I'm a cash game player, looking for advice.

    • SheepMoose
      SheepMoose
      Bronze
      Joined: 15.01.2009 Posts: 854
      Lately I've moved away from cash games. I love cash games, I love being able to sit at the table for a couple of hours and not get blinded out.

      For the past few days though I have been trying my hand at tournaments. This has really shown me my main weaknesses, as I can never do well.

      What can I do to improve my game? No matter how many players there are in a tournament I can't finish in the money, let alone finish first.

      Recommendations?
  • 16 replies
    • gaz639
      gaz639
      Bronze
      Joined: 03.05.2008 Posts: 506
      read the sng/tournament articles, i use just about the same handrange as sng shc, except in early stages i limp in late with suited connectors and suited A's, and practice on the icm trainer
    • SheepMoose
      SheepMoose
      Bronze
      Joined: 15.01.2009 Posts: 854
      I've tried everything. I've tried reading strategies, using ICM trainer, etc..
      But I just cannot do well in a tournament.
    • REmmell
      REmmell
      Bronze
      Joined: 21.04.2009 Posts: 25
      Hey Sheep,
      You need to understand that tournaments are played in three stages. Early where you play as tight as possible playing nothing but premium hands like AA-QQ as well as AK.
      Then during the middle phase you may add a couple of hands such as AQ-AJ KQs. Your really just trying to survive with as many chips as possible for the late stage where it becomes more a game of push/fold (you either push all in or fold) dictated by your chip stack and the amount of Big blinds you have remaining. This is usually where you will make your money once you master the first two stages of the game.

      The poker einstein download in the basic sitngos area is all you need to follow to get the hang of it in my opinion. There is also a guide to proper bankroll management in there as well. Without it mastering the game will be useful but the downswings will cripple you if you play above your BRM level.

      Hope this helps.

      Regards

      REmmell
    • SheepMoose
      SheepMoose
      Bronze
      Joined: 15.01.2009 Posts: 854
      So I just played a tournament. Came 1000th out of 4000. Just missed cashing in the money. :(
    • Toomaskoo
      Toomaskoo
      Bronze
      Joined: 13.06.2008 Posts: 2
      You can't stop learning, You have to read literature. I hardly recommend You to read Harrington On Hold'Em - volume 1-3 and Doyle Brunson's Super System - A Course in Power Poker (1 and 2). When You have read those books concentrated, then I am sure, that You will end those tournaments in the cash most of the time.

      Good luck at the tables,

      Toomas
    • AussieIan
      AussieIan
      Bronze
      Joined: 10.12.2007 Posts: 366
      keep pluggin away moose.....it's always harder in tourneys because you are going to have to win some showdowns and need some luck. Like people have said already, keep it tight early and then you can use your table image to steal some blinds later (i usually wait till the antes have started and it adds more value). Play your big hands hard, and hope they hold. Good luck
    • nafar84
      nafar84
      Bronze
      Joined: 20.09.2008 Posts: 546
      Harrington's book is THE Bible for tournament play. Without it you're a lost MTT soul.

      Also high variance. "past few days" is nowhere near enough to evaluate how well you're doing.
    • SheepMoose
      SheepMoose
      Bronze
      Joined: 15.01.2009 Posts: 854
      Originally posted by REmmell
      Hey Sheep,
      You need to understand that tournaments are played in three stages. Early where you play as tight as possible playing nothing but premium hands like AA-QQ as well as AK.
      Then during the middle phase you may add a couple of hands such as AQ-AJ KQs. Your really just trying to survive with as many chips as possible for the late stage where it becomes more a game of push/fold (you either push all in or fold) dictated by your chip stack and the amount of Big blinds you have remaining. This is usually where you will make your money once you master the first two stages of the game.

      The poker einstein download in the basic sitngos area is all you need to follow to get the hang of it in my opinion. There is also a guide to proper bankroll management in there as well. Without it mastering the game will be useful but the downswings will cripple you if you play above your BRM level.

      Hope this helps.

      Regards

      REmmell
      Will small pocket pairs be played for set value in the early phase?
    • REmmell
      REmmell
      Bronze
      Joined: 21.04.2009 Posts: 25
      Will small pocket pairs be played for set value in the early phase?


      I usually only play small pairs in the early stage when there are at least 5 players in before me (including sb bb) that way you are getting proper value to chase a set.Also I will never call more than 3 bets if this is the case and ill usually call from all positions.

      Mid game you need to tighten up if your chipstack is not healthy (over 13 BB) and usually I wont call with anything less than 99 now.I make it a point to play them only in mid to late position against no raises.
      If your under 13 BB before you reach the money, your in push fold mode. Here you need to know your opponents style of play and you will need to make an educated decision as to wether or not its time to make your move. If you do decide to push you want to make sure your the first one to raise the pot and of course its all in or nothing.

      Get the idea?

