I had got up to a ranking in the top 500, based solely on tournament play. Then I had to go overseas for a couple of weeks and did not play. On my return I hit a losing spell. I was not playing badly, but nothing went my way. On a few occasions I had to abort tournaments due to having other things to do, but this was not a major factor. I lost a lot of chips due to playing 3 times in the Granddaddy Of Them All tournament which has an entry fee of 5 million chips. I you discount them, I have more or less broken even over the last 2 months.
However I gradually returned to form and over the last 10 MTTs, I have had 2 wins, 3 second places, and two other money finishes, with 3 failures, so not too bad. The only thing is that I think I am now losing interest in poker, as I have probably gone as far as I can, and have other more constructive things to do with my time now that the weather is a little cooler here in the northern hemisphere of Planet Venus, where the weather is similar to north Florida for you earthlings.
Right now I am enjoying the cheaper tournaments more than the high buy-ins. Two reason for this: 1) In the 250,000 plus tournaments, you see the same opponents all the time and it gets a bit boring, 2) the larger buy in tournaments have smaller fields, which translates to smaller stacks at the final table and less prize money relative to the entry fee.
Last night I won a little tournament with just a 50,000 buy-in, but with 128 entrants the prize money was not too bad, even though 25 players were in the money, at least getting refunds of entry fee plus some change.
It was surprising that some of the players who made the final table were ranked as high (low) as 500,000 or worse, so relative newbies, but still putting up a tough fight at the end.
I got off to a good start with this play. With two black aces in early position, I just shoved, fairly certain that one or two players would call me, and was lucky enough to get a caller with a dominated ace, so I got my early double up. In these low entry tournaments with over 100 entrants, you have to do something early on to get your nose in front.
As with any victory, sometimes you need luck to go your way. On the hand that follows, in many cases I would have folded preflop, but I sensed that the raiser, based on his earlier play, was not really looking for a call.
In this hand, I had observed that the player to my left was an incredibly loose caller, and I needed a double up, but I was well beaten until the river delivered the card I wanted.
The method of winning these tournaments is as follows:
- Get a good start with a double up while there are still a lot of very loose players to kick around.
- Play tight, avoid raising preflop with unpaired cards if you are going to get several callers. You will just deplete your stack this way. Abandon suited flops if you have no cards of the relevant suit.
- See cheap flops if you cards have some kind of draw potential or suited Aces. Abandon suited flops if you have no cards of the relevant suit. Do not play flush draws unless you have the Ace of that suit, or have other potential out that might win the pot.
- Aim for a double up or bluff steal any time your stack get down to around 10 big blinds.
- Play tight around the bubble.
- Play tight if the final table is just around the corner. With ten players left in the tournament, you might not want to risk all your chips stealing in a 5-handed game when you could be in a 9-handed game on the next hand, where you have few more hands between blinds.
- On the final table attack the stacks that are smaller than yours. If you are the smallest stack try to attack the third or fourth smallest stacks preflop.
- On the final table try to raise/steal a lot, but avoid calling any raises unless you have a pocket pair that could lead at the flop without improving, in which case reraise.This way you have 3 ways to win the pot–either opponent folds preflop, or you win on the flop, or you win at showdown.
- When down to the last 3, if you are not in the blinds either raise to take the pot preflop, or fold, do not limp unless you have AA, KK, QQ and plan to surprise an opponent if the flop looks good for you. If you raise preflop and opponent reraises all-in, fold if you hand is trash.