Monday, August 20, 2007

Black and White MTT Strategy Missing Pieces

Sorry, but I was on vacation in Moab, UT for the last 10 days and did not get around to doing anything with the blog. The good news is I have quite a backlog of some really good post ideas, so you can expect lots of new stuff here over the next few weeks. I did a post a few weeks ago about my Black and White MTT strategy. I left a couple concepts out, because it just would have been too much for a single post, so I will get to them now. The two concepts are what I call a "Modified Cash Game", and why tight play gets paid off in MTTs. So without any further build up here we go.
The Modified Cash Game
In the Black and White MTT strategy, I suggest that you play a "Modified Cash Game" for as long as possible. You play this until your M level forces you to switch gears to avoid being blinded out. The modified cash game is basically your best and most profitable cash game with a few small tweaks for MTT play. The tweaks revolve around pushing smaller edges much harder than you (read I) normally would, and adjusting for the uneven depths of the stacks that you get almost immediately in MTTs. As you may already know, I like to play a low variance cash game style. This works great for cash, but can be problematic in MTTs. You only get into a limited number of profitable situations in MTTs and you must take advantage even if this becomes a high variance play. Some examples are getting all-in preflop with a hand like AK or JJ/TT. I really do not like to do this in cash games very often unless my read is very solid. In an MTT, I don't think you can play this way. I think you need to go to the felt with hands like this and hope for the best (push and pray). The pressure of being blinded out is so high, that hand values go up quite a bit, and you will not be in the same situations as a cash game most of the time. When there are multiple raises and reraises preflop, and you hold TT in a cash game, you are very likely behind. This is not as true in an MTT. You are more likely to be ahead, as people push much harder with hands like AK, AQ, 99-22 in MTTs preflop than in cash games. So you play these hands for a higher variance in MTTs than you would in a cash game.

There are also many trouble type hands that can be played for a profit in a cash game, but can't in an MTT. Medium suited connectors and medium to small pocket pairs are good examples. Medium suited connectors are barely profitable (if at all) in cash games. This is true when the stacks are 100x the BB for most at the table. You need the stacks to be this deep to squeeze out any profit from medium suited connectors. Stacks simply are not deep enough in MTTs to play these hands for a profit. 100x deep stacks for some MTTs are never there, and even the deepstack MTTs only have that type of depth in the first few rounds. Medium to small suited connectors are simply not playable in MTTs and should just be folded preflop while in modified cash game mode. Medium to small pocket pairs present a similar problem. You need the rule of 10 to be in place for cash games, but for an MTT I would increase this to a rule of 15-20. I really do not want to put 1/10th of my stack in preflop on a 1/8 chance of hitting the set. There is not enough trials available in an MTT. If you don't hit in your first 5 tries, you just bled off 1/2 of your stack. Middle to small pocket pairs become a push or fold type hand preflop almost from the beginning of MTTs due to the lack of stack depth. If I am in modified cash game mode, I am probably folding these preflop unless the rule of 15-20 is there (pretty rare). If I am in the other gear, you pretty much auto push the same hands if you are first to open.
The last thing that you do is not really a modification to your cash game, but may seem like one if you watch me play. It's how you deal with short stacks. In a cash game, I am much more likely to make a big move against a short stack, or simply give them less credit for a hand than I would a big stack. So if a shorty pushes 15 BB into me, I may call them down preflop with much less that I would ever do against a big stack. I may also just put them in with a preflop raise, and this is only profitable because of the lack of stack size and damage they can do to me if they catch a hand. So you play pretty aggressive against the shorties in an MTT, but I already do this in cash games, so it is really not a "modification".

Tight play gets paid off in MTTs

I am not going to go into a ton of depth on this one, because the concept is pretty simple though a bit counter intuitive. MTTs breed very loose and aggressive play, especially in the middle to later stages. People make way more "moves" in MTTs and stealing the blinds becomes much more important than in cash games. Players are looser and more aggressive in MTTs than what would be profitable in a cash game. Some people play this way in cash games, and that is where the tight players make their money in cash games. In MTTs a much, much higher percentage of players are playing loose and aggressive, that tight play gets paid off much better than in cash games. If you can play your modified cash game for as long as possible you will find yourself in some pretty good situations when you finally catch a big starting hand. There are a couple screen shots below that give you an idea, and I am sure you will see this as typical. The loose aggressive MTT players, simply can't be worried about the tight player behind them that never plays a hand. They have to assume that the tight player will not be involved or they would be to limited in the moves that they can make. So they get themselves into some huge trouble when the tight player "wakes up" with a real hand.
Limping a Big Pair Early and Let Them Hang Themselves

If I Have a Hand Here It Will Get Paid

These types of hands are very typical in the mid to late stages of an MTT. This is not rocket science. Sometimes it takes no skill at all to double or triple through because of the action before you even act. You just do not see multiple all-ins preflop in cash games, but not so unusual in MTTs. So you can sit back and be squeaky tight in an MTT and still get your big hands paid off. That does not work quite as well in cash games, because people do not pot commit themselves preflop nearly as much.



At 10:33 AM, Blogger Jim Philips said...

I hope that you enjoyed your vacation and At least you brought great ideas to post for bookmakers online and everybody.


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