Two secret tricks to run deep more often
Simple tips that make you tournament crusher
Leo Donleon, the tournament expert from the Academy of Poker, writes about 2 tricks that will up your win rate in tournaments. In particular, he will explain why c-betting every hand is loss of money, and why mastering the heads-up game is key to success in tournaments (and in any poker format).
Balance continuation bet range
Some time ago, when I only began my way in poker, there was a massive trend among regular players. They made c-bets every flop. And I can’t blame them for that. To make half-pot c-bet profitable it should work only 1/3 of the time. Easy money.
In 2019 the picture is different. Today the percentage of folds to c-bets dramatically decreased. Most of the players, even the tightest ones, protect versus c-bets with calls and check-raises. 100% c-bet is no more profitable.
You have to choose hands for c-bets more wisely. How to do it? Before making a bet answer 3 obvious, but not so simple questions:
- Does this flop hit better to your range or the range of your opponent?
- How does your range look like for your rival?
- What is your opponent's range?
I will illustrate the idea with an example.
Blinds 100/200, 25,000 Effective Stacks
The hero is UTG. He raises to 600. BB calls
Don’t think about what you have. Answer 3 magic questions first:
Does this flop hit better to your range or the range of your opponent?
Your range consists of overpairs (tens to aces), a myriad of overcards and a couple of random top pairs and middle pairs. In other words, most of the times this board doesn’t help your hand anyhow.
To the contrary, the calling range of the big blind corresponds with this flop much better. He can easily hold any pair, two-pairs, a set or at least a draw.
How does your range look like for your rival?
If you are not agro-maniac, your range looks completely clear and obvious: ATs+, AJo+, TT+, suited broadways, etc.)
What is your opponent's range?
This is the question. Especially if you have no reads. The good news is that today people still fold from big blind too much. It makes the range of the rival more predictable. Nevertheless, it still includes plenty of middle pairs with weak draws, lots of weak top pairs and very few air hands with no equity and chance to improve.
Now, when you answer 3 questions, what can you say about future developments?
First, even if you have an overpair, it's vulnerable versus check-raise, because the opponent may have a set or two-pair. It means, from time to time, you are to check-back even the strongest holdings and try to control the size of the pot.
Second, an opponent very likely has a piece of the flop. He will call at least one street. It means, bluff with air is a terrible idea. For bluff c-bets use the hands that can fire at least two bets. In our case, it would have been QJ (with a backdoor) or JT (with a backdoor).
Take note, I have made the analysis without even using any software. I can train you to do master this technique too. Just join my course and break down any board with ease and confidence. Right now I am gathering a new group of students. Coaching is about to start but there are still some places left. To take one of them hit the button below.
Master Heads Up
The winner of the tournament always gets the lion share of the prize pool. The difference between first and second in a typical tournament is unfairly enormous.
In the tournament with $10 buy-in and $10k guaranteed, the winner usually gets $2,000 (20% of the prize pool) and the second-place finisher (if there were no deal) $1,500. The difference is 50 buy-ins.
You may say that heads up is a very rare occasion and there is no sense to work on heads-up for the sake of this rare matches. But let me repeat it again. 50 FREAKING BUY-INS. The bigger the tournament, the bigger is the gap. You won’t become a long-term winner if you gonna ignore it.
Another good point for studying heads-up is an opportunity to sharpen your game and become a stronger player in general. Heads-up grinders are usually the strongest players at the table. First, they are accustomed to playing very wide ranges. Second, they are good at noticing the leaks and exploiting them.
Moreover, the skills you will get while mastering heads-up, be useful not only at the very end of the tournament but also in very wide tournament (and not necessarily tournament) spots. For example, when defending blinds versus endless attacks of players from late positions.
Where to practice heads up? Try HU SNG, spins (or whatever they call'em) or cheap cash. Heads-up is not my major game, but I still play these games and study educational content on this topic just to keep in shape.
Heads-up and final table strategy is an essential part of my learning course. First, I will show you how to build the strategy based on ICM theory, then explain when is it possible to deviate from the basic line and make some exploits. Learn these tactics and jump into the most important stage of the tournament armed to teeth. Moreover, if you do it right now, in addition to access to premium coaching you will get a welcome bonus. Don't miss your chance.