How to improve at tournaments

With cash games, you have plenty of tools to find your mistakes when reviewing your hand history. You can use gto solvers, 1-alpha defense, etc. However, in tournies with the concepts like ICM and varying stack sizes, the hands play much differently. Gaining chip does not mean gaining EV. Of course, I could post the hand and ask for help, but that would be unreasonable due to the sheer amount of hands I have in doubt. What are your strategies for analyzing these hands?

I put hands in three categories…ranked they are:

ONE Hands I win
TWO Hands I tie
THREE Hands I lose

I try to have more hands in category one than in three…

I hope this helps…

  1. What GTO solver do you use and do you have a suggestion for a good free one?
  2. I have no good advice, sorry… (i’m kinda trash at the game myself, so…)

At least with high stakes tournaments on Replay (250k+), players tend to overfold. After the first 4 blind levels, I start to use a raise size of 2x because a) it can get folds, b) if it gets called I will win with a cbet unless my opponent is super strong, c) I can give up easily when facing aggression, and d) I can still win a big pot when I do have a real hand. You can open a fairly wide range range (~20-25% of hands) with stacks <100 bbs and make a killing off the blinds and antes.

This strategy may not work at all in real-money poker (I’ve never played a real-money tourney) or at lower stakes on Replay where nobody knows what they were doing or they just do not care.

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Well, I guess I REALLY need help 'cause I don’t even know the terms…alpha defense, ICM, EV, or GTO.

have to admit i’m not sure what alpha defense is, but i believe it’s a tracking system (correct me if i’m wrong)

but i can help with the poker terms:

  • ICM: independant chip model: it’s a formula to transfer chip EV into money EV. which is a formula that proves why lost chips are worth more then won chips, and proves that this increases even more the furtehr you come to the bubble.
    have to say this one can be complicaed to really understand, but if you are interested, in this forum i explained the whole thing:
  • EV: expected value: this is a formula to calculate the average value you will make by using a specific action. here a simple example: AA vs KK has slightly above 80% chance to win (lets just say 80 to make it easier). your opponent shoves 60$ all in and you need to call the 60$ to play your aces. obviously you will call here. so the pot contains 120$ now, which you will get 80% of teh time. so 4 out of 5 times you get +60 and 1 out of 5 times you will get -60. so it’s (60x4) - (60x1) which is 180, divide this by 5 (since we did this scenario 5 times) and we get 36. meaning calling here will give you an EV+36
  • GTO: game theory optimal: this means making the best mathematical choice based on what you know. here a simple example: you know your opponent calls a river bet about 80% of the time, folds 20% of teh time and raises 0% of the time. and he don’t pay attention to bluffs of valuebets and calls the 80% with any hand. this means it’s best to valuebet 100% of teh time and bluff 0% of teh time. simply because we gonna win almost 80% of the time (i say almost because even any hand contains a few monsters) when we bet for value, and we lose almost 80% of teh time more more when we bluff.

hope this helps, if not, feel free to ask.

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Thanks Yiazmat. I’ve heard that men’s brains do better at math in their heads than women. (My daughter excluded) That may be true, although I took a lot of math. I’m more of an observer, so I’m just not going to challenge my remaining 76 yr old brain cells. I’ll leave this high-falutin’ stuff up to the deep thinkers. Thanks again.

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