Why the cards matter least – Poker Stategy part 2

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Jeffrey | Poker Strategy

Submitted by McTap, this article is a part of the Poker Strategy series.

In the last poker article I discussed the blinds and your chips stack in relationship to those blinds. In this article I will discuss the size of everybody’s chips in relation to the blinds.

By the time it is your turn to act, you need to have a good understanding of which of the players around you have a large stack and which have a small stack. There is 1 exception to this, and that would be the first hand of the tournament/SNG, then everybody has exactly the same amount of chips. After that point having an idea who’s the big dog and who’s the short stack is good information to have before you look at your cards.

Early on in tourneys/SNG everybody is sitting with a good M-factor. This leads to several possibilities: either your opponents are willing to limp with medium hands to see a cheap flop, they might be aggressive knowing that they may be able to steal chips against tight opponents and the blinds won’t affect them for a while, or they will just play tight and wait for the good hands. In the early stages you probably don’t have enough information on your opponents to know how they play and which move they are trying. If you happen to have a HUD (heads up display) that pulls from your hand database, and you have played against some (or all) of your opponents before, you may have a better idea of their style and this would help you make a proper analysis on what they could be doing with their call/raise. This then leads to you to decide on whether to call/raise/fold and feel confident in your choice.

Although HUDs and Poker Software are outside of the initial scope of this series, I would recommend learning more about them and trying to use them in your everyday game as they will help you make proper decisions pre and post flop.

As the tourney/SNG enters the later stages, then chip stacks play an important role to ones decision. At this point you will see the short stacks either fold every hand until they pick up a monster, or they start pushing with almost any two cards in hopes of either stealing the blinds or winning a race.

In order to make better decisions you need to pay attention to the stacks before and after you, as well, have an idea at what stage of the tourney/SNG you are in, all before you look at your cards. If a short stack raises before you, you need to decide if you are willing to commit all/or most of your chips as they are most likely pot committed to any calls/raises after them. If a big stack raises, you need to decide how much of you stack you are willing to commit as they could put you all-in at any point during the hand. If no action happens before you (or just some limper’s) you need to have an idea of the stacks after you. If there are short stacks after you, is their M-factor lower than 10, as this could mean they could be going all-in, meaning that any chips you commit to the pot could lead you to calling an all-in. If there are big stacks after you, then how many chips do you need to commit to either get them into the pot (you having a strong hand and are hoping to dig into their stack) or get them out of the pot (you having a medium/weak hand that you only want to steal blinds or pick on the short stacks)

So the next time you are at the table make sure you take a few extra seconds to think about this before looking at your cards. The more you know the better chance you have at making a good decision.

Good luck at the tables.

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2 Comments to Why the cards matter least – Poker Stategy part 2

November 6, 2008

Good stuff. Ever heard about the online tournament where Anette_15 won without seeing a single hand? She must have all your concepts in mind when playing….

November 6, 2008

Yeah, I heard of her, and if you read the 1st article in this series (http://www.pokerbankrollblog.com/why_the_cards_matter_least.htm), I mentioned exactly that. That is really what lead me to writing this series.

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