Multi table strategy

Absolutely correct observation but maybe not the best conclusion. Players here will make gross errors almost every hand. Do you think those errors get bigger or smaller when you put them under pressure? I think its obvious that they become magnified. So, while exploiting their smaller errors passively gets good results, exploiting their larger errors aggressively will get better ones.

The nice thing about ICMIZER is that you can attribute ranges to your opponents and not just rely on them playing perfectly. Therefore it is a great tool to use vs any population that you can estimate ranges for. Yes, you will be able to see perfect calling ranges vs perfect shoving ranges and all that but you can also customize it for the players you are actually facing. The best part about low stakes players is that they play static ranges across all positions (for the most part). This allows you to estimate their calling range with a high degree of accuracy. If you set it up to give you a nice margin for error, you will get very good information on what hands you can successfully shove/call with in any situation. 90%+ of low stakes players will never spend a minute thinking about these concepts. This gives any player who does a monster edge over them.

Most players have not evolved from that style of game. They are still playing the same way even though the game has changed. The job of a low stakes player is to identify these players and use more advanced strategies to exploit their weaknesses. There is still plenty of money in the game because there are still plenty of players who refuse to adapt and grow.

If you want to be totally misread by live players, show up looking like you just came from the yacht club. They’ll take you for an easy mark and as long as you don’t break cover, you can brutalize them. The last thing you want to do is look like you know what you’re doing :wink:

Never … happen… on RP. :thinking:
checks hand replays. :rage:

Is that in that 1 example only, I hope ??? :confused:


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I said “would you ever fold 99 to a jam, given villains likely shoving range?”. If we give the villain a likely shoving range of ~17% of hands (88+, A5+ and better Broadways), 99 has about 55.5% equity. Hero would need about 44% to make the call so its not even a close decision (if hero opened to 2BB). If villain is somewhat competent and can put AA/KK into his calling range sometimes, hero’s equity vs the shove is even higher.

At 13BB as the shortest stack and on the BTN I can split my range into shove and min-raise open if I want to. Constructing a BTN limping range is very complicated and almost no one can do it well enough for the incremental gain to be worthwhile. Of the hands I’d open, there are some I’d fold to a shove and others I’d call with. 99 would be a hand I’d put into the shoving category, for the reasons I stated above. Other hands are along the lines of AKo, KJo, AT, 88 … Hands I’d open/call with would be AA, KK, QQ, AKs and so on. Open/fold would be hands like QJo, K7s, JTo, 55 … In general I’m shoving strong hands that are fine not seeing a flop, strengthened by enough very strong hands that it isn’t exploitable. The opening range will contain my strongest and weakest holdings so I can’t be exploited by a shove, can pick up blinds/antes a good portion of the time and play well in position if taken to a flop. The entire range is heavily weighted towards high-cards because those have most value at these stack depths.

Thanks for all the tips and advice. This forum is a treasure trove of information.

This hand may be of some interest.

Although this hand is not very remarkable in itself, it was the final hand of tonight’s Grand-Daddy Of Them All tournament, which is 5 million chips to enter and the most “expensive” free game on RP. There were 19 players.

I went home with 46,300,000 chips, which was a profit of 41,300,000 chips, and hopefully will move up a bit in the rankings as I have increased my chip count by 50%.

Could not have done it without you guys.

This was the hand with which I jammed all the range finders at the table.


Nice win!

The hand is remarkable only in that villain open shoved ~35BB. IMO, that’s premature. 30-40BB HU play can be a lot more nuanced and there’s room for a little poker to happen. Probably a more standard play would be for a 2.25-2.5x open and then a 3-bet from you in position. At that point, villain could have 4-bet shoved or called and seen a flop. I’d have to look at his HU hands to get an idea if this is typical or a 1-off play.

Anyway, I’m glad you are having success and I hope you continue to improve your game.

Thanks for the comments. This had been a particularly long and exhausting final table, and as usual in these situations, since RP does not offer the opportunity to chop the prize money, both players are usually keen to get it all finished within a few hands and go to bed, put the dog out, or whatever. Just by getting into the money (three places paid) this is already a great victory. This is the case in most final pairings in MTTs. Occasionally I have played long final pairings to gradually grind down an opponent, but these have been the exception.

Actually I think the key to winning any of these tournaments is mostly stamina and paying attention. If you can pay full attention and really concentrate on the game for a couple of hours, you can do very well. In too many tournaments I am multitasking, answering e-mails, reading the news, supervising children and dogs, etc.

Now I’m confused. You said you saw 1 example, then you said other than that there is no fold if you opened option. Later you listed more hands, meaning there is more than 1 example.