      Let me know if you understand what im preaching here.Hope this helps. Good luck!
    • SheepMoose
      SheepMoose
      Bronze
      Joined: 15.01.2009 Posts: 854
      Originally posted by REmmell

      I usually only play small pairs in the early stage when there are at least 5 players in before me (including sb bb) that way you are getting proper value to chase a set.Also I will never call more than 3 bets if this is the case and ill usually call from all positions.

      Mid game you need to tighten up if your chipstack is not healthy (over 13 BB) and usually I wont call with anything less than 99 now.I make it a point to play them only in mid to late position against no raises.
      If your under 13 BB before you reach the money, your in push fold mode. Here you need to know your opponents style of play and you will need to make an educated decision as to wether or not its time to make your move. If you do decide to push you want to make sure your the first one to raise the pot and of course its all in or nothing.

      Get the idea?

      Let me know if you understand what im preaching here.Hope this helps. Good luck!
      Makes perfect sense. :)
      But for now I think I might have a break from poker. I really just can't seem to squeeze a profit out of anything these days. Been getting a cold deck two, get something like pocket 3's/4's/6's/8's/9's/2's and all, and I haven't hit a single set.

      Back to the strategy articles. And if you guys have any advice on becoming a profitable player please let me know!
    • qwery1
      qwery1
      Bronze
      Joined: 01.05.2008 Posts: 356
      One think, if you want win tourney, you must be prepared to lose it. What I mean dont matter if you reach the money, try win some tourney. This is where mtt profits are. Try survive is advice for old live tourneys, online is different. On friday is mtt coachings with grummeler, be there, best place for these questions. This ps coach is online mtt pro.
    • SheepMoose
      SheepMoose
      Bronze
      Joined: 15.01.2009 Posts: 854
      I've really had enough of poker stars for now I think.
      I love the support team, and the range of games, but the donks sucking out on your over and over and over again really gets to me.
      I've had 30 pockets 9's+/- and haven't once gotten a set. Go all in with top pair good kicker, and some donk makes his gutshot.

      argh.
    • rhinoneil
      rhinoneil
      Gold
      Joined: 16.04.2008 Posts: 1,159
      I think one really important point you need to remember is that when you are playing mtts with 200+ entries, you are far more likely to lose than to get in the money.
      For example, how many of the top land based or indeed online tournaments have the same people winning over and over? Not many.
      Its quite possible, and in fact probable, that you could play 100 or more without cashing, that is just the nature of mtts and you have to accept that you will lose a lot more than you will win or cash in.
      Mtts imo are not the way forward in building a bankroll, especially for an inexperienced tournament player.
      You should use them as more of a gamble, ie low entry with the possibility, remote though it may be, to win big.
      Pokerstars in particular, and most other sites also are top heavy in their payout structure which means that you dont make any real money unless you finish in the top 5, let alone final table.
      My advice would be to try some stts first, then progress to multi table sngs on stars, moving up to 18, 45, 90 & 180 seaters as you gain more experience.
      In terms of strategy for big field mtts, there are conflicting theories in terms of how to play.
      Some people recommend playing loose early to try to build a stack quickly.
      Personally I dont think this is right for most people, and in my opinion which I think is a valid one, tournament play is simply a matter of survival.
      No mtts are decided in the first couple of hours, in fact you will often find that the chip leader when the bubble bursts doesnt make the final table. These tournaments only really start when it is down to the last couple of tables.
      So my advice is, if you play mtts, play ultra tight early and wait for premium hands early on. Limp in by all means in position with pocket pairs or suited aces, as long as you can get in cheap. Forget suited connectors altogether at this stage. Look at the average chip stack and just try to stay around that figure. Play premium hands aggressively and look to get all the chips in good. In most mtts you actually only need to double up 6 or 7 times, maybe less to make the money.
      You should discount bluffing at this stage completely because someone will always call you down.
      After the first 2 or 3 hours, if you are still hanging in there, you can then make the occasional steal in position, but dont get greedy, just survive. In my opinion you dont need to be at all creative until way after the bubble bursts and you are in the money, and once down to the last 2 or 3 tables, then you can start playing to win, using your tight image to steal and also taking a gamble now and again.
      In order to win, you absolutely have to win the coin flips and have your good hands hold up.
    • Toomaskoo
      Toomaskoo
      Bronze
      Joined: 13.06.2008 Posts: 2
      If you want to beat MTTs then you MUST read alot of books! If you don't, then it will probably take years before you master MTTs... As i said before, buy/loan Harringtons On Hold'Em 1-3 and DB Supersystem 1-2.
    • SheepMoose
      SheepMoose
      Bronze
      Joined: 15.01.2009 Posts: 854
      Originally posted by rhinoneil
      I think one really important point you need to remember is that when you are playing mtts with 200+ entries, you are far more likely to lose than to get in the money.
      For example, how many of the top land based or indeed online tournaments have the same people winning over and over? Not many.
      Its quite possible, and in fact probable, that you could play 100 or more without cashing, that is just the nature of mtts and you have to accept that you will lose a lot more than you will win or cash in.
      Mtts imo are not the way forward in building a bankroll, especially for an inexperienced tournament player.
      You should use them as more of a gamble, ie low entry with the possibility, remote though it may be, to win big.
      Pokerstars in particular, and most other sites also are top heavy in their payout structure which means that you dont make any real money unless you finish in the top 5, let alone final table.
      My advice would be to try some stts first, then progress to multi table sngs on stars, moving up to 18, 45, 90 & 180 seaters as you gain more experience.
      In terms of strategy for big field mtts, there are conflicting theories in terms of how to play.
      Some people recommend playing loose early to try to build a stack quickly.
      Personally I dont think this is right for most people, and in my opinion which I think is a valid one, tournament play is simply a matter of survival.
      No mtts are decided in the first couple of hours, in fact you will often find that the chip leader when the bubble bursts doesnt make the final table. These tournaments only really start when it is down to the last couple of tables.
      So my advice is, if you play mtts, play ultra tight early and wait for premium hands early on. Limp in by all means in position with pocket pairs or suited aces, as long as you can get in cheap. Forget suited connectors altogether at this stage. Look at the average chip stack and just try to stay around that figure. Play premium hands aggressively and look to get all the chips in good. In most mtts you actually only need to double up 6 or 7 times, maybe less to make the money.
      You should discount bluffing at this stage completely because someone will always call you down.
      After the first 2 or 3 hours, if you are still hanging in there, you can then make the occasional steal in position, but dont get greedy, just survive. In my opinion you dont need to be at all creative until way after the bubble bursts and you are in the money, and once down to the last 2 or 3 tables, then you can start playing to win, using your tight image to steal and also taking a gamble now and again.
      In order to win, you absolutely have to win the coin flips and have your good hands hold up.
      Wow, thanks a lot. that's great advise!
      I tried one SNG last night on pokerstars. It was a qualifier into the 1/2 million tournament, first place qualifies.
      second hand I played I tripled up. I had a set of 2's, and two people had flush draws. the flush didn't come, and I hit a full house on the river.

