One year on RP

So finally I have completed one year. I started with 0 chips and now have hit 55 million and change, plus I have a ticket to enter a 50,000 chip tournament that I won the other night.

So this is what I have learned in 365 days on RP:

  1. Getting the first 1 million chips is the hardest. I have only played in Sit and Go’s and MTTs, with perhaps a dozen hands of ring game that have not contributed to my totals. You have to start out at the lowest level where hordes of players will raise, reraise, call, and shove with worthless hands, so when you raise preflop with AK suited and get 4 callers, you become just one dog in the pack and your chances of winning the hand are less than your chances of being eliminated altogether.

However eventually you start to win some Sit and Go’s and get enough chips to enter MTTs, then you get a big win or two, and you are able to escalate to higher entry tournaments, and so on.

  1. After about 10 months I had accumulated 20 million chips and won my achievement badge for winning more than 10 MTTs. Then in the last week in July I entered the Granddaddy of Them All MTT and lost 5 million chips. Now down to 15 million chips, I did what any sensible person would do, and entered the late night rerun of the same tournament, so now my bankroll was down to 10 million.

This forced me to concentrate and not multitask while playing, and I was lucky enough to finish in 2nd place, win 25 million chips, taking me to 35 million chips and a RP ranking in the coveted (by me) top 1000.

Over the next 4 weeks I have played in a variety of MTTs, mostly with entry fees of 1/4 million or 1 million chips, and have added another 20 million chips, taking me to 55 million and an RP ranking of 540.

  1. One thing I have learned is that once you make the higher buy-in tournaments, it is actually easier to get into the prize money, because the players are more rational and really want to get into the money, and not just join in multiway pots to see if they can hit a flop with a random hand. At the same time, the standard of play is not very good and you can benefit hugely from the mistakes of others by simply not playing many hands.

  2. Here are the the main things you need to do on RP to win chips in MTTs.

  1. Do not limp unless possibly in the small blind, or in late position with a small pair with which you want to mine a set on the flop. Fold it if you miss.

  2. Do not call preflop raises unless you have a pocket pair at least as high as 9, or possibly AK or AQ. The main reason for this is that if you call a raise with 2 unpaired cards, if you miss the flop, you will be at the mercy of the original raiser. You can waive this rule if you have a much larger stack than the original raiser, and then play the hand as if a small pair.

  3. Think about the odds. If you have a one in 7 chance of hitting a set on the flop with your pair of 2’s, are you getting 7:1 odds, including implied odds? Also remember that any other set will beat a set of 2’s.

  4. Steal, steal, steal. Raise relentlessly preflop once the blinds start to escalate. If you don’t get good cards, use junk cards. Most of your opponents will be timidly limping because they are too scared to raise preflop, so if you are sitting quietly in the BB and two very loose players limp at you, you will very likely take down the pot with any two cards if you shove at them as they will fear you have a high pair, and nearly always fold. (Not so in lower entry tournaments, where players who want to see a flop will call any raise with any two cards.) This move will also make other players fearful of limping to your BB.

  5. If you encounter strong resistance to stealing, and miss the flop, back off, and resume stealing operations on the next hand.

  6. In the final stages of MTTs around the bubble, play as few hands as necessary and let other players make mistakes. It is always best to be first into the pot, as you will often take the blinds with no cards.If you are calling raises, it will be difficult to take the pot with nothing.

  7. With less than 12 Big Blinds in your stack, you need to shove preflop to steal the blinds, or hopefully get called and double up. Sometimes you will also get called and eliminated, but if you double up, you will be right back in the tournament. If you are down to 2 or 3 BB, try to shove into a pot that already has at least 2 participants, so that if you do perchance win, you will at least treble your stack.

  8. When you get to the final stages of MTTs and are in the money, this is the time to start slow-playing and tricking opponents into bluffing into your sets, straights, and flushes. At this point a double up may put you into the lead.

  9. When you are in the lead, play very tight, and allow opponents to destroy each other. The smallest stacks must play, you can afford to fold.

  10. If there are 40 players in a MTT and only 7 get prize money, you will lose most of the time, however by using tried and trusted tactics, you should be able to improve your win rate to the extent that you steadily increase your account size and ranking. You will always need a certain amount of luck to win a tournament. In this MTT I finished in 2nd place from what seemed like a hopeless position:

  1. Remember that AK is just an unpaired hand. It’s great advantage is that any pair it makes is top pair top kicker, and against any other unpaired hand, it wins if neither hand makes a pair or better. However it is not infallible and is very vulnerable to any pocket pair, even 22. Probably more people are eliminated from MTTs with AK than any other hand.

  2. If you never get all-in against a larger stack without the nuts, you will win every tournament.

  1. At all stages of a tournament, you need to take note of everything that everyone does. If a player shows his cards on winning a hand, that might be valuable information about how he plays. Always be aware of your position in the tournament, blind sizes, how long until blind goes up, the size of every stack at your table, any previous history between yourself and an opponent, and how that might affect their play.

In this hand SB had previously limped to my BB and I shoved back and SB folded. This time SB was probably determined not to be bullied any more:

  1. Sometimes you will lose unfairly when you have played brilliantly. Get over it.

  2. Am I a good player? Probably not. Many years ago I when it was kind of legal to play for money online, I played on various poker sites. The peak of my achievement was to win back-to-back $2 entry tournaments with 100 players in each. I am a much better player now, but I doubt if I could ever play for money and make any significant kind of profit in MTTs and am unlikely to even try.

Probably ring games are the best route to actually making money, assuming that the online poker site would ever let you withdraw your winnings, but to me they are too boring.


Actually it was not quite the end of the year as I played another little MTT today within the qualifying period.