This is preflop play if I understood correctly with 3 players left… You, SB & BB. Per what others have told me, if you are going to open a hand preflop, its 3-6bb … given you only have 13bb, then a decent raise almost makes you pot committed anyway, therefore its a shove/fold situation. Correctly you said, you personally would only open this for a shove, because then your opponents have fold equity?

@13 bb, you’re pretty much in a fold/shove situation aren’t you, unless its just SB vs BB, and you’re the SB, or you have some serious read on the rest of the players.

What I think I’m hearing is that you shove “med strength hands that are vulnerable to a flop, but have showdown equity” attempting to use fold equity to achieve taking the hand down right then/there , while you basicallly are “trapping” with stronger premium hands you know you’ll call/shove a re-raise with, trying to induce a bet by SB/BB or both. Either way you are using a fold/shove strategy, while at the same time you have left open the possibility of a Trap, to balance out your non folding ranges.

Any Trap… you have options, including a limp, because you are representing weakness. Why pay 2bb+ ( to open ) when you can just pay 1bb for the same information ?? Plus even a small open says/reps " I have something worth opening, just not enuff to shove with ", that should tell your opponents 99 is in your range.

The reason I ask’d is because when I see top players playing, lets say on TV … usually if a player opens and gets raised, they either re-raise or fold. Not really alot of flat-calling involved. Just trying to get clarification, thats all Warlock… thks.

Not sure I follow all the details of your argument, but as a general principle, when you are on the final table of a MTT and there are five or less players left and the blinds are very high, you have to win the blinds on average one out of every five, four, or three hands or else you will fade away and become irrelevant.

Because the blinds are high, there is very little post flop play, because no one can afford to play draws without risking becoming pot committed. So nearly all the play is preflop, or on the flop. If you do not think you are ahead at the flop, you cannot call a bet, unless you intend to bluff. Bluffing can be fatal, because if you lose one bluff, you will lose stack potency and become a target like a bleeding swimmer in a tank full of sharks.

Look at this hand here. It is the very first hand of the final table of the 5-million buy-in tournament. We have 2 leaders. Note the relative stack sizes.

Now let’s move on to 40 hands later. Not much has changed,but the stacks are now nearly all equal. The reason for this is that the smaller stacks have been forced to play by raising or shoving preflop and the larger stacks have not had the guts to take them on, due to wanting to fold their way into the money.

This process goes on and on and will only be broken when someone makes a huge mistake, or two huge hands confront each other with no one willing to fold. For example pocket Kings versus pocket Queens on a low flop will usually lead to disaster for one player. Or a small stack shoves for the umpteenth time and a larger stack feels that his stack is big enough and his hand good enough to make it worthwhile to take a shot, because if he wins he is sitting pretty, but if he loses, he is not out of it. Or the large stack has a hand too good to fold.

Since the game is all about flop and preflop, for smaller stacks, just winning the blinds preflop is not enough. Sometimes the small stack is going to shove with nothing, and sometimes with a hand. The small stacks have to mix up their tactics so as not to be predictable, and the larger stacks are wary, because allowing a small stack to double up may imperil their own chance to get into the money.

Sooner or later that player needs to hurt one of the larger stacks. A pair of nines is an ambiguous hand. It has showdown value, but the plan it not to play to a showdown, but it is also vulnerable to overcards on the flop, unless it hits a set. If the flop looks nasty, the player can always fold for minimal loss. But if the flop is favorable to 99, the bigger stack may well be tempted to bluff and put more money into the pot, inviting a check raise.

Heads up any pair is a good hand.

Here is another play that can come in useful at the final table–the squeeze play. In this hand I had pocket 5’s in the BB. Raise from the button, call from the small blind, then I three bet, forcing both players to fold for a significant reversal of fortunes that gave me the tournament lead.

I’ll get back to this when I have more time. Its a really good topic because it comes up so frequently in tournaments here. I’m sorry if I confused anyone - sometimes things sound clear in my head but don’t come out that way to others. Just quickly, you can’t open to 3-6BB off a 13BB stack. Open sizes must be related to stack depth - larger open sizes for deeper stacks and lower opens as stacks decrease.

@1Warlock is referring to a situational spot here where he opens on the button off of 13 bb’s a hand, 99 that he has no intention of folding to a shove but in the rare instance where the small blind re shoves and the big blind calls he can find a fold here as 99 value goes way down multi way and even worse after two players have made aggressive plays after you’ve opened and showed your own strength.

