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

Some Insights From A Small Tournament Victory

I do not often write about my own play here at SNG Planet. Since the size and reach of the site is now so large, I feel that my individual games are really not that important! After a small win in a PLO tournament (a hardly brag-worthy $3+rebuy!) I realized that there were a few interesting points in the game which would fit well with the beginners / improvers who enjoy this site. Names have been omitted to protect the fish!

First up, I marked someone out as a fish very early… and it turned out to be a bad assumption. This player was raising 80% of hands, c-betting every time and going to the end against all but the fiercest resistance. He was 2 to my right (6-max game), which should have been an excellent opportunity… Alas no, even those times to did outflop him or force a fold it seemed a nit playing 6% of hands was lurking behind me with the stone-cold nuts. Anyway, back to Mr Aggressive. I color coded him green, made a note that he was a bona-fide nutcase and went about my business. Later on he would double me up in a key hand. Later still the game had entered the late stages and he was still around, still massively aggressive and still had a decent chip stack. It was at that point I right-clicked him and used the ‘find this player’.

In addition to being deep one of the bigger games, he was doing well in a couple more – and in addition had 8 or so 180 SNGs running. Far from being a fish this player was a multi-tabler with a pretty decent LAG style. I focused a little more (I had been in several games and was now just in this one) and saw that he was putting pressure on people in some very good spots, and was leaving himself plenty of room to fold when things got multi-way. So, I changed the color to light blue, which I use for multi-tablers… the lesson to pass on is to that your first impressions (especially when multi-tabling yourself) might not be good – you had better be prepared to change them!

Ugly Beats No bad beat stories allowed on my blogs (this has been a policy since my very first blogger blog in 2005ish!). Let me just say that it involved a gutshot, a call (so not even some long-shot semi-bluff on my opponents part) and left me 13th of 15… when winning that hand would have left me 2nd.. bah! Anyway, even though I had moved from my favorite Hungarian lager (Soproni) to good old Jack Daniels (with ice, I’m not one of those sick people who pours coke on top!) by this stage – I resisted the urge to shove in my last 5 BBs with the next hand which came along, and the next one. I see this so many times in all forms of poker. Players lose a hand, then literally give away their remaining equity (or just money in a cash game) on the very next hand. Happy to say I resisted the urge, doubled up, blinded down for an orbit or two and then doubled again. With some fold equity back I and the pay jumps seemingly turning everyone else tight-passive, I was able to fight my way to mid-field by the time we hit the last 2 tables.

Fishy Final Tables Here is the last thing that struck me as blog-worthy, the final table of 6 players contained 3 confirmed fish… well, 4 if you count me! I did not think that the other 2 players were great by any means, though they were at least competent with reading of situations and bet sizes. The others were simply awful. We are talking about a guy who only ever raised A-A-x-x hands and  did not like to fold them when he missed (if you are not familiar with PLO this is suicidal, since the pot is so small pre-flop and you give away your hand with lots of chips behind, offering huge implied odds to your opponents). One guy was ultra-loose and ultra-passive pre flop, then folded any flop he missed to min-bets and slowplayed big hands all the way, every time! At least one of the other decent players caught on to this, and we were completing to isolate him / play when he was in the big blind a good few times… a great source of chips. Anyway, deals were mentioned, but one player never responded, and gradually we got down to heads-up. Myself and a Romanian gentleman who was one of the 2 'better' players. I am sure this was a gentleman as his avatar was a beautiful model, lets face it – women are just not that sad!

I was 3/1 down in chips starting off, and he was raising every button and betting every flop. Already on JD #5 I had to be fearless, this kind of opponent will just murder you with stealing pots otherwise. My hand criteria went way down, re-raises went in regularly and my button became my launchpad for major offensives... and somehow I doubled... then took then lead... and then shipped all the chips … the lesson here is that ‘bulldozing’ a passive opponent is a fantastic heads-up strategy – but when your opponent wakes up and starts fighting you really need to be a little more flexible. One final thing. My long-suffering lady was watching films while this was going on, and when she heard me shout that the final table was forming she made a cut-out paper chain of 6 people, instructing me to tear one off each time a player was busted. It worked, so I drew a smile on the last one, which now sits on the shelf above my desk at home. Right, no more online poker tournaments for me for a week at least… there are too many websites which need to be updated!

GL at the tables, Mark

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