It’s Ron from the Poker Academy.com. I’m the only amateur player on staff over here. The rest of the guys are out in Vegas playing the Main Event. They are pros that win bracelets and play at the highest stakes. I play once or twice a week, and a “big” tournament to me is when the buy in is over $200.
Recently I’ve been on the biggest heater of my life. I’ve won 6 of the last 10 tournaments I’ve played. Not cashed. Won. As in first place. It’s been crazy. I’ve been lucky a few times when I got it in as a dog, and my flips have been holding up most of the time, but I’ve also been studying a lot and playing good for me.
And of course, it does help when you get pocket aces and your heads up opponent shoves on you…. “Um, I call.”
The one thing that I’ve been working on lately that has made a huge difference is playing correctly when I have between 10-20 big blinds.
Rep and Rick spend a lot of time talking about this concept in the NL Tournament Course, and I’m finally starting to incorporate it into my game with some confidence.
For instance, take a look at this shove chart. (From the push/fold iPhone app.)
Here are the assumptions: tournament at a 9 handed table, 13 bb on the button. It’s mathematically correct to open shove all of these hands. Ten / six suited, yep – shove it in. King / 8 off-suit? Shove. 7 / 5 suited, put your chips in the middle. Think about that for a second. You are dealt a seven and a five of the same suit on the button, and you open shove. That just seems crazy to me. My intuition tells me that is wrong. What if I get called and have to flip over 7/5? People will laugh at me.
Actually that just happened in the tournament I won. The guy to my right would go on a loud commentary as he saw some of the hands I had to flip over.
“Jack, seven? What are you doing? You’re crazy.”
Then he’d turn to the old guy next to him and say, “What’s with this guy? Jack / seven?”
I didn’t say anything. I just sat there. Most of the time I was winning the hands obviously, or I wouldn’t have won the tournament.
My point is, there are some social elements at the poker table that can sometimes nudge me toward doing the wrong thing. But one of the things I’ve learned from watching the NL Tournament course several times is that if a move is mathematically sound, just do it. In the long run, it’s a profitable play.
Clearly the cards had to fall my way too in order to win. In fact, I kept track. I got lucky at least three times, and got it in good and lost at least three times.
That seems to be the way it goes when I win a tournament.
If you ever find yourself with a stack that has 5 big blinds in it, you are not shoving properly. Do some study away from the table, and when you get 8/6 suited on the button, rip it in there.
Hope you Run Good!