I’m totally looking forward to The Colossus this year. This newest event will be amazing. It’s a $5M guarantee for only a $565 buy-in. How could I pass it up?
Now, lots of people say that with 10,000+ players it’s just a crap shoot, but I don’t mind that at all. It’s the beginning of the WSOP, there’s going to be so much excitement in the air and I’m sure it will be tons of fun. I think it will definitely reach the necessary 10,000 players to meet the guarantee. My guess is there will be 13,000 players at the end of the fourth flight.
Every time I head to play in a live tournament series, I revisit some of my poker tournament books to prepare myself with some good live tourney strategy.
Elements of Poker by Tommy Angelo
Element 60: Mechanics – These are the simple actions to take to prepare yourself before each hand.
Stop talking, reading, eating or looking around
Notice that you’re breathing
Notice your opponent’s stacks
Watch the cards being dealt
Sometimes live poker can be a bit boring and my mind starts to wander and I only get focused once I have cards in my hand. By doing the above actions as the dealer is shuffling I’m more focused throughout the tournament.
Element 61: Look Left
When you look to the right, you look into the past. To see your future, look left.
Looking at the players who will act after you can give you valuable information about their intentions. Sometimes players telegraph their plays (grab chips to raise, hold cards out to fold, eyebrows raise when they look at the cards, etc). Noticing these can turn a call from the CO into a fold if the BTN is grabbing raising chips. It could turn a fold into a raise from the BTN if both blinds look foldy.
Element 102: The Bubble
The most important part of this sections is:
You should assume at the start of every tournament that you will make it to the bubble, and you should put maximum effort into being ready and rooted when the bubble begins.
My goal with every tournament is winning, so leading to that eventual win I’ll be making and breaking the bubble. My intent is to get to the bubble with a 30+ bb stack and doing my best to abuse the bubble and to chip up. With such a low buy-in there will be lots of players whose goal will be making the money, and I intend to mark them at the table and take advantage of their tight bubble play.
Tournament Poker for Advanced Players by David Sklansky
Page 111: Tourney Skills
#1: Preserving chips – don’t risk your tourney life with a small edge. The reward isn’t worth the risk (chips gained aren’t worth as much as chips lost in terms of CEV).
#2: When not to preserve – near the money bubble when you’re short stacked it’s time to gamble it up. You need to take some risks and try to chip up by pushing all-in to gain valuable blinds and antes.
#3: Expertise against moderate or poor opponents – you need to extract the maximum and lose the minimum vs these players. Mark them at the table, play hands vs them in position, and beat ’em up!
#4: Taking advantage of other’s “Fear of Busting Out” – Their tourney life is important to them, so take advantage of this. In general: more betting and folding, less raising and calling.
#5: Playing with or against short stacks – as the tourney goes on you’ll have to play against short stacks and you’ll probaably be one yourself. I’m pretty familiar with this as I play lots of SNG’s where we get to short stacked play fairly quickly (by round 4 the average stack is around 20-25bb’s).
Page 216: Focus on the Weaker Opponents
This really goes with every form of poker, but it’s something I always try to keep in mind when playing in a large MTT. The Colossus will be full of both pros and recreational players, so I intend to mark everyone and play against them accordingly. I’ll try to stay away from the pros and look to confront the recreational players, and play against their style accordingly.
Secrets of Professional Tournament Poker Volume 1 by Jonathan Little
Page 64: My Style
The thing that sticks out most to me from this section is:
Waiting for a big hand is a sure way to go broke in no-limit holdem tournaments.
I absolutely agree with this, and I’m often guilty of playing this way in live tournaments. I have so much experience online MTT’s that playing tight isn’t a problem, but in live tournaments I tend to overvalue my tourney life and play far too conservatively. I’m going to focus on loosening up my live MTT game for the Colossus. I envision myself playing maybe a 20/18 game instead of my usual live tight 12/10 game. I’ll be opening up and playing more A’s in position along with suited connectors and every pocket pair.
Page 194: Exploit Each Player
Avoid the good players as much as possible, but Little recommends to play in position and aggressively if the situation presents itself. Versus the different types of weak players, my strategy will differ. I will always strive to play in position, but versus weak players I’ll make lots of cbets, be careful when I face aggression, and look to value bet vs players who don’t like to fold top pair. The key to playing weak players is knowing the best way to exploit their different weaknesses.
There are lots of things that an online reg needs to keep in mind when playing live, and the items above are just a few that I’ll be focusing on. What else do you think I need to keep in mind while playing at the WSOP this year? Please let me know in the comments below.
Make your next session the best one yet!