Stack preservation vs. Stack growth

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Nutcracker69

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Can someone please explain this to me?

My assumption is this is the biggest problems I'm having with tournaments lately. I'm not ashamed to admit that there are at least some, especially late regs where I'm pretty much never in the running. But that is the exception, rather than the rule. At least half the time, I am chip leader coming to crunch time, and plenty of times have had 2:1 or 3:1 leads over 2nd place. Obviously I have won some. But no big ones this year. It is definitely possible for me to Mark Newhouse it and either have good lead or 2nd with good cushion and find myself out in 9th. To that point, couldn't hold the lead tonight and finished 4th.

So please help me correct this horrendous weakness that I'm demonstrating. I don't know if it is because I stopped focusing on tourneys online years ago except for big buyin events that tended to have small fields. So having the mindset of a cash game player, when a short stack shoves, I do the math to figure out my expected odds and how often I have to be right to make it the correct play. Sometimes this works out for me, but not usually. More often than not, I've taken the first of many small bumps to my stack/lead and turned a short stack into a doubled up contender.

To be clear, I'm not a COMPLETE IDIOT when it comes to tourney strategy and I did have plenty of early success (that's how I initially built my bankrolls). So I can reassess what appears to be a good spot mathematically but check the leaderboard and realize that ICM dictates I pass this time. Other times, it dictates a call and then we have a poker hand with standard 3 potential outcomes of win, loss or split. lol

So when I've won, I guess you can say I "got lucky" because I found myself in those spots where the math dictated a call and I took it down. This can rarely and occassionally be 3 way if they're both super short compared to what I've already got invested. But usually it's just a head's up spot where it can be anywhere from 2:1 to 10:1 on a call depending on their stack and anything I've already splashed around. When I've lost, I lose these situations and dwindle my stack away eventually.

So explain to me the theory/strategy of stack preservation and maybe I'll understand why I should be folding more often and not thinking I'm the sheriff at the table regardless of my position. ALSO, if I DON'T call in these spots, when do I? Seems like some of you suggest looking for spots to pick up smaller pots and build slowly. Then, obviously, I can be in a position to make the standard call with premium top 10 hands. I just find myself kind of "trying" to do that by making small opens and then getting shoved by the SS's.

So, other than being fixated on always winning first and trying like an idiot to hold 1st place wire to wire, what am I doing wrong? How can this improve?

MUCH APPRECIATED!
 
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WiZZiM

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learn and look into ICM more, it's a really strong area of mine but essentially it focuses on both stack preservation and stack growth, but overall it focuses on what decision is best for making you $$ not chips. So the ranges will be tweaked into shoving looser and calling much, much tighter. So the same theory can be used for postflop play in terms of the range you will get your stack in with.

You are obviously clued in enough to understand everything i've said here and you likely know it already.

Also variance will always be a factor in MTT, there might not be an issue at all, but sometimes tournaments are just not yours to win.

So final table play is very, very much like a 9 man SNG, it's all about how to stacks relate to each other, but basically avoid stacks that can damage your stack, aggressively target other stacks which can be done in risky bigger pots or by just being overly aggressive preflop in smaller pots. But the key is to find a balance between moving up the pay ladder and pushing for that first place or top 3 spot, sometimes you might know a move is +EV in terms of chips gained, but logic will dictate you to fold anyways in favour of preserving your stack and letting others do the risk for you and moving up a spot on the pay ladder.

hope my babble helps and hope it leads to a good discussion.
 
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Nutcracker69

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learn and look into ICM more, it's a really strong area of mine but essentially it focuses on both stack preservation and stack growth, but overall it focuses on what decision is best for making you $$ not chips. So the ranges will be tweaked into shoving looser and calling much, much tighter. So the same theory can be used for postflop play in terms of the range you will get your stack in with.

You are obviously clued in enough to understand everything i've said here and you likely know it already.

Also variance will always be a factor in MTT, there might not be an issue at all, but sometimes tournaments are just not yours to win.

