Multi Qualifier Satellite Tournaments

With entry fees in major events ranging from 5,000 to 25,000 these days, a mini-industry of satellite tournaments has arisen, to give players a shot at the big money for a modest investment. In return for a relatively small entry fee, you get a chance for a free entry to a major event, plus some money toward expenses. In many cases the satellite tournaments are open-ended. All comers can play, and the organizers will give away as many free entries as they can, based on the number of...

PreFlop Strategy When First to Act Ivey vs DAgostino

Let's briefly take a look at how the players bet when they were first to act in the hand. A few ideas stand out as we look at Ivey's hands, 1. He never folded because of the pot odds. 2. With his strong hands he mostly raised, but mixed in a few calls. 3. With his weaker hands he mostly called, but mixed in a few raises. 4. His raises were in a very narrow range of 2 to 2.5 times the big blind. It was a strategy designed to mix up his hands and ke the pot small, and it was very consistently...

Hand Rankings in HeadsUp Play

Before I start describing the strategy of heads-up play, we need to do some preliminary work. To begin, let's create a chart that ranks your hole cards. We want to know which hands constitute the top 10 percent of all hands, the lop 20 percent of all hands, and so on. In this chart, hands are ranked by their ability to win an all-in confrontation against a single random hand. There's a lot of key information here, and we'll refer back to it throughout the chapter. Suited non-pairs AK - A8, KQ -...

Basic Pre Flop Betting Strategy

Now let's use the information we already have to construct a basic strategy for pre-flop betting. If you're uncomtortable playing heads-up, as many players are, this strategy will ensure that you're at least making reasonable plays pre-flop while staying out of a lot of trouble. If you want, you can play this strategy mechanically, since in a short heads-up session, in which very feW hands arc actually shown down, it's unlikely your opponent will get enough feedback to know just what you're...

Structured Hand Analysis SHAL

Most poker opinions are formulated from a combination of experience and intelligent guesswork. Consider problems like the following 1. I'm at an eight-handed table, in third position with ace-jack suited. My M is down to 5. The players behind me have been tight. There's one stack even smaller than mine. He's getting desperate. Am I strong enough to push all-in here 2. I'm in the big blind at a six-handed table. I'm holding king-ten offsuit. The guy in first position went all-in. His M was 4. I...

Back Alley Mugging

Betting When a Big Card Comes on a Late Street Another nice bluff to have in your arsenal is what I call the back-alley mugging. A scary card arrives on fourth or fifth street, a card that could swing the hand. It missed your hand, but your opponent doesn't know that you make a big, scary bet, and he folds. This is a nice play when you can make it, but a number of preconditions are required. 1. The card has to plausibly fit some hands that you might have been playing. If a king or a queen hits...

Beware the Great Overthink

A desire to be brilliantly clever has undone many a poker player. Most small-stack play is pretty obvious and straightforward once you understand the role played by M in determining your strategy. However, it's possible to overthink some situations, with tragic results. Warning What you are about to see may be disturbing to some viewers. Example 8. Final table, five players remain, all very experienced. Blinds are 15,000 and 30,000. You are the small stack with 160,000 in second position. The...

Some Other Examples of Inflection Point Play

In the Yellow and Orange Zones, many tough decisions revolve around how to raise a pot. Will you make a straight raise of a few times the big blind, or push all-in instead Here's an example of that kind of dccision-making in action. Example 7. An hour or so into a multi-table online tournament. Blinds are currently 25 50, but in a few hands they will rise to 50 100. Your stack is 1,180, and you're in the big blind. Players began with 1,500, and at this point the average stack is a little over...

Hand you

tuation Early in a major tournament. Player G has seemed moderately tight. P Ctlon t0 you Players A through F all fold. Player G raises, Pitting in 100 The small bHnd folds The pot is nQW 1 5 Question Do you fold, call, or raise Answer Here's an example of typical button small blind big blind play. The button raises, which could be anything from a pure value bet to a blatant steal attempt. You have a much better than average hand in the big blind, so you're entitled to make a substantial...

The Dark Tunnel Bluff

Hollywood cranks out a lot of cheap horror films which evolve around a pretty simple formula. A demented lunatic, - gjnied to the teeth with axes and hatchets, stalks about committing j mayhem. A bunch of supporting characters decide this would be - a really neat time to start wandering around caves, tunnels, and abandoned houses, looking for clues. While the audience shrieks, the maniac dispatches them in ever-more-gory fashion. This scenario often reminds me of how many beginners and .'...

Making Deals

A deal or a hedge as it's sometimes called is just an arrangement between two or more players to divide the prize money in some fashion that's different from the slated prize payout. For example three players remain in the tournament, all with roughly equal chip counts. The prizes for the last three places are 1,000,000 first, 400,000 second, and 200,000 for third. One player goes to the other two and says 800,000 is too big a swing for a coin flip. Let's all take 500,000, finish the...

Putting It All Together

To understand just how marvelously complicated and subtle no-limit hold 'em can be, we're going to concludc the book by looking at a series of three hands. These hands were played in the Plaza tournament held in June 2004, just after that year's World Series of Poker. The field was small only 68 players , and the format was unusual in that the blinds and antes increased very slowly throughout the event. Even at the final table, the Ms of most of the players were in the range of 40 to 200,...