Planet Mark's Blog. Thoughts, News And Strategy For Poker Tournaments Of All Size

Does The Buy-In Matter? Really? It Did To Me!

Interesting situation came up the other night, while playing a bunch of 90 Player Knockouts on Full Tilt. Being time-limited (as ever!) I decided to start 8 at once at various buy-in levels, primarily to check out the difference in play between them. Now, playing these from $3 to $26 is surprisingly close when thinking about strategy. Sure there are a few less ‘crazies’ at the higher levels than the lower, but this is somewhat balanced by being able to assign reasonable ranges to the slightly higher buy-in players. 

What surprised me was my own reaction to a similar situation which came up 5 minutes or so apart at a $3 and a $26, both times a late position player shoved all in, both times I had a stack of around 10 blinds and both times a medium ace. In the $26 I thought for a while, decided my opponent was willing to do this with any-2 and that I was desperate enough to require a double-up with an active table reducing my stealing opportunities and then called.

In the $3 I thought ‘sod it, only a $3’ and called… yeah yeah, I'll justify being a calling station by the dire position of my stacks!  

When I thought about this it seemed a little odd, surely the same logic applied to both situations and the buy-in should not have mattered? It was not the $26 that made the difference, it was the fact that $3 seemed so insignificant. Which, in the true nature of my blog posts - got me thinking! So, some questions for readers – does the buy-in level affect your behavior, due-diligence before making a decision or how seriously you take a game?? Could this be a reason why so many players get stuck in the micros (assuming they have money from a job etc)?  Could this same phenomenon effect you negatively – for example folding into the money in a higher buy-in tournament when stealing would have a higher expectation over time??  

Plenty of ways this might make a difference at both ends of the buy-in scale... of course, those who beat the game at the higher levels learn to ignore the buy-in completely and think only in terms of ev... for us mere mortals this is a worthy aspiration - and identifying those times when the buy-in does affect our decsion making is a great start on the path. Food for thought if nothing else!  

Oh, you can see the detailed strategy article on those entertaining (and profitable) 90 player k/o SNGs here at SNG Planet via the 'SNG Main' link in the top menu!  

GL at the tables, Mark

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