As stated above the situation is the same… more hands is just simply the fact that 99 does not stand on it’s own. If he is playing with an open range on the button off of 13 bb’s there are more hands in that range than 99 and all of the hands in that range would be folds. This is why you want to capitalize on that fold equity combined with your raw equity. It’s pretty bad when you min open 99, sb shoves with KJs and the bb calls with 88 or AK and you have to fold having cost yourself two of your 13 very valuable bb’s.

At final tables with ICM implications or when playing sub 50 bb avg stacks you should be opening much smaller, 3 is even too big. 2.2 to 2.5 is okay. Tournament players have been opening with min raises under these conditions for a while now but I believe it’s starting to adjust upwards as the big blind is defending too well these days. Poker is ever evolving. The adjustment down was because the big blind did not defend well and was over folding so you just got a much better price on your opens.

I didn’t see this but it would be a typo, the person with the fold equity is the one who is making the bet. In this case the player open shoving 99 has the fold equity as well as the equity of his hand.

This isn’t exactly the same. An open for 2 bb’s is going to condense V’s range in the bb as there will be a pretty good chunk he will fold pre whereas if you limp in he has 100% range so you don’t really know how he’s doing on a 722r board.

It is way too hard to implement a split range and no one outside of the top tournament players in the world should be doing this. These spots just simply don’t come enough in situations where you’re facing the same players consistently. I wouldn’t be trying to split or mix my range at 13 bb effective.


Thanks @dayman - you nailed most of it. I’d just add a few things:

  1. Opening rather than limping gives me a chance to either take the blinds/antes preflop or see a flop heads-up in position. I don’t want to play hands like K7s multiway but I’m happy to play it in position vs 1 other player.
  2. Opening smaller is appropriate for the stack depths but it also keeps the BB’s calling range wide. In order to properly defend against that small an open, the BB should be defending nearly everything. That means I’m going to be able to take the pot without having a hand a lot of the time. Its a real bear because it puts the BB in a bad spot no matter what he does, call or fold or shove. That’s exactly where you want your opponents to be as often as possible.
  3. Splitting your range makes you very hard to play against. I leave myself several options but villain has no way to exploit whichever way I go. The opening range is polarized but strong for short-handed play. The shoving range is condensed but also contains some extremely strong hands - all of which perform well enough vs a calling range if I don’t get the fold. That being said, I don’t think its a big deal to go into push/fold at sub-15BB depths, especially in turbo formats. In longer format games, you still have some playability left and its a good tool to have in your kit.

@dayman - I don’t know whether splitting ranges is only for top pros anymore. I’m barely a competent tournament player and I’m using them to good effect now. I started to become familiar with the concept when studying blind on blind play and I think its a very good skill to bring to the table. Blind on blind spots are a pain in the butt for most players and finding ways to get an edge in them is important. This is even for deeper stacked play where players are splitting ranges between limping and raising. The game is getting harder and harder and people are looking everywhere for places to gain edges and introduce balance.


I hear ya man… I play maybe 2 or 3 tournaments a year so I’m probably well below competent. Although I do engage in some tournament discussion quite a bit in other study/text groups. As far as splitting ranges I agree with that bvb as there are some nuances to that you don’t get anywhere else. I know a couple of on-line tourney pros that are splitting range when blind on blind and they’re crushing it. I was mostly stuck on the 13 bb effective from the button though and I don’t feel like I articulate my thoughts well enough. I’m getting better at a quick rate. It’s amazing how quickly and how much you learn when you get around competent players who are playing the games you’re in for a living. You don’t know how much you don’t know until someone shows you and I literally don’t know ■■■■… lol. All this being said I will almost always defer to you when it comes to this stuff and especially with tournament discussion.


Its pushing the envelope for sure but so many online games are getting to final tables where everyone has ~30BB or less that short-stacked play is evolving. In a big live tournament I don’t ever want to see myself with this short a stack, except maybe at the final table. Online, you just have to get used to short-stack play and squeeze out any edge you can if you want a chance to win one. Actually, I think one of the final tables on the Poker Masters series had the final 4-5 players working off 20-25BB stacks and it was amazing to see how they handled that depth. They got more play out of a short stack than I’ve ever seen before. Cary Katz and Nick Petrangelo can get more mileage out of 20BBs than I ever thought possible before watching them do it.

Cheers yourself and Happy New Year

Pretty sure here I feel we are in agreement only because we know he’s shortstacked.

(for MekonKing)
Just watched hand, really, r u serious? Final table last 3 left, 20k, 35k, 46k stks.
So this is how I’m picturing this, without the WHOLE rest of the tournament to know how these players played, thought it said 25k buyin ?? blinds 750/1500+150.

