When to Commit Your Chips in a Tournament
> Quick question about tournament play when short-stacked:
> Is there some formula that one should use to determine when they are going
> to commit to a hand or when they will wait for something better? ie... I have
> X amount in chips, and I can survive X more orbits of the button, therefore
> I had better commit to a hand in X hands or give up hope.
> I consider patience a strong-point of my game, but sometimes find myself
> getting a little hasty when I am short-stacked. Then, looking back, I
> consider that maybe I could have held out for a little bit longer.
This is not answering your question since you appear to be talking about limit flop games, but shortstack strategy differs a lot
depending on the game. For instance, in stud games anteing yourself down to one ante chip can get you a return of seven-to-one on that
chip, as opposed to limit Holdem where one chip might get you a one-to-one return (blind against blind). If you are playing No Limit
with antes, again you can ante down to a single ante chip and get a good return (although normally you would want to make a move when
you have a reasonable chance to steal the blinds and antes without having to showdown the winner). Limit Holdem and Omaha you should
make your stand sooner.
> As a note in Limit tournaments I suppose if you are SERIOUSLY short stacked,
> only able see one more flop or be eaten up by the big blind, your best bet
> might be simply when there are a lot of callers, and hopefully you can get
> lucky and double, triple, quadruple up.
Absolutely not. Ideally you want to play against one single player. Multiway you are asking to just get checked down by your group of
opponents. Don't be greedy. You first concept is you want to survive, not thrive. Try to beat one guy, not five. If you have one bet
or less normally where you want to commit your chips is *after* one person has raised and no one else has called. The best situation
is to play against this raiser, with (hopefully) both blinds folding.
Windows - Mac
Tournament Ruling Question
Linda Sherman wrote...
> I don't agree with Badger's apparent argument that TD's should NEVER
> be allowed to rule on intent (if that's not what Badger meant, I
> apologize). There are going to be situations where intent has to be
> considered. This just doesn't happen to be one of them. But if you take
> away the TD's flexibility to try to ensure the fairness of the game, the
> angle shooters will be taking shots every chance they can.
"Intent" can be involved in dozens of other poker situations. The point here is that some rules are specifically created so that
intent is not judged. The example most people know about is "putting one oversized chip in a pot." Intent should not be considered.
Intent is not considered in actual making of the rule. One oversized chip is a call, period. People make this mistake all the time,
and tournament director should not be coming over to determine the intent of a bettor putting in one chip. This example is the same
(depending on house rules). Most places are very clear cut about the half bet rules. A player erred and didn't put in a proper bet. No
way should a TD come over and decide the player's intent was to put in a proper bet... just like if the big blind had put in six chips
(when the blind should be three chips) and then the next player put out six also. It would be very wrong to mindread "intent" here. It
would be wrong to call that bet a "call" and make the player take three chips out. There is a whole very illogical path that could be
followed here, but fortunately the rules in most places prevent that.
Keith Ellul wrote...
> I don't have enough poker experience to really have an informed opinion on
> this, but some people have argued that the under the gun player should have
> some protection from the BB "taking a shot" by putting in too small of a blind.
I don't see how this is a shot. The bettor didn't know the limit. Also the big blind can't put his hand over the bettor's mouth and
stop him from saying "raise." If the bettor had spoke, there would be no issue. Instead he chose to let his "chips speak."
Unfortunately he made an error. The idea of the strict chip-betting rules (this one and the oversized chip one) is to eliminate angles
from any players.
> Do you agree with this? If I am under the gun, and I want to raise, so I
> put in double what the BB has put out... does that seem unreasonable?
> Why should I be punished for the BB's mistake?
Don't push your responsibilities off onto somebody else. If you don't know the limit is, that is your screw up. If you don't put a
full raise in, that is your screw up. If you don't say raise, that is your screw up. This error is 100% the player's fault. Nobody
made him do what he did.
> BTW, is there really anything wrong with directors making decisions
> based on what they feel a player's intent is?
