Swimming with the fishes . . . .
I was playing in a $2 bounty tourney on Lock Poker tonight, and my was there some fishy play going on. Many an asstrout shoving all in 75bb deep with rag aces and suited anything. It brought to mind a topic I saw here before about how to play when you are at a table full of donkeys.
As a career micro-donk myself, perhaps mine is not solid gold advice, but there is a saying "you get what you pay for" and tonight my advice is free. So I offer you my ABC's of Fishing . . .
A) TIGHT - you really need to just stay out of trouble. If you are limping or even 3x betting into pots with marginal hands, you end up having to fold to the knucklehead who shoves over you. Better to just stay out of the way, especially in the early goings.
B) AGGRESSIVE - when you have a monster, bet that sucker. Bet it big, even shove it if that is the type of play you are seeing from others. You want to get called by worse hands, don't be afraid of the suckout. But be sure you are the one doing the betting, not the one calling.
C) AVOID CALLS - Im not trying to even race anyone in the early goings, I'm folding most hands to raises. Aces and Kings of course I'm jamming back at them, or calling a shove. But most everything is foldable in the early goings.
Now if you have done your ABC's in the early stages of the game, you have built your stack up a bit, you have some room to move, and a good share of the donkeys are on the rail. Those who have been paying attention now know you aren't entering a pot without a big hand, and you can pull some standard plays and pick up some pots along the way. This is an important stage of the tournament, that will determine whether you are making the final table or just getting close.
APPROACHING THE BUBBLE
It's at this stage of the game you have a couple of exploitable player types . . . the nit trying to make the money, and the aggro player trying to exploit the nits. The nit wants to make the money. He is folding most of his hands, and shoving anything strong. So you don't want to make large raises against this player. Minraise him and he will fold weak and shove strong, then you know you can fold if need be without spewing too many chips. The Aggro player is 3x and 4x betting a lot of hands. Mostly avoid him, but when you wake up with a hand, jam it down his throat. He will likely call because he feels his raise has committed him. Make him pay for that mistake with his stack.
THE FINAL TABLE
The final table dynamic is always interesting. Usually you will find a short stack or two that clung on long enough. Probably a familiar face as well. Tonight my mate "cheapseats" was across the table from me. My best advice for final table play is simply "don't stop playing"
By now the blinds are increasing drastically, and if you sit back and wait for spots for too long you will find yourself on the short stack in short order. Sometimes the cards just aren't there and you can't feel comfortable about making a move, but position is your strongest weapon, use it when you have it.
I had to settle for third in this one. As we got short handed, two players made some key knockouts and when we got to three handed, my 10bb stack was little match for my two opponents. A bad turn for me and to the rail I went. I could have been far more aggressive than I was, perhaps finished fifth or fourth, but with a better chance of the win. It's important to always think about the win. If you have a high ITM% but a low ROI%, you are not being aggressive enough in the later stages. Trade some of those mincashes for wins, and your profit will increase.
My final word of advice is this . . . when you sit down to play, come to play. Pay attention to the game, think about every decision as if the game depends on it, because ultimately, it does.