So final table play is very, very much like a 9 man SNG, it's all about how to stacks relate to each other, but basically avoid stacks that can damage your stack, aggressively target other stacks which can be done in risky bigger pots or by just being overly aggressive preflop in smaller pots. But the key is to find a balance between moving up the pay ladder and pushing for that first place or top 3 spot, sometimes you might know a move is +EV in terms of chips gained, but logic will dictate you to fold anyways in favour of preserving your stack and letting others do the risk for you and moving up a spot on the pay ladder.

hope my babble helps and hope it leads to a good discussion.

So just study ICM? I'm sure it couldn't help, and probably much on it has changed since I last looked at it 5-10 years ago. I don't recall much in there about stack preservation at the time. Or I was too egotistical about my abilities that I breezed over it.
 
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WiZZiM

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Stack preservation and stack growth is what ICM is all about, but it is looking at assigning a value in terms of $ to your stack of chips, as not all chips are worth their actual amount. So what that means is that depending on how top heavy the payout structure is will dictate in a way how aggressively you can play your stack. If it's a shallow payout structure, the ICM tax is much less, so it favours being more aggressive with your stack. If the payouts are very top heavy, it will favour getting into those top 3-4 spots before you are able to open up and be much more aggressive with your stack.


Anyways, perhaps you could look over major hands that you have played and get feedback, i like posting ones that i'm confident i made the correct play and also ones i'm unsure about, providing as much info as possible with payout structures/reads etc. That way we can get into specifics of how ICM can affect decsisions.

After i said all that it seems like you may be just making a lot of big moves and higher variance plays, which is fine, but it comes with the obvious disadvantage of allowing yourself to be dictated to by variance, when there may be a more small ball way to play certain spots which don't risk huge portions of your stack.
 
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Nutcracker69

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Stack preservation and stack growth is what ICM is all about, but it is looking at assigning a value in terms of $ to your stack of chips, as not all chips are worth their actual amount. So what that means is that depending on how top heavy the payout structure is will dictate in a way how aggressively you can play your stack. If it's a shallow payout structure, the ICM tax is much less, so it favours being more aggressive with your stack. If the payouts are very top heavy, it will favour getting into those top 3-4 spots before you are able to open up and be much more aggressive with your stack.


Anyways, perhaps you could look over major hands that you have played and get feedback, i like posting ones that i'm confident i made the correct play and also ones i'm unsure about, providing as much info as possible with payout structures/reads etc. That way we can get into specifics of how ICM can affect decsisions.

After i said all that it seems like you may be just making a lot of big moves and higher variance plays, which is fine, but it comes with the obvious disadvantage of allowing yourself to be dictated to by variance, when there may be a more small ball way to play certain spots which don't risk huge portions of your stack.

I have said before and admitted that I was guilty of a high variance strategy and that it is obviously victim to more swings of variance. But it served me well for so long I just got used to it.

Also, until this month, I was showing all my money into poker trying to win enough to avoid being homeless, which would have required amassing enough for at least one year's expenses. One night, I got at least 40% of the way there.

But now I don't do that anymore. Unless I have a specific reason to, I'm not opening big and playing big pots. I'm betting more like 2.2xBB and even limping occassionally to maintain pot control.
 
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WiZZiM

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ok well i'd just chalk it up to variance bud, but i'd be posting hands regardless, never know where you might be leaking.. if anywhere.. plenty of good MTT grinders on this site, 'trent23la' would be the main guy online i'd get into contact with him, i think they also have a skype group operating still if you wanted to join that, that would probably be the best way to go about things.
 
Pokergambler11

Pokergambler11

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I tend to do protect my stack and only take spots where I'm 100% going to win. When the bubble bursts I turn the aggression up, and I get more and more aggressive the later I go.
 
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Nutcracker69

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I tend to do protect my stack and only take spots where I'm 100% going to win. When the bubble bursts I turn the aggression up, and I get more and more aggressive the later I go.

100% "in your mind" or actually 100%?

Cuz 100% "typically" only "actually" occurs on the river. So are you saying you play super passively and then knowing you've won try to extract value? If so, show some hand histories or stream somewhere like twitch cuz I GOTTA see that!
 