Intent definitely comes in concerning things like hand motions where a player taps the table... is that a check? Did the tapper mean
to make it look like a check as an angle? Intent is part of the decision there. But intent is taken out of the equation in certain
rules, most clearly the over-sized chip rule. People over time have recognized that a rigid rule makes sense there. The same has
evolved for the amount of chips you put in... less than half a raise is a forced call, half a raise or more is a forced raise. None of
this fiddling around, or silly string comments when a player puts out 11 chips when the blind is six chips.
Rulz iz rulz. If a player miscalls a hand, intent can be everything. If a player doesn't say raise when they toss in a single chip,
intent means nothing. I believe most major tournaments now have adopted the strict "chips speak" view of betting... if you don't say
anything verbally, your chips speak... and what the player intended is not *allowed* to be considered.
Joe Long wrote...
> The only way to reach that conclusion is to ignore the actions of the
> BB (something those criticizing Lamb's ruling do repeatedly). The fact
> is that under the gun put out twice the number of chips as the previous
> bet on the table. That is a raise -- or at least a clear attempt to raise.
An attempt to raise is not a raise. But I really have to wonder why people keep mentioning the big blind is short. That is totally
irrelevant to the opener's actions. Suppose the big blind put out one chip, and the next player put out two. This is the same "clear
attempt to raise" and it is the same completely irrelevant action. At this limit a correct raise is six chips, a forced raise is five
chips, anything less is a call. Don't let irrelevant events complicate something that is simple, especially when the irrelevant events
can lead to endless angle shooting by several players at the table.
> Despite being an "angleshooters heaven," you've hit on what may be the
> best way to deal with the scenario you posit: as the pot was not
> right when the bets were made, they are invalid. Have all bets other
> than the blinds taken back.
This creates the easiest angle of them all. The raiser can always put out four chips, watch what happens, then know he'll get his bet
back and be able to choose another action. Terrible.
> I agree, chips speak. I've said so right along. If you don't "roll
> back" the action to the original error, then the fact that the
> opener's chips raised the posted BB makes his action a raise, period,
> no mind reading. If the next player put out six, his action was a
> raise of the opener, period, and when the chips are corrected he is
> required to put out the correct amount to do so. Simple, straightforward
> based on the chips on the table (no mindreading), no question.
This is just non-sensible. You want to force a player to raise who is putting out the proper amount for the proper limit. That is
unfair and just bizarre. You are playing 300/600 and the player puts out 600. The only sensible way to look at that is the player is
making it 600... he's either calling a prior raise, or raising himself. No way on earth can this be viewed as a three bet where he has
to put in 900 (if he didn't say anything). Don't forget that no matter what the big blind puts out originally, he must put out three
chips, and the limit is 300/600.
> One more time, it all goes back to the fact that the chain of errors
> began with the short BB and that fact must be taken into account in
> any rational, reasonable decision.
You seem to think the raiser making a personal error is something the rules of poker should be built to "fix". There is nothing
to fix besides making sure the big blind eventually puts out 300. The raiser's error is not a problem that needs fixing. If this occurred
thirty minutes into the round would anybody be advocating these convoluted solutions to a simple situation?
Phil Hellmuth Showing Up Late For Tournaments
> I wrote there could be a valid reason for his lateness, such as illness or a
> personal crisis, but he wasn't 1 hour late, he was 3 1/2 hours late. And if
> there wasn't a valid reason for his lateness no player in the world can give
> away half his stack and beat the players that play in the WSOP.
All players have weaknesses. Tournaments, especially winning tournaments, take a lot of stamina. You not only play a long time, but at
the end of the long time you play you have to make far more important decisions than at the beginning. Phil's personal makeup is such
that, in his opinion, he is better off not playing at the beginning of a tournament. The guy is a wee bit hyper. The energy he would
burn up in the first round could be better used in later rounds. Again, he plays as he does to compensate for a weakness he has as a
Some folks say he likes to come late purely out of megalomania, and that surely has a bit to do it, but if you observe his play and
understand his personality, it is not difficult to see that the "meaningless" rounds (of the many tournaments he plays) are not
something that he is well-suited for. Obviously he would be better off if he improved and learned to play those rounds, and make even
one chip profit, and not have that effect him later, but he can't.
