Recently I discovered that RP has GOATs (Greatest Of All Time) lists. For example here is the list of players who have won the most chips in tournaments.
The list obviously favors those who play in the highest value tournaments, those who have played for the longest time on the site, and so on, but at least it is something to go by. (Some players are very high on this list, but not equally high in current chip balance, so must also have lost a lot of the chips they have won.)
However I find myself regularly playing against 4 or 5 of the players on this list every evening–I took a break of several months, but having been playing a lot during Covid curfews in the country where I am located.
About a month ago I decided to try to up my game and introduced a bit more discipline into my play, with tighter starting ranges and more effort to study opponents and strategy. I also started to play some ring games.
The results were the reverse of what I had expected and I entered my worst ever spell on RP, having gone almost a month without a MTT win, and only 2 in-the-money finishes during that time, but several times when I had played “well”, leading tournaments several times at the one-hour break, only to capitulate soon after and go out on the bubble time after time.
Was I playing worse, or just having a run of bad luck? Tempting to think the latter, but in fact it was the former.
The tournament I have had the most success in is the 1-million chip to enter 6-max MTT every evening at 7:30 pm Eastern US time, which I have won numerous times. It is at the most convenient time to play and does not clash with other things I have to do. It attracts about 30 entrants and the top prize is usually between 11 million and 14 million chips.
But suddenly this tournament became very tough for me to reach the money in and I was starting to feel like I would never win again, and actually have not won this tournament since April 25th, (more than 6 weeks ago).
However, having been eliminated within the first hour on some occasions, I started to play some other tournaments, in particular the 9-seater 1-million chip buy-in tournament at 10:30 p.m. Eastern Time, which is a bit late for me, except that the time zone in Ecuador puts this at 9:30 pm during the northern hemisphere summer.
I got the impression that I seemed to do better in the 9-seater, and this was confirmed when I won that tournament last night leaving no less than 4 players from the above list choking in my dust.
It seems that 6-max and 9-seater tournaments require a slightly different strategy, and that by changing my winning 6-max strategy I was reducing my winnings but making myself stronger in 9-seater tournaments.
Reasons for this could be that in a 6-max:
Less players, so blinds come round more often. With players having wider ranges, or no ranges, you need to defend your blind more aggressively. If you do this, other players are less likely to limp into your blind and you will pick up more blinds by default when all fold.
The whole set-up is like 6-max is like cage-fighting or gladiator combat. There is no way out and you have to be aggressive and kill or be killed. Players who can take down large pots with bluffs are at a huge advantage.
The bubble stage in 6-max is different, because when you have just 8, then 7 players left, you will be playing with 4 players on each table, then 4 on one table and 3 on the other, before you reach the final table with 6 players. This stage is extremely dangerous as the blinds are high and any pot entered and lost can mean disaster. My tip here is to disregard the rule about shoving with 10 blinds or less, and let it get down to 3 or 4, because you can still win from that point if you double or triple with premium hole cards and if you have 3BB and pick up AA, you are almost certain to get action if you shove.
In the 9-seater game, you can fold more hands preflop and wait for the really good starting hands.
In the 2 tournaments I have referenced above, another difference is that although both start with 5000 chips, the 0-seater starts with lower blinds, so the game is slower and more strategic. With tiny starting blinds, there is an advantage to be obtained by opening 25 BB with premium hands, and if you do get a caller, you can win a pot that enables you to cruise for several rounds of blinds. If you don’t get a caller, it puts your table on notice that you are not going to play nice.
9-seater also gives you more time to study the play of opponents.
Last night I was against a very aggressive player who is familiar to me who had a monster stack, and like show his cards after big bets, whether they be aces or bluffs. This information was invaluable when I got him heads up on the final table. He had been showing a whole series of monster hands preflop when everyone had folded to his raises and I suspected he was getting a little euphoric.
Having a tiny stack myself, I had little choice but to tolerate his bullying (but correct) play, but took advantage of the opportunity to give him a dose of his own medicine here:
I don’t care what anyone says, but this kind of showing the cards play can affect the thinking of opponents on future pots.
This was the final hand of the tournament. Surely opponent would have raised preflop with a pair of Queens, 8s or 3s, and if he had Q8 or a set wouldn’t he have wanted me to call his flop bet?
So when he shoved the flop in a limp-check pot, his most likely holding was a flush draw semi-bluff, and so it proved to be. Unusually for RP, the small stack with the flush draw did not hit its cards, and it was all over.
I said gg, but he was already gone.