ICM and tournament general questions

jfarrow13jfarrow13 Red Chipper Posts: 1,254 ✭✭✭✭
I've been playing more tournaments online, and been having some OK results I suppose. I haven't won any yet, and I think it's probably pretty hard to win any tournament, BUT, I seem to be doing a lot of min/medium cashing, rather than top 5 finishes. I only have 2 top 5 finishes in about 30 tournaments played, and 8 cashes, which is actually OK...but sadly I'm actually still down total money (no deep runs in bigger buy-in tournaments, top 5 finishes in $1 and $5.50). A lot of times, once I'm in the money, I rarely find myself being one of the "big stacks", as I try to select my spots well, and don't do a ton of aggressive stack building plays. I always seem to get KO'd getting my money in good, but sometimes I wonder if it's worth it if I have like 15-20 BB's left, top 15, to just really sit around and wait for more people to get KO'd, or try to build up a stack to get into the top 8+, where the pay jumps really seem to start to matter. I've also realized that when I got 2nd, you gotta just win flip, flip, hold vs 35% FD, hold vs 30% SD, ect, should I just keep plugging away with my "small ball" strategy, or try to switch it go and go for some "go big or go home" strats?


  • TheGameKatTheGameKat Posts: 3,523 -
    This is a really good question and there's a lot of ways of addressing it, but let me throw out a few ideas and let others pick it up.

    When I was playing online MTTs for a living I got quite obsessive about this question. (Online = data, data = data analysis.) Something I noticed was that you can have an ITM% that is too high. In other words, there seemed to be a ROI% peak that occurred for an ITM% significantly lower than many okay-but-not-great players were showing. Boring stats caveat: like almost everything of any interest, the distributions have broad peaks so any correlation has quite a lot of slop in it. That said, the folklore that in big MTTs that you played to finish top 3 and not min-cash seemed to have some merit.

    (I imagine if it ever rains in Vegas @Doug Hull could probably simulate this.)

    Anyway, with this in mind I changed my strategy to attempt to build a big stack early, and from what I could make out it wasn't actually helping. Which may say something about my lack of skill rather than the validity of the concept. What I finally settled on and what still works for me is not going out of my way to try and build a big stack. In fact I play fairly tight in the early levels, open up a bit when the antes kick in, then go pretty nuts when the bubble is in sight. From PokerStars 2003 to WSOP.com 2018 this approach seems to have remained fairly successful. I guess there's just a huge psychological resistance for people who have played 3-4 hours and hate the idea of busting with a min-cash in sight. A common and I believe successful strategy is to use that against them.
    Moderation In Moderation
  • AceFromSpaceKKAceFromSpaceKK Red Chipper Posts: 303 ✭✭✭
    edited October 2018
    As a bigstack you should be more aggressive on the money bubble and on final 2 tables. This is the where you should go out of line and apply pressure, but dont bluff it away against stations ;)
    As TheGameKat said, dont be the person who just wants to cash. A high ITM% isnt always good. You register to WIN it and nothing else.
  • TheGameKatTheGameKat Posts: 3,523 -
    Just came across an old pod on the topic: https://redchippoker.com/stop-min-cashing-start-shipping-podcast/
    Moderation In Moderation
  • LeChiffreLeChiffre NetherlandsRed Chipper Posts: 641 ✭✭✭
    TheGameKat wrote: »

    Great. Added to the top of my RCP podcast queue on the way to and from work. =)

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