But, three and a half hours late and half your chips is stupid. Skip the first round, no problem at all. Skip two rounds, fine. But to
lose half your chips is just playing bad poker.
Untrue and Inaccurate Tournament Reporting
Mike Sexton wrote...
> I have no problem with anyone disagreeing with how winnings should be
> reported in poker publications. I do think anyone who thinks results
> should be posted where the 2nd and 3rd place finishers might get more
> money than the winner has taken the wrong fork in the road. Will doing
> this make any sense?
Obviously it makes sense. It is what happened. There are two choices, print what happened, or print nonsense. You advocate printing
pure fantasy. Why? Tournament poker is about playing for money, and much less so playing about to come in second or seventh or first.
The way real tournaments do work in this real world is one way, and it is not the fantasy some people want to pretend.
> Is Card Player and Poker Digest not supposed to publish results
> as tournament organizers send to them?
That is the tough question. The other questions are not tough. If casinos give the magazine a lie, that is the difficult issue. I'd
like to see Card Player say they will only publish real tournament results, but I know that would be a tough step for them to take.
> Suppose a set of results was sent in to both magazines and Barry might
> know a deal was made between the final three players. Is he not supposed
> to print those results? What you are asking for is unrealistic and not "doable".
Of course it is "doable". All they have to do is not print stuff like the baloney that appeared in your article. That was inaccurate
non-reality. CardPlayer can and should say they want accurate results. Card Player can and should then print what they are given. Then
the casinos bear the responsibility of giving the magazines lies when they give untrue results reports.
> You are saying that no writer could write about the all-time money winners
> at the WSOP because we know those numbers are not accurate.
Yes, they are all baloney numbers that mean nothing. We know that. They are a joke.
> You are suggesting that if the winner of this year's WSOP makes a deal
> and only gets $600,000, that newspapers around the country shouldn't
> headline their papers with "Winner of WSOP Wins $2,000,000!", but rather
> "WSOP Winner Gets $600,000, runner-up gets $800,000, and 3rd place
> finisher gets $1,000,000". Think how silly that is.
No, think how silly it is to print anything else! This is straightforward. You want to print nonsense rather than the results of a
poker tournament. Tournaments HAVE
deals. They do. They do. Don't pretend they
> I believe the headlines should read, "WSOP Winner Gets $2,000,000"
> whether he makes a deal or not.
Why not "WSOP winner walks on the moon" whether he did or not? Lies are lies. How much did
Phil Hellmuth "win" at PartyPoker Million?
You would stand there and insist that he won $75,000 or whatever it was. But the guy *won* over $200,000. AND....
Phil won several thousands of dollars more because before he made a deal he demanded a premium share, or no deal. *That* is part of
poker. That is part of his poker skill, partly the result of his playing and partly due to the exploitation of his reputation. He WON
MORE MONEY because he used his tournament skills to win more money. Saying he won $75,000 is not just a lie, it diminishes his actual
Suppose at the main event of the WSOP a woman makes a three way deal where she locks up $1,250,000, but eventually ends up getting
third, where the "official" numbers show her getting $750,000. Why would anyone want to diminish her accomplishment and say she was
not a woman who won over a million dollars in a poker tournament? Why? Why would anyone continue to obtusely claim that Kathy was the
only woman to ever "win" a million in a poker tournament -- when she didn't, and this other woman did!
Dishonesty brings shame onto the game, and diminishes the accomplishments of players who do great things. It has to stop and now is a
good time to start. Kathy Liebert won about a half million bucks. That is pretty darn wonderful. Why dump a pile of garbage on top of
that? Additionally, she probably is now the first and only woman to win over a million dollars in poker tournaments (note the plural).
