Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Grab the fish money before your opponents do

OK, I'm not Felicia Lee, and after bubbling out of my SnG last night when I was in second place deep into the tournament (hint, K-10 is NOT a hand to go to war with, ever, even four-handed, yes, even sooooted) I'm not sure I should be giving any poker advice, but here goes.
Dan's Guide To Winning (Or Cashing, Which Is Good Enough At Times) SnGs:
(it's a short list)
You know how to play tight/aggressive, follow up your raises with continuation bets, play your high pocket pairs strong, etc., etc., etc., so here's just one piece of advice.
Grab the fish money before it disappears.
Conventional wisdom says to play tight in the beginning and loosen up as the blinds get higher and the pots get bigger.
It's good advice.
It's also wrong.
More and more, I'm cashing and winning more SnGs because I go after fish money.
In the beginning of an SnG, especially a full table SnG, you'll always find fish ready and willing to give their money over to the highest bidder, or at least those with TPTK.
I play low-stakes SnGs. And I'd say, at every full table, I can find at least four fish who are just begging to hand you their chips.
Shorthanded? I'd say 2/5.
Higher levels, like the $10 or even $20 SnGs? There are less out there. But they're still there.
It's your job to eat those chips before another shark grabs the snack.
So, in the beginning of a tournament, if I have TPTK, I play it hard. I might even move all in if challenged.
Most of the time, I'm right.
If a guy moves all in right away, I immeaditely lower my hand requirements. I might even call with A,J, but I would certainly call with A,Q or a pocket pair 10,10 or higher.
Grab that money while you can.
In the middle of the tournament, once the blood leaves the water, I tend to play even tigher than conventional wisdom says to play in the beginning. Oh, I'll still play strong hands aggressively, but it better be really strong, like 10-20 percent strong. Why? This is when most of the fish money is gone, and the other players, panicked over seeing some big stacks (like yours, hopefully, if you've gobbed a fish or two), tend to fight a little hard over the scraps. They get themselves pot committed even when they don't really need to do so.
In the last third of the tournament, I loosen up again and try to bully a bit and also steal when I can. But I'm still not a maniac. By this time, you've probably built a fairly high stack and just need to wait it out to cash. It doesn't always work. But it usually does.
Bait your hook with TPTK and reel in that fish money. You'll find your bankroll growing fatter off the krill.

No comments: