Multi table strategy

I have made a few adjustments to my game recently and just passed 80 million chips for the first time, so must be doing something right, or something less wrong than others. I won a 41-player tournament tonight and picked up a few million chips, which was encouraging as I have not won a MTT since Dec. 10th (2 weeks ago).

I have been reading a book that I have had for a while on Kindle, but not often looked at, but I recently got a new larger phone and have been doing some bedtime reading.

The book is called Decide To Play Great Poker by Annie Duke, and I have found it very helpful, particularly in how to play loose games (such as the early stages of MTTs here on RP). I think we all know that you can raise 10 bb or 20bb when you have a premium hand like AK and everyone will call, so by the flop you are probably less than 50% to win the hand.

The solution, says Duke, is that in loose games you should play tighter, and in tight games looser. Which is kind of obvious, but add to this the concept (again rather obvious) that the hands you want to play in these loose games with multiway pots where pots nearly always go to the river are those hands that are most likely to make the nuts by the river. Suited aces are the best, but another good one is JT, because if you do make a straight it will always be the nut straight unless a T or falls on the board to assist your opponent’s hand.

Otherwise, fold everything at the lower blind levels, rather than limping a lot, so that you avoid getting into ambiguous pots where you do not know if you are ahead.

Here is a nice hand where a suited Ace won a nice pot, but not with a flush:

Would you have called the river bet? If the oppo had a better full house, I would have expected him to bet it on the flop or turn.

On the HH raise pre and punish the guy limping off 21 bb stack. You have the big stack at the table, use it to leverage these small pots against all the short stacks. Flop is fine. Turn bet bigger, you have 2 callers on the flop and the A is a good card for J’s so size up to around 1100 to get max value from J’s and flush draws. River I can get behind a x if you think IP will bluff missed spades at a high frequency but I still prefer a bet to get value from A’s and J’s. The problem with x is they’re not bluffing enough in multi way pot and they’re mostly going to x back all there J’s and if they somehow have KK QQ.

As for the book, please don’t take offense, but Annie Duke and her brother Howard Lederer are two of the biggest POS in the poker community. They would be the King and Queen of the poker hall of shame if that were a thing. Annie Duke was “heavily involved and endorsed Ultimate Bet and Epic poker (both failed businesses that cheated their customers”.-Ari Engel She continued to endorse Ultimate Bet after a super user cheating scandal where a group of Ultimate Bet players with Russ Hamilton had access to players whole cards and cheated customers out of over $20M. She then helped UB try and cover the whole thing up, all the while still collecting her checks. She was making bank from the Epic Poker League while the company racked up millions in debt and cancelled the last two tournaments of the first season including the $1M freeroll supposedly for the top players in the league. She was absolutely toxic on the Celebrity Apprentice. Howard Lederer was one of the founders of Full Tilt Poker which was seized by the DOJ charging principles not limited to but including Lederer with money laundering and various gambling law violations. Accused of defrauding poker players in what was deemed to be a Ponzi scheme where the owners took player funds for their own personal uses and not having the money on hand to back their account holders. Lederer was accused by the DOJ of personally taking over $40M dollars from player funds none of which was EVER returned. Well Pokerstars bought out Full Tilt from the DOJ and they paid back over $150M out of their pocket, but none came from Full Tilt or it’s owners. Full Tilt players lost millions of dollars collectively with losses ranging from hundreds to in some cases millions per player. Her and her brother have continually cheated and stolen money from poker players over the years and are the worst imaginable representatives of the poker community.

This is all not to mention the FACT that Annie Duke wasn’t really a good poker player back in the day and would absolutely suck by todays standard. She’s good enough to beat Replay for sure though. Just don’t give her anymore money please, she has taken quite enough. There are much better more reputable authors of poker content out there. If you’d like a list of a few good ones I’d be happy to point you in that directions.

Just a short summary of the Lederer’s involvement in the poker community, it’s goes deeper. Cheers man, and again I mean no offense but I know I’ve seen at least one other time where you mentioned her and her book and I can not let her name be tossed around with out offering up some truth to who she is as a poker player, content provider, human being… thief, liar, swindler.

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Is that true? I don’t think it is.

JT, board comes QK9, you’ve flopped a straight, beautiful. Opponent has AT, Turn is a Jack, and now they have T-A while you have 9-K. Oh no!

AJ could do the same thing with a T hitting the board.

So I think a T OR a J can assist the opponent’s hand.

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What @MekonKing is saying @puggywug is that if you make a straight using both cards it’s always the nuts but he did point out if one of tour cards is counterfeited that no longer holds true. Your example is correct though as in it the J is counterfeited with another J on the board.

One of the challenges of playing on replay is negotiating the loose play. I play exclusively 6-handed ring games, and I am struck by the frequency that people limp in and flat call raises. Awhile back I vowed to stop limping in and start playing poker – so if you ever see me limping in, that’s my stupidity saying hello to the table – and I either fold (I fold a lot, probably too much) or bet. This is a rather simple strategy (which anybody can do) but it has improved my winning percentage tremendously. I tend to either win pots pre-flop or go to the flop heads-ups, which is the objective of betting. That said, with a premium hand in the SB, limping in can actually be an effective strategy for disguising the strength of your hand and taking down a nice pot at showdown, as occurred in the example you posted.

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Yes, I missed out the letter J in my original post. There is a malfunction on my mechanical keyboard for that letter due to my kids dropping crumbs on the keyboard.

No doubt she and her brother are crooks, and unfortunately chicanery and double dealing is very much part of the world of poker and has been since the days of Meyer Lansky, and that is the reason why I don’t play for money online, and would not even give RP my credit or debit card numbers, but I still think the book is quite good for playing RP tournaments. Although Duke may not be world class by today’s standards, neither am I, and after all she did win millions of dollars during her playing career and hold her own against the top players of the time.

In any case, being a top performer in a sport does not necessarily make someone a good writer or a good teacher. I have read a number of famous poker books, but most of them are only good for toilet paper and I have yet to see a definitive text on playing NLH MTTs.

I have another kind of autobiographical book by Duke that I picked up for 25 cents at the local thrift store, but it is absolute garbage. She did not make any money from me off that one.

I agree with everything you’ve said in this comment but this one thing right here. I think limping in the sb is horrible with or without premium hands. You’re only making sure that you will play a pot out of position and usually in a multi-way pot. We play ranges and you can not disguise the strength of your range by limping, either you have a limp range or you do not. What we should be doing is making sure our range is balanced with value and bluffs however we play it. Because of position I will only ever limp from one position and that is over limping the btn after several others have limped and I only limp suited Ax and small-medium pp’s. My thoughts on the matter. :slight_smile: Cheers.


Fair enough. I did say she could beat Replay. She was not good though, she was fortunate to have huge backers in the game and played in very small fields where variance got her by in a few tv spots. Annie Duke was a losing NLHE player.

Alex Fitzgerald is a pretty good author. Almost of all of Ed Millers stuff is still pretty relevant. A lesser known author who writes on beating MTT’s named Arnold Snyder. I have read and found two of his books very helpful when I was playing live MTT’s more regularly. They are The Tournament Formula and The Tournament Formula 2.

Arnold, “The Bishop” Snyder has been around forever (well, it seems like it, anyway.) But, he’s far better known for his writing about Blackjack.

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Yes, this is true, his writing on blackjack are well to that world. He’s very knowledgeable on advantage gambling and the two tournament poker books he wrote takes a different than any others I have read. Very good in my opinion.

I find the same thing in tournaments. (Just won a little one tonight.) It is amazing how often players will limp to my big blind. What are they hoping to achieve by this? Either they have two picture cards, a suited ace, or suited connectors, or a small pocket pair, so their hands are easy to read. I win a lot of hands out of the big blind just because they allow me to play with trash and win pots when the flop is kind of trashy. It is crazy to allow the BB with J3 to flop two pairs.

The other day I was in the BB with 9 5o and flopped a boat. Needless to say I won a massive pot.when two players went to the river and made straights.

Here is my hand of the night. OK, I was dead lucky again, though I did have 7 outs on the turn and 10 outs on the river When you are in third place of 3 survivors, you might as well go for it. I could have raised and knocked down the blinds, but I was hoping to get more out of this hand. When you get to the final stages of tournaments it can be difficult to knock out other players, and you need to resort to sneaky play to persuade them to commit.

Last night I read a few chapters of his second book, the one on playing in advanced high entry professional tournaments.

As far as his main ideas, like using your chips as a weapon, what he calls “utility value”, I had already come to the exact same conclusions independently, and in the chapter on bluffing, similarly I had already come to the same conclusions on my own. However, his detailed discussion of certain situations such as stealing the blinds from the cutoff seat is very useful, and I shall be trying out a few of his ideas that will hopefully cure some leaks in my game.

I have occasionally tried to introduce some of the ideas described in his book (such as information bluffing) into discussions in this forum, but am usually shot down by someone or other, perhaps because I have not made the case persuasively enough or clearly enough.

I have also invested $5 in a paperback copy of his book (postage $3.99) on beating RP type tournaments, which may be more useful here, and eagerly await delivery on or before Jan 6th.

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If anyone wants to see how you can make really nice money playing small stakes online tournaments, look up Mike Wasserman. Just a freaking beast. IMO he’s the resource you want to use if your plan is to crush these games. I met him through Alex Fitzgerald and Evan Jarvis. I got to speak with him for a few hours while we were sweating the other 2 as they ran deep in a big online MTT - Alex had a top-25 finish if I recall and Evan took 5th for over $46K. Mike is definitely the guy you want on your team if your bread and butter games are going to be small stake online tournaments.

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I am so confused.

You criticized other players for limping to your big blind, allowing them to “play with trash and win pots when the flop is kind of trashy.” Then, in the hand you highlighted, you limped 3-handed on the button when you had 99. Then, T2s caught a flush on a monotone flop.

Medice, cura te ipsum.


Join the confusion-club. Every single decision made in this hand was a losing play but the results were good. Limping 99 short-handed and short stacked is not being “sneaky”. 99 is absolutely not a hand that you can get tricky here with. AA or KK sometimes, fine. A hand that is going to see at least 1 overcard 2/3rds of the time and only hit a set 1/8th of the time is not a candidate. Raising into the flush is also terrible but I guess when the results please us, we find ways to justify the bad decisions that got us there.


Yes, but had I raised preflop, I would probably just have taken down the blinds, which I did not want to do, If I wanted to steal the blinds, I could do it with any two cards. In third place of three, I needed a hand that could give me a large reversal, instead of just trying to steal 1 in 3 blinds to stay in the game, so I wanted to keep opponents in the hand. Set vs flush is a common situation where the set player has 7 outs on the turn and 10 outs on the river. When you flop a set, and the board 3 flushes, it is more likely that an aggressive player will bluff on the flop than that he has flopped a flush.

What I was referring to above was the very common situation–surely you see it–where one or more players limp to the Big Blind at lower blind levels with no particular game plan for the hand, so there is no need for you to be confused!

Usually, when you are down to the last three players in a MTT, a raise preflop will either produce two folds, or else one of the other two players will jam. By limping in, you at least force the BB to play the hand and create opportunities for flop play or post-flop play of some kind. Since players at this stage are liable to jam with pretty much any pair, there is a possibility of setting traps.

Here is another hand from last night in which I finished 3rd, picking up a couple of million chips, but this hand cost me a million chips, even though it was successful in getting the opponent all-in.

By miniraising I showed weakness and opponent saw the opportunity to jam and steal the pot. which is exactly what I wanted, since I had AK and was willing to go all the way with it. Unfortunately the community cards got the better of me. But at the final table and deep in the money, fortune favors the brave.

See also below for final table play:

Great hand where Yang with pocket Jacks makes Childs lay down pocket Queens for a huge pot. That could never happen on RP.

You have to wonder whether being badly dressed is a prerequisite for reaching the final table at the WSOP. I guess it is a distraction for opponents. I think would wear a deerstalker hat and rhinestone encrusted glasses.

If you want to get better at final tables, please start working with an ICM calculator like ICMIZER. In this situation, using a huge +EV margin of 0.75, your push range should have been 6.17% of hands (88+, AQo+, AJs+, KQ). At equilibrium, the range is far wider. There is no need to do guesswork any longer with these spots. None of us will ever play perfectly in them but we can train ourselves to recognize the most +EV spots with very little work.

If you don’t want to work with a calculator, just do some simplified logic experiments to come up with a basic strategy. On 13BB, would you ever fold 99 to a jam, given villains likely shoving range? I could see 1 example here and that is if you open, SB jams and BB calls (which I why I wouldn’t open this hand for any size other than all-in). Other than that, there is no fold if you open. Given that, any move other than an open shove is denying yourself the extra value of fold equity. ALL OF THE MONEY in tournament poker comes from stacking your fold equity with your raw equity and this only occurs if you are raising/shoving. With hands like 99, are you ever thrilled to limp/call a shove? Probably not. You know you are going to call but you are likely in a coin flip situation. Instead of putting yourself in that spot, why not maximize your fold equity and put the burden on your opponents? Look for the most +EV play at any given time.

As for the 2007 WSOP hand, it was played terribly. Not 3-betting QQ in this spot is beyond bad. That set up the awful fold postflop. Its actually a perfect example of being too passive preflop in the hopes of preserving your stack. Its also from 2007 when the average tournament player was just flat out weak. I don’t know why poker players dress like homeless people but they do.

Regarding Annie Duke’s book and advice - it may be an interesting read to see how people looked at the game before solvers and data became available but its no more than that. Every database you will ever look at will show that average players lose their butts off by misplaying suited aces, especially in tournament poker. Their value goes up with deep stacks and decreases when stacks are below 100BB. The mistakes people make with them tend to cost them far more than they ever make when they do hit their draws. The more modern approach is to 3-bet them more and flat them less. This generates higher returns but is still marginal in most spots, especially if you aren’t playing your draws properly. People get all spazzy with flush draws and lose tons of value.

Work on your game with the proper tools and advice and you’ll get a lot better. Almost no one you play is willing to put in even a little work to improve. Since you obviously are willing, devote that time to the areas that will make the most immediate difference for your game. Given the hands I’ve seen you post here, IMO this would be on your short stacked play and push/fold strategies. Your instincts are good. If you can put stronger strategies behind those instincts, I think you will be very happy with the results.

GL to you.

ADDED: I practice what I preach - I played a tournament here last night for the 1st time in a long time. Right after the 1st break, with about 50 players left and the top 25 spots paying, I found myself very short stacked (8BB) in the CO. I was dealt J3s and it was folded around to me. The BB was undefended as the player was away so I had 2 players to get through. Most people would fold here and look for a better spot. From working with a push/fold trainer, I knew the best play was to shove so I did. I wound up getting a call from KQo but also wound up with a full double-up as a result. We are allowed to bink after all :wink:

Anyway, my thoughts were that if the 2 players left to act were defending 15-20% ranges, I was getting the shove through the majority of the time and picking up 2.5BB uncontested (antes in play). If called by 1, I figured to have at least 30% equity. That was more than enough to shove what most people would consider to be an easy fold. Because of that hand I wound up taking 2nd of 145. Sure, I could have been out and not cashed but when the proper play is to go for it, go for it.

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Thanks for the tips. Lots of food for thought. I do think, though, that there is a huge difference between what the best players in the world might do, and what is required to keep building a balance of chips on RP, because most players on RP make basic mistakes on nearly every hand. One might improve one’s game of tennis or golf a great deal without troubling the pros.

Perhaps one of the biggest errors made by many players is betting too much when they have the nuts and forcing opponent to fold instead of getting them to call with second best hand. Very few players have the ability to make a bluff on the river look plausible. Also in more recent games I have vastly improved my ability to read hands and pick off bluffs.

Re your shove with J3s, I agree.

Regarding folding QQ in the 2007 WSOP, that was pretty shocking, but it just shows how much stress players are under when surviving one more place could win the price of a house, a car, and a boat.The heat from the TV cameras and lights when you insist on wearing a hat indoors could also be a factor.

That table played very much like a typical RP final table, though I understand that in most real-life for-money tournaments, the players tend to chop the prize money, so it could be that these players did not have as much prior experience of the situation as one might expect.

I think suited aces are valuable on RP because there are so many players who will shove then they hit a straight or a set vs a flushing board, and many who will call with an inferior flush. The main value is in the early rounds when the blinds are low and many players are in pots. As the blinds rise, it is better to use them as 3-bet hands or bluffing hands.

Hopefully RP players dress better than WSOP players, but I must admit to having played in my pajamas. I think there must be a theory that dressing like a homeless person rather than a preppie makes your poker game harder to read, but maybe not.