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WiZZiM

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I tend to do protect my stack and only take spots where I'm 100% going to win. When the bubble bursts I turn the aggression up, and I get more and more aggressive the later I go.

you're missing spots then.
 
Pokergambler11

Pokergambler11

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100% "in your mind" or actually 100%?

Cuz 100% "typically" only "actually" occurs on the river. So are you saying you play super passively and then knowing you've won try to extract value? If so, show some hand histories or stream somewhere like twitch cuz I GOTTA see that!

well maybe not 100%, I mean in situations where I think I am a big favourite. But when I play during the start when you check the stats my pots won percentage is 80%+, obviously not EVERY tournament though... :D
 
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WiZZiM

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well maybe not 100%, I mean in situations where I think I am a big favourite. But when I play during the start when you check the stats my pots won percentage is 80%+, obviously not EVERY tournament though... :D

Yeah no one wins at that frequency, and if they do, they are super nits. Basically the point is if you are sitting at 80% won pot at showdown your get to showdown numbers will be super low, so you are not bluffing at high enough frequencies and your not value betting thin enough, so your losing a ton of small pot value basically.
 
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Nutcracker69

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Yeah no one wins at that frequency, and if they do, they are super nits. Basically the point is if you are sitting at 80% won pot at showdown your get to showdown numbers will be super low, so you are not bluffing at high enough frequencies and your not value betting thin enough, so your losing a ton of small pot value basically.

Checking my stats here...

Says I win 100% of the pots where no one calls.

And, interestingly enough, I lose 100% of the pots I do not call.

Seems like a wide range, something must be done!

;)
 
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WiZZiM

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Checking my stats here...

Says I win 100% of the pots where no one calls.

And, interestingly enough, I lose 100% of the pots I do not call.

Seems like a wide range, something must be done!

;)

I don't understand this word you keep saying... "win" i've never had one of those before so i'm not exactly sure what you are talking about.... :)
 
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Nutcracker69

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I don't understand this word you keep saying... "win" i've never had one of those before so i'm not exactly sure what you are talking about.... :)

Yeah, my stats are skewed cuz I said 100%. But the trolls and nits on here are right. I've only won one poker hand since 2001. It's been a bit of a downswing, I suppose, but my luck is bound to change this century, right?
 
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Good news: I bet a 4.35 million in 2000 that the Cubs would win the World Series at some point in the next century. I won't bother giving the odds I was laid because of the bad news.

Bad news: Person who took the bet is dead already. Otherwise, I'd be a lot more excited about picking up Chapman.
 
mbrenneman0

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I thought icm was more relevant in the later stages of the tournament from bubble and later. I think stack preservation is much more important earlier in the tournament.

I think of it as, lets say you have a chance to double up once every 30 hands (idk if that's accurate, but just for example sake), you can double up to 6,000 if your chipstack is initially 3,000 but if you make risky plays and get down to 2,000 chips then you can only double up to 4,000 chips.. Of course you want to be building your stack every chance you can but you want to be much more cautious. Checking when you have 60% equity where you might be betting that 60% in a ring game.
 
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WiZZiM

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depends if you overestimate survival, it's all about balance. i don't really know your game, but if you are winning 80% of pots it basically means you either have played 5 tourneys or you are a nit..
 
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Sobrosa

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six months ago I did the same thing as you, after reading and study hard no longer have the same fear and thought.
 
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donkcentralFF

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You must be a real degenerate if you went from 4.3 million bets to $10 freerolls on ACR...
 
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Nutcracker69

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You must be a real degenerate if you went from 4.3 million bets to $10 freerolls on ACR...

There was this little thing called Black Friday that maybe you didn't hear about.

Or maybe you're one of the sheep that think everyone was paid back.
 
mbrenneman0

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There was this little thing called Black Friday that maybe you didn't hear about.

Or maybe you're one of the sheep that think everyone was paid back.

didnt stars buy all of fulltilt's debts?
 
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Nutcracker69

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didnt stars buy all of fulltilt's debts?

Only the ones that they intended to pay back. Also, FT wasn't the only place affected by this, and, in fact, that day was not the only day that losses were incurred.
 
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