Saturday, February 09, 2008

Banishing FEAR at the Bubble!

One characteristic that the top online poker tournament pros share is fearlessness.

They are simply not scared to get their chips in with an edge - particularly when there is a chance of getting a fold.

Now, what about us lower to mid-level players? Is fear holding us back?

Here is an example - in PGong style the idea is to create a situation to think about, rather than analyse any one specific hand....

It is the bubble of a $10 MTT... 1000's of players have become a mere couple of hundred. And you are in the comfortable position of being the proud owner of an average stack. Just 10 more players need to bust before the cash places and (correctly) a big stack at your table is raising almost every hand...

Common situation right?

With small stacks peppered all over the tables you can cruise into the money with your 15 big blinds. And that is exactly what most of us would do... my question here is what is your real thought process in this spot?

The word real is bolded above for a good reason... it would be very easy to say 'my thought process is to make the best decisions based on my chip equity to maximise my chances of winning and not just cashing' - is that really what you are thinking?

For most people (myself included many times) the real thought process here is 'Come on, deal me a hand so I can teach that big stack not to raise my blind!!'


Not cowardice... that is different. But certainly not behaviour that could be classed as fearless.

Now, with the big stack raising top 80% of hands in these situations what kind of hand do you need to shove your whole stack of chips in the middle? If he would fold half of the hands he raises with how does this change? If you have more than 1/3rd of his chip stack would that influence the hands you could shove with??

Too many questions... only 1 real thought behind it all - how do you plan on banishing fear at the bubble??

GL at the tables, Mark


Littleacornman said...

Great post Mark.I've often thought that to try and get into the top 5 % of tourney players you have to make moves at times that the other 95% wouldn't consider.For example maybe making a squeeze bet with Ace rag and a very tight image against the right opponents.

I've found that much harder when multi-tabling as you need some reasonably solid reads to get away with moves like that.

Mark said...

Have to agree there Acorn, the number of times I have been tempted to squeeze (or just resteal) compared to the number of times I actually pull the trigger does not bear thinking about.

The only memorable one was shoving AKs over an big stacked MP raiser right on the bubble of one of the ECOOP events... lost the hand (and a certain $500 payout for reaching the money) when he called with JJ... but in hindsight this was the right move against a huge range and might have given me a shot at the higher paying places - oh well!

Cheers, Mark