance of winning a tournament, you can not just sit around and wait for the nuts, because you dont get the nuts very often, and ofter players get the nuts just as often as you. So having the nuts is not really a strategy for winning poker tournaments, which is something a lot of nitty players get wrong.

To have the best chance of winning a poker tournament you need to get aggressive and try to steal the blinds. And this mean, that when you get caught, you will often have the worst hand. Maybe someone min-raised from CO, you jammed for 18BB from SB with A4s, and he snap called with AK having you covered. You have 69% risk of busting from the tournament now. But you also have 31% chance to end up with a 38BB stack. And when that happen is when, you have a chance of winning the tournament.

Totally agree with fundiver.

As an example; I was in a 1500gtd last night, about 50 away from the money bubble. I have a top 15 chip stack. The table I'm on has 2 players who are above me in chips and several who are healthy with 25+ bb, so I'm playing POSITION and exploitatively, to chip up slowly.
I've been tight in the blinds, and late position and I have not shown down with anything less than 2 pair in several orbits.
BB has me covered by just over 5 bbs and the sb has roughly 5 less bigs than I do.
Folds around to me and I min-raise on the btn A/K off. SB jams for his entire stack, big blind folds and I make the easy call. He turns over A/9 suited and the board runs out favorable for me. I nearly double up.
One entire orbit later the new small blind player is short stacked roughly 8bbs, and the opponent in the big blind has been very active playing a wide range. He has opened K/T o and J/T o from early position and lucked into small wins. I have also noticed he is sticky with ANY one pair when defending his blinds. I have also witnessed him 3bet bet ANY Ace and ANY two suited broadway cards in the blinds several times.

I open with A/T suited from the CO, he is in the small blind, and 3bets 4x my min-open. I'm positive I have a solid read on this opponent, and I'm willing to gamble with him at this point. Everyone else folds and the flop comes T high with a backdoor flush for my hand.
SB checks I bet a little under half pot and sb re-raises me a pot sized bet. I believe he is either bluffing here with two over cards or possibly has an over pair to the ten, but I decide right here, this hand can push me towards a final table so I jam for my entire stack roughly 30 bigs, and the opponent calls with A/K no pair. Board runs out and I win, crippling that player down to under 10bb.

Turns out - shortly after making it into the money my AA get cracked by TTs, and the very next hand I jammed with TTs and lose to QQs,,, I'm out.

I min cash - but before I left I noticed one player (not the same one I beat with A/T) who I had battled with at the early stage of the tourney - a very aggressive player who plays top pair as if it is the nuts every hand, I had gained several large pots from playing against this player. This player was leading the field, although I had pretty much dominated him early on.

We gotta get lucky, we gotta win flips when we are ahead and also when we are behind, and we gotta play solid in position and find exploitative spots to win small pots, even when you don't really have a hand. Run good brothers. :)
 
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