Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Poker Stars Sunday Million Satellites - Part #5 - Turbo Rebuy Strategy #2

Continuing with the theme of Satellite Poker Tournaments today...

Hope all this part #2 and part #5 stuff does not get too confusing! Anyway here are a collection of thoughts on the second part of the Turbo rebuy satellites, originally aimed at qualification to the PokerStars Sunday Million - now however there are lots of these springing up as WSOP 2007 satellites too...

Ok, so in part 1 we conclused that not rebuying at all and maniac rebuying were both -ev strategies... tight and aggressive play, watching your opponents and picking spots hopefully lead to a reasonable stack in time for the 30 minute break... now a much debated question - are there any circumstances in which you should not add on??

For me usually no - I would need to have at least double the average and have the add on be less than 10% of my current stack to consider saving those few $$.... those blinds are going to increase dramatically in a very short period of time - best to have every chip you can get your hands on!!

The first thing I then do is look at the ratio of seats available to people left and how this relates to the average chip stack. This will be different depending on the buy-in level (small for the 3+Rs and Bigger for the 10+Rs). There are a couple of things to look for...

- What will the average stack be at the bubble? (ie a few people left to go rather than just 1)
- What is the multiple of your current stack to get there?? (ie how many double ups do you need)
- How many tables will be left at the bubble and how full will they be? (If it appears that all the tables will be short handed on the bubble you may need a few more chips than if they are full - for example with 23 spots paid the ratio of players / table will be higher on the bubble than with 18 paid)

The blinds start up at 200 with a 25 ante after the break - you have a small window of opportunity to assess how the play of your opponents has changed; Are the small stacks acting desperately? the big stacks pushing people around?? Who can fold after limping or raising pre flop and who can not?

At 5 minute intervals the blinds go up... 400 / 600 / 800 / 1200 etc etc - you have to stay ahead of them, waiting for those aces will not be winning any seats! The options are simple right? You can steal blinds - in fact you must steal blinds, you can win showdowns (!) or best of all you can resteal from those people you tagged earlier as light raisers or willing to fold after raising.

A suprising number of players do not understand pot-odds. In the middle stages these can often be more important than the ICM side of things. I have seen people fold getting more than 4/1 from their blinds many times in these - do not do it!! Unless the tightest player in the world just pushed you should be calling a short-stack all in with any 2-cards here, think of it this way if there is any doubt - each time you call with your 8 10 off from the BB vs any pair / any ace / any suited K or Q and most connectors or high card combos you expect to win 40% more chips than you put in the pot.

The only time I would not call with the odds is on the bubble - will get to that shortly.

As the blinds get higher and higher I loosen up my open pushing range considerably. At the same time the calling range should get far tighter... here is a funny example with about 10 left to go... I am on the button with JJ and a medium stack. A very large stack opens from early position for about half my chips and I sigh and check the 'Fold' button ready... someone pushes on top of him and the really good part, the next player overcalls the all in - both had 10's vs the biggys AQ - biggy spiked his Ace to leave both players dead. The funny part for me is that TT is a great hand to push in the late stages, but to call? and to call 2 all-ins? crazy play.

I was able to get a seat by pushing far worse hands than JJ into people who could not call without a monster... the key for me is to think about what you are risking by calling (a guestimate for the guys with the 10's would be $160 to $170 $ev) and compare it to your risk and then your potential gain (max equity = $215 for the seat). The first 10 10 guy might have thought he had 60% vs big-stack but was laying almost 4/1 against himself... the 2nd guy does not even bear thinking about - max 40% equity - terrible.

As with SNGs the key is to understand which players know what is going on... you can push into them with almost any 2 as the bubble approaches so long as they have stacks which can withstand a fold. You will often have more fold equity vs the bigger stacks than you think too - if you are over half their size they are not calling without a hand at the bubble in most cases. Personally tend to work with a 77+ a9o+ KQ range for these circumstances.

You must watch the other tables, must is too mild a word - seen some horrible plays with 1 or 2 people to go where an almost all in big blind called a raise for the last of his chips when folding would have son him a seat (someone already out on another table). Calculating how many people will be blinded off before you is critical here and can make the difference between a seat and no seat. Of course not all of the forced all-ins will mean someone is out but you must keep an eye on them.

When hand for hand play finally arrives try to manage the blinds - they will be huge by then and going slowly can make the difference between one of your opponents being all in next time around and not. Conversely you can act quicker of you are next in the blind. Do not be afraid to fold now - as long as several opponents are blinded out before you then there is really no benefit to having those extra chips vs the risk of someone waking up with a hand against you.

So there are some thoughts - GL at the tables and I'll see you either in the Sunday Million or in one of the WSOP 2007 qualifiers soon!

Cheers, Mark

PS: Link to Stars on the right hand side if you happen to be the last player on the planet who is not yet a member!!

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