Building a big bankroll on RP

It is definitely difficult to get started from scratch and to build a big bankroll in tournament play. I was a bit lucky over the last couple of years having gone down to my last 5 million chips then winning a tournament, going to over 100 million chips within 6 or 7 weeks and eventually getting up to 250 million on a much more gentle gradient.

Recently I have been in atrocious form, and to cap it off entered a 1-million chip tourney tonight and was the first person eliminated, and then a 2.5 million chipper, with the exact same result.

Having nothing to do, I decided to play a few hands in a ring game and entered a 20,000-40,000 table with a 4 million chip buy-in. Within 40 minutes I was able to exit from that with a profit of 9 million chips, thus recovering some of my recent losses.

The play in the ring game was so poor that I think any halfway respectable tournament player would be able to win a lot of chips quickly.

There was one player who busted out 4 times, each for a minimum of 4 millions chips, but I saw him buy in for 6 million on one occasion and lose them all on the first hand.

Basically his tactic was to shove most hands preflop and shove most flops if it was checked to him. In the end it proved effective for him and he won a few hands in a row and went up to over 20 million chips, and then vanished as the number of players dwindled.

Other players were very passive and I was left playing heads up with a player who was remarkably easy to read as he folded to every bet if he had nothing, called if he had second or third pair, and raised if he had top pair or better,.

I would highly recommend ring games on RP if you want to build a bankroll. The difference from tournaments is that you can leave the table any time and bank your chips, so the best strategy would be to start with 4 million chips and bank 4 million chips any time you have doubled your original stack. You probably also want to rebuy any time you go down to 2 million chips (50 big blinds), because if you have a trappy hand with potential to double up, and you do not want to be playing with a small stack where any big stack can easily put you all in with a bluff or suck out hand.

The tournament format is more accessible in terms of playing technique than cash game but it’s really hard mentally in terms of variance and unfortunately you can’t multi-table as efficiently as in cash game to spread the variance and make more results.
For example in 100k limit tournaments I have rare schedules where I can find 3 to 5 tournaments close to this limit at about the same time (obviously not all 100K tournaments) whereas in cash game I will always find 4 tables in the afternoon or evening that will be perfectly within my limit.

Building a bankroll is theoretically faster in cash games than in MTTs because it’s a more winning format due to the depth of the stacks, and this is even more true on replay because of some other disadvantages of MTTs.

And I still play tournaments because the sensation is really different I still love making big final tables :heart_eyes:

Yes, especially on a play money site, I think cash games are much more effective at building bank roll. In the real money games, tournaments offer the prospect of much less skilled players than you see in cash games, but in a play money environment, I think the gulf in skill between the two formats is not as large, and variance in tournaments is much higher in general.

Still, tournaments are a lot of fun, and you are practicing a bit of a different skill set in a tournament, which can also make for some nice variety.

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Yes, you are right about multitabling. I find it almost impossible to properly play 2 tournaments at the same time. With ring games, it is much easier to ignore most hands and only play your top 20% (or whatever you choose) hands, and you can turn a profit without bluffing much, or at all, at least at the play money level.

However I think the skills of playing tournaments are probably more easily transferable than the other way around. Bluffing may also be easier in ring games.

Today I played a small tournment and busted out on a hand where I put in a huge bluff on the flop and on the river on a KQx flop. I was pretty sure that opponent had a Qx and that he would not have been able to call the river bet, since he was beaten by any K, AA, any set, numerous two pair combinations, JT, and several Qx combinations,and he had checked the river to me rather than bet for value.

This gave me the impression that he just wanted to see a showdown as cheaply as possible and would not risk his tournament life on calling a large bet. I was wrong.

Perhaps it was a brilliant read on his part, but I think a cash game player, especially a real money cash game player is less likely to call a river bet that will destroy their bankroll if they lose when they have a hand that is beaten by so many hands in the opponents range.

Well, OK, I know that many players on RP are not really thinking in terms of ranges, but it is interesting to conduct experiments in bluffing to see that players will call with.

Well, after a terrible run of form in which I was making a few adjustments to my game in the hope of improving, I seem to have got back some mojo having played this tournament 10 times since
I last won it without even getting in the money.

Having a shot at ring games, which I had only dipped my toe in before may have helped to refresh me. Yesterday I had won 7 million in a ring game, which had made up for some recent losses, and then I had another go at a ring game today and picked up another 5 million playing 20K/40K, which seem to be the biggest games available. With a starting stack of 100 big blinds you have to chip in 4 million to start.

I played the 1-million chip tournament again tonight, as I do most evenings these days, and for once the luck seemed to be running with me. One time I even folded A8o and (would have) flopped a boat had I played.

Eventually we were down to 6 players with only 5 to money, then 5, 4, 3, 2, and then there was only me left after 2 1/2 hours. I think the key to doing better tonight was really concentrating on every hand (always my weakness) and playing with patience and not trying to force my way into the lead, but waiting for opponents to screw up of their own accord.

However I cannot deny that luck was on my side. Just take a look at this hand if you will. This hand was pivotal, gave me the tournament lead which I never relinquished, and required no skill whatsosever on my part.

and then for an encore:

I think the moral here is that it can be risky to shove all-in on a bluff on a paired board, because you will only get called by hands that beat you. It works until it doesn’t work. Bluffing will not work if your opponent has the very hand that you are trying to represent. If opponent has quad queens with an Ace kicker, he is probably not going to fold to a bluff.

One thing I remembered tonight is that if you have a good stack, you don’t need to call anyone else’s raises unless you have a really, really good hand. On the final table with three players left I even folded pocket queens on a king high flop rather than risk taking a beating from a slow playing opponent.

In such a situation I prefer to limp in with AA, AK, KK, and QQ, and raise to try to take down the blinds with medium hands like JJ, TT, or 99 or related drawing hands. The trouble is that if you raise high with something like KK at that stage of the final table, (lets say you are in the SB with the big stack and opponent is BB with the second stack), they are only going to call you if they have something mighty, so if the flop comes ace high you are up ■■■■ creek sans paddle and stand to lose a load of chips.

So better to limp in, and call a raise from the BB, then get a look at the flop and see if opponent wants to fight back. The biggest problem with this is that opponents range is then 100% and if they flop 2 pairs, you are in big trouble. However I think that in the final stages of a tournament I would rather play an opponent on the flop and post flop with hands like KK and QQ, rather than just knock down the blinds preflop, because when you hit a set on the flop, they will not know what hit them.

Really the end-game is all about the correct preflop raising frequency. With just three stacks left the best tactic is to attack the smallest stack all the time in the blinds and keep wearing them down. With two hands against one, clearly one of the two must have a better starting hand than the one most of the time, so they have to be ground down to about 2 or 3 BB when they are forced to shove. Their shoves should be indulged with weak hands, but called with any hand better than A8, in my opinion.

But you have to remember that the smallest stack will be looking for any place to shove, probably with any Ace, and you want to avoid letting them double up, so it is constantly a cat and mouse game of two steps forward and one step back. The cardinal sin is for the two bigger stacks to give the small stack a chance to treble up by both calling his shove.

Of course in real money big money tournaments it is more likely that players would chop the prize money rather than play to the death, but not here on RP.