Saturday, May 23, 2009

Poker tournament update

I like to play online poker. Mostly Hold 'em, and pretty much just Sit and Go tournaments. That means a group of ten players pay an entry fee, and the top three people split the fee. So the bottom seven lose everything.

The psychology of the middle game is pretty straight forward. Once you are down to about five people, everyone tightens up, because no one wants to go out there, and just miss finishing in the money. So when everyone is playing conservatively is the best time to get aggressive.

Today, this worked out great. We were down to five, one player was way out front, around $12k, I was second at $2,500 and the other three were under $2k. I was the dealer, the tall stack was Under the Gun (the first seat after the blinds). The blinds were 320/640 and the tall stack folded. The guy between us folded, so now it is to me, in a perfect opportunity to steal the blinds. I had nothing, I think 10, 7 off suit. But I pushed all in, and the blinds folded to me, conceding the 960 chips in the middle of the table. Everyone who understood poker at all knew that was a pure steal.

So the very next hand, now tall stack in on the big blind, the guy between us folds again, I push again. The dealer and the small blind fold, so now we are back to the tall stack. I have $3,500 now, but it is easy for him to call me with his $12k. Plus, he knows I just stole the blinds, so he probably figures I am doing it again. So he calls me, but this time I had a hand, and I turn over a pair of 10's. We draw out and I win, so now I have $7k and he is down to $8,500.

I fold everything while he clears out the other three, and now we are head to head. I am around $8k and he is back up to $12k. On the first hand of head to head, I get dealt a pair of Aces, so I push all in again, he calls, I win, and now I am up $16k to $4k.

It was the mid-game aggression that set me up to win the tournament.