Starting the tourney as a short stack - The Perfect Man Cave
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Old 04-07-2015, 11:12 AM
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Default Starting the tourney as a short stack

*Tap Tap* Is this thing on?

I was reluctant to post this as this discussion board has been slow over the past few months but what the hell, let's see if we can generate some activity. I thought I posted something similar last year but I can't find it which means I probably didn't.

We are in our 6th season of an annual pot builder and the finale is this coming Saturday (11th). We had 21 players this season but only 18 for the final. The group consists of a strong core that we have had over the last 6 years. Some solid players along with a few fish who seem to get lucky on more than one occasion make up the mix. Only 1 new player was added this season whom I don't really know much of. Here is some tourney info.

It is a 17 week season and each player that shows up is automatically awarded 5 pts. As the game goes on, the 5th place finisher receives 10 pts, 4th place = 15 pts and so on up to 1st place = 30 pts. At the end of the season, the points are converted by .5 and then multiplied by 1000 to the amount of chips you receive. EX: If you finished with 100 points, you have T50,000 to start the final game.

The blind structure starts is as follows every 20 minutes with some breaks scattered in between.

100-200
200-400
300-600
400-800
500-1000
1000-2000
2000-4000
3000-6000
4000-8000
5000-10000
10000-20000

So..my problem is that I relocated away from the game but was able to make the minimum 6 games needed to qualify. I had 1 win out of those 6 but the other 5 games, I finished with minimum points. Having said that, my stack is 17 of 18 so right off the start, I am going to have some work to do.

I am starting with 27,500 and the chip leader is starting with 122,500. The average stack looks to be around ~ 65k.

I will say one thing that I don't care for is that the host is starting us at 3 tables - 6 handed....then drop us to 2 tables once we get to 16 players with the final table running 9 handed. Usually, I love a short handed table but with being a smaller stack, this hurts more than helps.

Having said all that, any suggestions for this unique situation that I am facing? I am not sure what a viable strategy would be giving the wide variation of stack sizes. I am hoping I draw a favorable table but that is out of my hands. My initial strategy is to see some cheap flops early on and value bet non stop to try and add some chips. Once the later rounds hit, I hope to turn up the aggression...but again...it will depend on how things play out.

Either way, it will be a fun night. I should note that I won the 1st season and placed 2nd in the 4th season. It has been 5 different winners of arguably the top 5 players in the league.

For fun, I threw all players in a RNG and came out with a hypothetical table.

Player 1: T107,500
Player 2: T100,000
Player 3: T60,000
Player 4: T47,500
Player 5: T45,000
Me: 27,500
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  #2  
Old 04-07-2015, 11:33 AM
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Default Re: Starting the tourney as a short stack

I think there is some value in evaluating the different scenarios and thinking about how you will react to each, but honestly, preplanning a specific strategy is probably no a good idea. The optimal strategy will depend on the ever evolving situation at your specific table. How aggressive are the other players to start? What kind of starting hands are you getting? You say you want to take the high-speed rail to value town, but that requires that you actually pick up some solid hands to start the tourny.

I agree with you that it should start at 2 tables of 9, it's odd that the host wants to do 3 tables of 6. Is it a space/equipment issue? Hard to imagine that someone that hosts a tournament series wouldn't have two full sized tables. Probably nothing you can do about that. In any 6-handed game, you have to play aggressive and with a short stack, even more so. You'll have to take some chances and will probably have to at least win a few coinflips to have a chance. One thing that might be helpful is to imagine this situation as if it was day two of a larger event where started with 50 players and are now down to 18. The chip stacks would reflect something like that. Lastly, the blinds start at a very small amount so you have tons of room to play. I say get aggressive at the beginning but now that I think about it, there's really no need. You'll have 100 BBs to start and if your stack stays the same you won't be in the danger zone until the 6th level. plenty of time to find some good hands to get paid off.

Most of all, have fun with it. It would be extra sweet to finish well being one of the shortest stacks to start.
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Old 04-07-2015, 12:10 PM
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Default Re: Starting the tourney as a short stack

As Timsta said, I think with the blind levels being rather small you will have time to wait for a good hand. You may also may be in the position to pick up a few hands by just stealing from the bigger stacks who are just splashing around the pot because its so little to them.

Really all depends on the table dynamic.
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Old 04-07-2015, 12:29 PM
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Default Re: Starting the tourney as a short stack

I love these sorts of posts...gets the brain working, you get to see different perspectives, analysis, etc. I particularly like seeing input from guys I may play against in the future, you know, to know more about how they play!

Seriously though, Tim hit quite a few key points (IMnsHO):

1) Although you don't have a ton of immediate history from the players, it sounds like you've played against most of them in the past. Play this like it is day 2 of a larger tourney, and you're on the shorter-end of stack sizes. They may have been on a good run earlier, but now everyone is starting fresh. You have some work to do, but solid play isn't out of the question.

2) The blinds are still really low at the start, so don't get too crazy immediately, thinking it is "all-in or nothing" right off the bat. You've got time to see some flops and shoot for value early on. [One double-up and a few steals and you'll be right about the "average" stack, for what it is worth.]

3) Mathematically, the smaller tables might actually play to your advantage a little bit, in that your stack is a larger percentage of the chips at that table, than if they were 9 handed. Meaning, your short stack MIGHT not be as short/noticeable/vulnerable, since you only have 5 other stacks to challenge, instead of 8. Even though 6-handed is definitely a different game from 10-haned, look at it as a positive, you've made it this far, everyone else is in the same boat, etc.

4) Tim hit the "strategy" idea, too. If the table is aggressive, tighten things up on your end. If the table is loose or overly relaxed, ratchet up your aggression. You've got to play the situation as it presents itself, and don't have a huge stack to hide behind...a couple of mis-steps and you're out of the tourney. My suggestion is to sit back a little, see as many flops as you can (for cheap), and get maximum value for your big hands. If the rest of the players are hyper active, sit back and wait for a monster. If the players are meek, go for a steal or three. Basic A-B-C poker is your best play at the start I think, based on your weak starting position (chips-wise).

OR

5) You could always just go BONKERS from the start, figuring your time is valuable, and if you don't double up a few times in the first round or two, you are better off busting out and heading back home. Not an ideal way to think about things, but it COULD pay dividends quickly. Or not.

Good luck, have fun. As David Lee Roth once said: Tell us how you do!
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Old 04-07-2015, 12:47 PM
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Default Re: Starting the tourney as a short stack

The blinds are small at 100/200. You only have 27k. I think seriously consider D XXX's option #5. Fold, and/or be ultra aggressive. I'd work on doubling up early. If that doesn't work out, oh well. If it does, it'll set a certain image for you later in the tourney.

Good Luck. Definitely let us know how it goes.

I have a Championship game coming up in a few weeks. The starting stacks are no where as crazy as what your facing.
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Old 04-07-2015, 02:07 PM
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Default Re: Starting the tourney as a short stack

Quote:
Originally Posted by detroitdad View Post
The blinds are small at 100/200. You only have 27k. I think seriously consider D XXX's option #5. Fold, and/or be ultra aggressive. I'd work on doubling up early. If that doesn't work out, oh well. If it does, it'll set a certain image for you later in the tourney.

Good Luck. Definitely let us know how it goes.

I have a Championship game coming up in a few weeks. The starting stacks are no where as crazy as what your facing.
I think you may have dropped a zero somewhere. He'll be starting with 135 BBs. Even as the short stack, still pretty deep.
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Old 04-07-2015, 02:12 PM
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Default Re: Starting the tourney as a short stack

In these situations it seems so often (and I've been this guy before) that the big stacks will likely think they can afford a few "gambles" early on. If the right situation comes along I'd be looking to get it in with a splashy big stack to get an early double up.
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Old 04-07-2015, 02:14 PM
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Default Re: Starting the tourney as a short stack

Quote:
Originally Posted by timsta007 View Post
preplanning a specific strategy is probably no a good idea. The optimal strategy will depend on the ever evolving situation at your specific table.
I do agree with that....I should have been more clear stating that I didn't have a specific strategy in mind...just a general idea of how I am going to approach the game.

Quote:
Originally Posted by timsta007 View Post
I agree with you that it should start at 2 tables of 9, it's odd that the host wants to do 3 tables of 6. Is it a space/equipment issue?
The host is very stubborn when he hatches an idea. For going reasonably strong for 6 years, there are a few flaws in his set up but he refuses to listen to any suggestions. One person (S2 winner) got booted out for too many conflicting arguments with the host....although that guy was one of the least liked in the game.

Quote:
Originally Posted by timsta007 View Post
Most of all, have fun with it. It would be extra sweet to finish well being one of the shortest stacks to start.
I always have fun, win or lose. For being the 2nd shortest stack, I would love to make a deep run. I was the first one out last year.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Doctor_XXX View Post

1) Although you don't have a ton of immediate history from the players, it sounds like you've played against most of them in the past. Play this like it is day 2 of a larger tourney, and you're on the shorter-end of stack sizes. They may have been on a good run earlier, but now everyone is starting fresh. You have some work to do, but solid play isn't out of the question.
I never thought of it like that...I have never played in a multi-day tourney but this thought has merit. I know the majority of the players very well as I have played with them for years in many different games.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Doctor_XXX View Post

2) The blinds are still really low at the start, so don't get too crazy immediately, thinking it is "all-in or nothing" right off the bat. You've got time to see some flops and shoot for value early on. [One double-up and a few steals and you'll be right about the "average" stack, for what it is worth.]
I tend to be more on the aggressive side of the spectrum. One of my biggest leaks is that I have a hard time letting a hand go once I put a decent amount of chips in the pot....I don't like giving up on a hand. I need to learn to let go in the late stages of a hand where my opponent is not backing down.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Doctor_XXX View Post

4) Tim hit the "strategy" idea, too. If the table is aggressive, tighten things up on your end. If the table is loose or overly relaxed, ratchet up your aggression. You've got to play the situation as it presents itself, and don't have a huge stack to hide behind...a couple of mis-steps and you're out of the tourney. My suggestion is to sit back a little, see as many flops as you can (for cheap), and get maximum value for your big hands. If the rest of the players are hyper active, sit back and wait for a monster. If the players are meek, go for a steal or three. Basic A-B-C poker is your best play at the start I think, based on your weak starting position (chips-wise).

OR

5) You could always just go BONKERS from the start, figuring your time is valuable, and if you don't double up a few times in the first round or two, you are better off busting out and heading back home. Not an ideal way to think about things, but it COULD pay dividends quickly. Or not.
Agreed...It really depends on my starting table and my position. I plan to really play positional poker and use it to my advantage. Given past history, there are a few players who really tighten up in this final game to try and make the money. We pay the top 6 out of the 18....again, don't ask...it's always been this way.

And I won't be heading home early either way...the cash game will start once players start to get knocked out.
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Old 04-07-2015, 02:17 PM
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Default Re: Starting the tourney as a short stack

Also, I should note that we use the same blind structure throughout the season with a couple of minor changes...(1) Blind levels are 15 min, and (2) cap out at 5k/10k. Our starting stack is 16k. This will allow me not too feel too much pressure out the gate. As mentioned, plenty of time to maneuver before the blinds get high.
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Old 04-07-2015, 02:55 PM
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Default Re: Starting the tourney as a short stack

Quote:
Originally Posted by ElementZ View Post
plenty of time to maneuver before the blinds get high.
This sums it up. See how your particular starting table goes...play A-B-C poker, be willing to give up questionable hands (or don't get involved to start), and look for opportunities to maximize your really good hands. Remember, just a double-up or large pot or three and you're totally back in the thick of it! Goo luu!!!
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