That is a REAL accomplishment, not a baloney, made-up, public-relations piece of crap. Real accomplishments should not be buried under
A Bit of Tournament Strategy
> It is the obligation of every player to try to eliminate any other player.
Definitely no. It is my obligation to play in a way that I believe most favors me personally. There are many times in a tournament
where I will not attempt to eliminate a player. Eliminating players is not the point. Making the most money I can is. Sometimes that
entails staying away from weak or wild players because it strategically suits my purpose.
Flattening Tournament Payout Structures and Deals
(See also here)
Daniel Negreanu wrote...
> RGP doesn't represent the real tournament poker world. The people to poll,
> would be those that play anywhere from 60 to 200 events a year. Those are
> the people it will affect most, and their vote should be heavily weighted.
"Those people" have already voted, overwhelmingly, for flattened payouts by their
dealmaking actions over the past 15 years.
> Further flattening the payout structure in tournament poker,
> will completely change the correct strategy to play tournaments.
I don't agree but so what anyway? Playing good poker is about adapting to your circumstances. Good poker is about maximizing your
expectations. John Bonetti's call in the World Series a few years ago was horrible and any decent commentator would be able to point
out why in a way that made sense to an audience.
John Juanda wrote...
> All Daniel and I wanted was for the tournament to end in its most natural way,
> until one player possesses all the chips. And you think this is "laughable"?
Calling the winner of $1000 the "winner" after $100,000 is split is laughable yes. It's a joke. It doesn't reflect the real winner.
> On the other hand, you want the tournament to stop once a money deal has
> been made. How about those tournaments which were televised on ESPN?
No. I want no deals.
> you'd just explain to audience that the tournament is over because a
> deal has been made (because the players want to reduce their financial
> risks) and this one guy is the winner because he has the most chips?
Ending a tournament when the money is decided is less stupid than playing on after the money is decided. Ever see all the railbirds
leave the room after a deal? In my opinion, you are advocating the worst of three choices. The Bike is in the middle, bad but not as
bad as others. No deals is the best. The person who gets the most money should be the one who wins all the chips and should be the one
who gets the most best all-around points.
Daniel Negreanu wrote...
> So in the meantime, how do you think the Bike's new rule will look
> during the televised World Poker Tour final event?
Better than the other way.
> We don't have no deals yet, although that would be cool. At present, if the
> final three players in the WPT event make a deal...THE TOURNAMENT IS OVER.
That is because THE TOURNAMENT IS OVER.
> That would be one of the silliest moves ever made as far as promoting poker
> is concerned. Do you not understand this Badger? You aren't going to get no
> deals, so your temporary alternative of stopping play after a deal, absolutely
> stinks in so many ways.
You suggest people go into a backroom, cut up the money, don't tell anyone, lie about how much money is at stake, pretend more is at
stake, have everyone play differently, and potentially give the title to a person different than the one who won the most money.
You advocate a system of lying, deceit, falsehood and complete fantasy. The Bike's way is at least honest, even if it is still bad.
Tournaments should have flattened payouts and no deals. And they definitely shouldn't publicly lie and offer fantasy results that have
no relationship to reality. I know saying this is repetitive, but it is impossible to understand how you come down on the side of the
lying to the public and presenting dishonest results.
Ever see "Quiz Show"?
Why should I care about the integrity of BAA races anyway? I'm playing a tournament. My job is to maximize my expectation according to
the rules I am playing under. If I'm not in contention for a best all-around prize but one of my opponents is, it should effect my
strategy under both the Bike and Commerce way of doing things.
Poker isn't a team sport. It's a game about money, even if you have your own priorities. I play to maximize my expectation. I don't
play for ego or pride or anything else I can't spend. As long as tournaments have deals, best all-around points competitions will be
affected by deals. Duh.
The only way to not make this so is to flatten prize pools, prohibit deals and give the most money to the player who wins all the
chips who gets the most points. THAT is what *I* am in favor of.