99 thinks I’ll try and trap so limps, (sb) 10s2s is suited so says why not and limps, (bb)
chipleader has crap so just checks. Flop is 3 spades, one is a 9, one is a A. ( and the 3 )
Noone repp’d paint or the A preflop, houston we have a problem.

SB UTG decides to trap and fires out a minbet, perhaps rep’n a weak A. BB with crap, folds. Sure you flop’d a set, but thats not a dry board. You ruled out him having the flush, so you (Jam’d) shoved and got quick called. :zipper_mouth_face:

Cards are flipp’d, you see the bad news… and miracle of all miracles, you catch a 1 outter on the river for Quads, to cripple the SB and now you and chipleader are about even.

Dead Lucky : You’re soooo right. You were Dead and you got Lucky.

You play’d to trap, then didn’t keep the act. Once the 2 of you saw That flop, noone was going anywhere no matter how u2 played it. … Unless :thinking:
I understand the rational, you don’t want them to get a 4th spade, but you have to protect against the flush. There was 1 chance for you to get out. You both limped, then he’s minbetting ?? raise to 2.5bb as a valuebet, but seeking more info. If he 3!, then odds are he caught the flush, is not scared of the flush, or prolly has more than that weak Ace.
If he 3! you can fold trips for only 25% of your stack, or play on assuming you need a boat or quads to win, and you shove via the 4!. I have no clue how creative this player has been in past hands for a much better read here.

You played to trap then got greedy or were unsure , so overbet and got called.

(jk) Had the BB been Dayman, he wudda tried to punish the limpers, raise’d preflop, you wudda prolly shoved, SB wudda folded, Dayman prolly 3! or folds. ( prolly 3! & loses )

sry MekonKing, I think you play’d the hand poorly, and shudda lost your shirt. SB shudda open shoved the flop, and might’ve got you to fold. 3 limpers to the flop, 3 handed, last 3 ppl left, kinda even stacks, and then a flop like that.
:robot: Danger, Will Robinson, Danger :robot:

Not actually a 1 outer, because if any of the flop cards or turn pair, that is a full house. So a 10-outer.

But look. Having made the last 3 you are already in the money, so a nice chip win anyway (about 15 million chips for 3rd place). You are in 3rd place. This has been going on for a while. Sometimes you have to raise preflop with total garbage to knock down the blinds and stay in contention. It is getting late at night. You want to go to bed. You have other things to do. Tournament has been going on for a long time. This is not for real money, it is just a game. There is a strong chance that opponent is bluffing the flop, or has one spade for a flush draw, or has a weak ace or bottom pair. This might be the best chance for a while to change the game.

It may not be optimal play on the final table in WSOP, but what is a better way to win? Wait for pocket aces and knock down the blinds. (Actually the hand could have played out in similar fashion with pocket red Kings). Any pocket pair has about a 9% chance of making a full house by the river, but a set on the flop has about 33% chance of boarding that boat by the river.

Add together the probability that SB has not flopped a flush + probability that SB is bluffing, + probability that you will get a seat in the life boat by the river, and you are probably up to well over 50% and since you are already in 3rd place, you can only go up from here. If you go out, you go out.

I agree’d you got really lucky.
I fully understand the … well I already got 3rd so who cares mentality. What about the, I just spent 2 hrs getting here , 1st is 4x more than 3rd, and it will be over soon anyway ?

Yes, exactly a 1-outter to hit quads… not a 1-outter to win the hand.

If you have to go to bed, its late, or have something else to do… then why fart around, open shove till you win or lose and take your 3rd or better and leave. Lets not even discuss a hand that had no meaning to the player involved.

Yes we all have to take non-optimal hands and turn them into winners at certain times… all I said was you shudda lost and you got lucky, … that we both said, so we must agree on.

Games to some are only meant to be won, no matter the stakes. To others the payoff is the playing of the game itself. Had I known you didn’t care about the outcome of the hand, I wouldn’t have posted a reply. It was still fun to speculate in a light hearted manner how the 3 of you played the hand.

Your rank is higher than mine, plus much higher than the 2 ppl on that table, perhaps they were just quake’n in thier boots playing against you, who knows…lol.
Players have to mix up gameplay or they get read like a cheap novel. Again we both already know this and prolly agree on.

I get misquoted, corrected, talked down to, ect ect ect and it upsets me, so please don’t take my post as me bashing you. It was 1 hand, and had you not caught the river and lost, I offered a plausable way that hand couldda played out to allow you to get away from a disaster hand, that wudda busted you. Trust me I saw mistakes by all 3 players in that hand, but unless I was there for the last 100 hands, all I can do is guess and offer an opinion.