common MTT spots - +2-5% Stack play really profitable?

TessaiTessai Red Chipper Posts: 14 ✭✭

after watching the "common MTT spots" Video I find it hard to believe, that it's a good Idea to risk the whole tournament on a play resulting on +2 to +5% more chips. I understand that on average I am getting more chis with the plays and have to keep playing because the blinds will eat me up. But 2-5% seems so little on average.

I run ICMizer with the positive $ winnings per play, here it is mathematically clear to win, since it playes out the payout as well. But even there, should you make plays beeing only a few cent +EV in a tournament paying 300$? There should be better spots with more EV or?


  • TheGameKatTheGameKat Posts: 2,070 -
    I think the issue is the following. In the late stages of a tournament, the game is short-stacked and pretty much all the action is preflop. As Doug pointed out in another thread, the push-fold realm is pretty much solved, so to deviate too far from it is generally a bad idea. Thus if ICMizer tells you the play wins chips, the default is to take it. Plus you're unlikely to find much better spots at this stage in a tournament. There simply aren't enough hands left before you lose FE and are completely up a gum tree.

    But there are two caveats. While it's true that the equilibrium solutions are well established for this regime, note that Gareth in the video wasn't using equilibrium solutions, he was locking the ranges of the opponents. Now if you do a lot of this work off the table and are excellent at ranging your opponents in real time (in a live tournament), this will be a great benefit. But it's tough live. So I've heard some people say they like to have a fairly high threshold of how much over EV=0 they are before making committing plays. Frankly this never made a lot of sense to me in that without knowing which direction we're wrong I don't see this is a solution to our own ignorance. But if your best estimate of, say, a 3-bet shove is that the play is break even, sure, skip it.

    The second caveat is Phil Hellmuth, or at least he's the best-known example. Phil has been made fun of for years for some of his plays (typically folds) that according to ICMizer and other tools he should be getting his chips in. I recall watching a couple on TV and literally wincing. But one can't ignore the fact that Phil is one of the most successful tournament players of all time. Without getting too off topic, my guess is Phil is absurdly good at live reads and passing up +EV spots for him is worth it. But there may only be a handful of people in the world for whom this is true.

    Bottom line, in online tournaments if a play is +EV I think you need a very good reason to turn it down, partly because you have more data thus the math is more solid. Live the "good reason" may be that you are reading your opponents well enough or they are sufficiently weak that you will find a better spot. But unless you're supernatural at reading people, I wouldn't recommend deviating far from the math.
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