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I've been playing more of those 90 player double stack SNG's on Full Tilt lately and I really like them. The double stacks allow me to open up my game early and not worry if I drop some chips while trying to build my stack. Even with the double stacks, people are still finding a way to donk of all their chips with top pair weak kicker (or worse) and I'm more than happy to be the recipient when possible.

Ideally, I would like to get to where I am playing the $50 buy-in, double stack 90 player 6 max SNG's on a regular basis. I just get the feeling those are a gold mine, and would allow me to play a short handed game which I love. We'll see if I can build the roll up enough to feel comfortable playing those regularly.

My wins and cashes in MTT's pale in comparison to some of our fellow broggers, but over time I know I can get to a point where I am happy with my game and reaping the rewards.

I've been trying to find a strategy with MTT's that I feel most comfortable with. I used to wander through MTT's always finding myself at or near the bubble needing a double up just to stay alive. I would usually bust on the bubble or barely make it into the money. Early on I was proud that I could make it in the money, but it doesn't take long to realize this is no way to be a profitable poker player. While it is great to get your money back when playing an MTT, do you really want to spend 3 - 8 hours of your life to win 1.5 - 3 times your buy-in? Me no think so.

The above duly noted, over the last year I've really tried to find my comfort zone and I'm finally coming into my own. I still have a ways to go before I feel completely comfortable with my actions, but it will come with time. I'm starting to get the hang of the small to mid-size MTT's with a few hundred people, but my strategy for the big honking MTT's with 1000+ people still needs work.

I'm not exactly happy with the level of buy-in that I'm currently at, but it is my own fault. I'd love to say that I've never withdrawn any money and I've built my game up to humongous levels, but I've just not been that type of poker player these last few years. I play when I want to play and enjoy when I do play. When I do win, I often find ways to use that money to help my family. I like to think of it as payback for them putting up with me and my little hobby. Does it cost me in the long run? Probably. Will I lose sleep over it? Nope. Hopefully I'll get to a point where I can build the roll and still let some seep out to the family, while still increasing my buy-ins over time.

Regarding the strategy I mentioned above that I'm trying to work on. It's not like what I'm doing is anything fantazmic. We've probably all seen or read about it in one book or another, but here is basically what I'm doing.

Early stages - I'm trying to limp into a lot of pots with hands that can double me up if I hit the board hard. I do choose my spots carefully, keeping position in mind. Still, I want to take advantage of the TPTK and TPWK monkeys who want to hand me their chips.

Middle stages - At this point I've usually doubled my stack or ready to get busy livin' or get busy dyin'. I'm not going to sit around and find myself with a tiny M that won't scare anyone off. If I'm getting low, here is a rule of thumb I like to live or die by. If my stack is half the average, I know I need to get real active and get some chips or it will be too late. If I can double up and be at or above the average, then I'll feel better about my chances of survival. I'd be interested to know what others think about this.

Near the bubble - This is where my game has improved dramatically the last few months. If the early and middle stages have gone well, then I am eating up the table right now. I'm raising and re-raising anytime I can sense weakness. I couldn't care less what my cards are at this point. If I can take down 3 or 4 of the blinds pre-flop every orbit, then I don't mind the occasional time that someone raises me. And if they call, I can usually wield the big stack enough to scare them off the hand. If I'm raised I have my answer and can fold and still have plenty of chips. This is usually the stage that I'm doing the most exploiting. This is the stage that I'm really not worried about what two cards I have as much as I am taking advantage of the other players weaknesses. This is my favorite stage of the tourney.

In The Money - Once the bubble has burst I am pretty open to whatever comes my way. Usually this is where people start getting all-in happy. They are so ecstatic about making 1.5 times the buy-in that they just start getting it all-in. Granted, sometimes the situation warrants an all-in fest, but it is usually because their stack has deteriorated while they've been trying to hang on until the money.

At this point, I'm hoping I can find some hands to chip up, but if not I'm okay with letting other folks eliminate each other. I would like to stay near the top of the pack in chips, so I want to get in the action when I can, but am not willing to donk it up just to eliminate a baby stack. Of course, if the pot odds or situation warrant a call, I'm in there like swimwear. Please forget I ever wrote that last sentence.

Near the final table - This is where I really want to take over the action again. I'm hoping for a monster so I can really build up my chips again, but I'm happy to just steal blinds. The beauty of this is when you are stealing blinds, eventually you will probably wake up with a big hand. If you just raise it up as usual, you will often find someone fed up who will push with a mediocre hand. This is just another great situation to build your stack.

Often people will get real tight in hopes they can final table an MTT, but I know that the real money doesn't come until probably 1st – 3rd place. Much like the money bubble earlier, I want to take advantage of the tightness of the table and the situation at hand. This is where the table gets to be shorthanded and it is much easier to take down blinds and antes or get into a hand where you can take a monster chip lead going into the final table.

Final table - This is where I go back into a similar phase to the "In The Money" phase listed above. Again, there are a few short stacks that have to get it all-in and if I can, I will try and take them out. If not, I'm happy to sit back and let things happen around me. With each elimination, it's like money in the bank.

Depending on the type of tournament, final tables can have plenty of hands and play or the blinds could be so high that all-in action is the norm. At this point, I'm just looking to take any advantage that will put me in a situation to win the tournament. Hopefully I am chip leader at this point, but if not, I'm trying to find my way there.

I've wanted to get the above scenario out of my head so I can continue to work on it and find the mold that fits me best. Chime in if you have any thoughts. Of course, some of the situations above vary depending on the type and size of the tournament, but I consider that a work in progress.

Things have been rather busy for me at home and work, so apologies for the lack of posts lately. I don't expect it to get any better through the rest of the year. The little time I have to jump on the computer is usually spent playing some poker and I just haven't had time at work to slap up a quick post.

That said, hopefully I'll be able to put a post or two up this week.

Until next time, may the felt be with you.

posted by TripJax @ 11:15 AM,


At 1:43 PM, Blogger Pokerwolf said...

It's interesting that you use average stack size to determine when to get more active. I use the leaderboard, mostly. If I'm in the bottom third of the field, then I get busy.

At 2:34 PM, Blogger TripJax said...

I try to put in a mix of my M along with the average to determine where I stand. I do occasionally look at my current place in the remaining players as well.

Good point...

At 9:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The "P" is all about the "M", baby.

At 6:14 PM, Blogger CarmenSinCity said...

I like the double stack games too. I'm really glad I moved most of my money to FT.

At 3:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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