      Out of the 9 people though, I came second and sadle; didn't qualify. :(
      I came close though.
    • Dohh
      Dohh
      Bronze
      Joined: 16.07.2008 Posts: 3
      Hey.

      First of all sorry for my bad English.

      I would argue that tournaments are not suitable for bankroll building. I play mostly at pokerstars. I have done about 100 tournaments, and have had 2times 1st place (out of 180), 1 time 3rd (out of 180), 1 time 4th(out of 180), 1 time 5th (out of 180), many times at cash place on different tournaments (from 180 to 6000 players).

      Why I think you have not succeeded, is... that while playing tournaments, there is a bit different meaning for a word BAD LUCK. So what is bad luck anyway? Imo it's when you have a really nice hand, you go all in (and you have absolutely right to do so...), some donk calls you with virtually nothing, draws straight on river and you're out of the tournament... Sounds familiar?

      The big difference between cash table and tournament is, that short stack strategy (any many more strategies) just wont work. If you go all in from small stack and lose, you bring more chips to the table and are happy again. But the tournament is over the second it happens. Now. Look at your previous games. What are hands that you are ready to go all with? Do you go all in with QQ? JJ? AK? Seems that these hands are all right to go all in with? NO! Why?

      For example. AK suited seems a really nice hand. At the same time, your opponent has 7+8 not suited. You still have an advantage but only about 2:1 to win this pot pre flop. If you go all in with AK suited against 7+8 for two times, it's bigger chance that you lose one of them than that you will win both.

      Sample 2: you have KK preflop. Almost godlike hand! If player with A8 not suited calls you ALL IN he has about 30% chance of winning the hand. If this happens twice you have about 50:50 chances to win both of the hands or quit the tournament...

      What I'm saying is, that shite luck happens, because it has to happen. You can't probably ever complete a tournament without going all in. I'm not saying that you should not do it. I'm telling you should pick opponent very carefully against whom you go all in. These are players with short stacks who are forced to go all in, blind stealers and so on. Try to avoid going all in against bigger stack than yourself (except the case having AA ofc). They are not idiots either. You may have wonderful hand, but your chances are still 50:50 of getting kicked out from the tourney.

      On tournaments there is one good time to be agressive and eat blinds. When paid places are near and people dont want to risk. Then its where you should act. You have sat quite quietly and have an imago of tight player. People are not very likely to call you if they know it would cost them to quit the tournament right before paid places. Raise blinds even with average hands and fold to reraises/ all ins. Dont try to steal from huge stacks. All small stacks wait someone to fall out, so they fold even stronger hands, as they dont want to be left unpayed. You will collect more chips than you think....

      In final table... Oh... That's where you should pray for good hands:) If you have the small stack... you have to put it on one cards and try to double up. With large stack you steal from smaller. Every place higher is well paid - their only answer can be either FOLD or ALL IN. Mostly fold:)