Sunday, May 31, 2009

Opening Bets Late In MTTs

Always regret it, but decided to play in one of the small buy-in rebuys yesterday, along with almost 6000 others (!). Anyway, long story short for the background... won some, lost some, got lucky, got unlucky, stole pots, had pots stolen from me and eventually busted in a classic AK vs Pair situation in 195th (or something similar) place.

As a quick aside it was a friendly table for a long while, not overly chatty, but pleasant and good natured - something that is becoming increasingly rare these days.

Onto bet sizing late - my 'thing to think about' for this post is that the size of bets in the later stages can be used to anticipate calling ranges. Might be a little basic for experienced readers.

During the early stages of an MTT the 3 times raise is the 'standard' with 4 times or bigger on occasion. In the later stages with big antes smaller raises - ranging from 2.25 to 2.75 the big blind - actually accomplish exactly the same goals (building a pot for value or getting the blinds to fold). Experienced players know this and save those chips those times they are behind or want to play pot-control post flop by making the opening raise a little smaller.

This is not to say that everyone who opens for 2.5 times the blind late is a strategy expert... yet on the whole we can make the assumption that this player is familiar with MTT strategy and (importantly) has taken the time to think about the effect of different raise sizes.

So, it follows that to use this information to our advantage at the tables we need to ask the question of what other assumptions / approaches to the game someone who is familiar with bet sizing strategy might take... not going to provide a whole list but here are some ideas to start you off thinking:

- The gap concept, specifically the risks involved in calling with easily dominated hands.
- Moves such as the squeeze, stop-n-go and floating.
- The power of position and fact that you can raise a whole range of hands from here.

Note that we can not necessarily do this the other way around, just because someone sticks to 3 times raises late in the tournament we can not assume that they do not know about strategy... the key to this post is to spot a clue that your opponent has at least thought about different aspects of the game!

Gl at those tables, Mark

PS: Got a nice little pickup on the business-side, will do a roundup and look ahead to an interesting June next post.

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