Tourney Play help

M

Mooronic

Guest
Hello all. Enjoy the site and have learned a lot.

No limet hold’em rookie here. I’ve recently gotten into the game (primarily via Internet) this past month and after reading a bunch of literature, a few days of practice at the free money tables, I made the venture to low buy-in cash games.

I’ve progressed with the low cash games to the point where I consistently come out ahead (aside from the occasional bad beat) after each session. With the small amounts of money I’ve been winning, I invest by entering into quickie 100 player $5 buy in tournaments along with the occasion promotional free money 1500 player+ tournament.

Tournament play is where I’m not doing well.

I learned playing cash games that it pays in the long run to play tight & conservative. With the low blinds, it usually isn’t too costly to limp into each hand to see if I can hit a flop. Depending on what I hit and what my potential draws are, I’ll fold if I miss and patiently wait until I hit a flop resulting in what I know is the best hand - someone is always willing to donate a healthy portion of their bankroll to me as a result. Obviously, I shift around my play strategy to keep from being too predictable – also resulting in profit.

In tourney play, I find it difficult to even see the flop. Players tend to me more aggressive and will raise all-in at my every attempt to limp in – especially in the later rounds when the binds are raised. As my chip stack reduces to dangerous levels, I’m pressured to go all-in when I finally do get nice pre-flop cards – then it’s up to luck as to whether I’m able to draw them out. I’ve been lucky enough to get to the top 20 only once.

My question is how to stay alive in tourney play when big pre-flop raises are the norm? I don’t like big bets pre-flop as I find that luck is more than often not with me – even when I statistically have the best hand. From what I’ve read, aggressive aka maniacs who always raise need to be re-raised as they tend to raise with anything. That doesn’t help when his 6 9 draws a full house against my A Q.

So…help?
 
Effexor

Effexor

Cardschat Elite
Playing that way does work at micro limits, there you can see a lot of flops for cheap and people generally will pay you off when you hit a big hand.

This is NOT a good habit, and will not work anywhere else, specially against good players.

If you want to learn how to play in MTT's, start by reading the Harrington on Hold'em Vol. 1. You can also post hand histories on this site and believe me, there are some good players around these parts that can give you advice.
 
ChuckTs

ChuckTs

Legend
Reading the HoH series would be a good start; they are probably the best books written on tournament play out there.

Tournament play differs from cash games in that, obviously, the blinds raise. You need to be very aggressive (not necessarily loose) in order to counter that and keep up with the blinds and antes going up. Limping, as Effexor said, is not the way to go with tournament play. If you're given the perfect opportunity, say with 78h on the button and four limpers ahead of you, then sure try to limp but you have to realize that other players know they have to be aggressive. They will make steals with 77 or even worse (96 as you mentioned yourself) if they sense weakness. Then again, some people just like to gamble.

Search some tournament strategy threads on the site; im just rambling and not really getting anywhere. Basically what I'm trying to say is that people gamble a whole lot more in a tourney when all they have is $5 at risk, so you have to adjust your play accordingly. Play your premium hands very aggressively, and remember to switch gears before the blinds eat you up.
 
joosebuck

joosebuck

Legend
i doubt you have enough tournies played to know how you really stand. good %itm is 20-25%. that's good
 
JimboJim

JimboJim

Legend
20-25% is good? You just made me feel a lot better, I get about 20% in the big tourneys and about 40% in the smaller ones. Why am I always broke? I dont know....
 
M

Mooronic

Guest
What do you mean by "%itm is 20-25%"?

Like effexor said, I see that my cash games strategy only works against weaker opponents who tend to inhabit the low limit / low buy in cash games. Good for getting the cash I need to enter the tourneys, but that's where it stops.

I’ve started adjusting my play a bit on the tourney level with better results. I just have to trust the percentages a bit. I'm still a little unsure about my level of aggressiveness later in the tourneys and pretty much get eaten alive, probably because those players are still better than me (right now :) ). Made it to the top 200 in a 2000+ freeroll yesterday and went all-in (against my gut) on a suited A 10 to try and double up my dwindling chip stack. poof. Gone to Q Q fair and square.

This donks slowly getting there though. HoH series in on order.

Thanks for the advice.
 
Welly

Welly

Guest
20-25% is good? You just made me feel a lot better, I get about 20% in the big tourneys and about 40% in the smaller ones. Why am I always broke? I dont know....

Because you are probably too worried about ITM, when you should be worried about ROI.

There are thousands and thousands of people with a 20% ITM (for MTTs) and a negative ROI. If you are playing for fun, then that is fair enough, but it is much better to have a lower ITM if it means achieving a 70%+ ROI.

You know you're really getting there when you have a 25% ITM AND a ROI above 100%. But that will take several years and high volumes of very regular play. Anyone thinking they can get to be sustainable at that level simply by reading a book and playing a little is sadly mistaken. There is no substitute for large volumes of experience.

To summarize, your problem is almost certainly that you are too cautious late in a tourney. Never tighten up as the money approaches.

Good Luck, oh, and keep accurate records!
 
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