I have played nearly all my poker on RP on either sit and go games or (mostly) in multi table tournaments, but just recently I have dabbled my toe in ring games.
I don’t think most people realize that these are two different games and that the conventional wisdom that holds for one version of the game may not be true for the other. It is almost like the difference between baseball and softball, or limited over white ball cricket vs red ball cricket, or rugby vs soccer.
For example with hands like AK, the conventional wisdom in ring games is that this hand is highly EV+ and should be played for a large pot at all times, which will win in the long run.
In MTTs however, AK is still a very good hand, but many, many factors have to be taken into account, for example it plays quite differently in the early rounds with low blinds, and on the final table of a MTT.
In the early rounds of a tournament it can be difficult to get one on one against an opponent. Even if you bet 5 or 10 BBs preflop you may get 2 or 3 or even more callers. If you shove preflop, you will either win a tiny pot preflop, or you will tend to be called by pocket pairs who are overdogs to you. If the pocket pair is something like TT and has the same suits as you, he will be a big overdog to you.
Then the flop comes and it misses you. Now what? Any bet large enough to drive off opponents (semibluff) will leave you facing elimination or crippled if you don’t win the pot.
So I have come to the conclusion that in the early stages of MTTs it may be best to limp this hand or just make a small preflop raise that may knock out the small blind, and then see how the flop looks. You will still win some big pots sometimes, and the beauty is that opponents will rarely put you on AK and may call value bets with inferior Aces or Kings.
Yesterday I played in a 1-million chip entry tournament and actually folded AQ preflop in the BB rather than call a raise from a stack less than half the size of mine, because losing the hand would leave me with a large chip loss if I did not win the pot and I would prefer to use the heft of my stack elsewhere to bully opponents. With AQ I would always prefer to raise from position and try to knock down the pot at the flop. If this hand is hit by the flop, opponents who want to teach me a lesson about making continuation bets when have nothing may get a nasty shock.
You may or may not like this play, but I did go on to win the tournament.
In tournaments, since you are nearly always facing elimination or dismemberment, it is always a question of two steps forward and one step back. I would much rather consistently nag and bully other players who don’t fight back than take on opponents head to head in so-called horse races unless I know that the odds must be in my favor.
After the hand that follows there were still 133 hands to the end of the tournament, but it was important, as you will see, as I also won 5 of the next 9 pots on an 8 player table.