I play in fast tournments – and some are faster than others

The poker tables in the Trump Taj Mahal
Image via Wikipedia

I have just completed a book about tournament poker that has turned my thinking upside down about how I should play.

The book,Β  The Poker Tournament Formula by Arnold Snyder, stated that the type of tourneys with levels increasing in 5, 10, 15, 20 or 30 minute increments are considered to be “fast tournaments” by his definition.

Snyder states that fast tourneys require more luck than skill due to the fact that the blinds and antes increase quickly to the point that all players, except perhaps the chip leader at the final table, will be short stacked.

In order to survive a fast tourney, Snyder says that you must play aggressively at the start of the tourney while the value of the blinds and antes are low in order to accumulate chips quickly. He does suggest that stealing the blinds and taking shots at winning pots are one way to amass the chips that you will need at the end of a tournament.

The style of play that he suggests for a fast tourney is not one that I am used to playing. In fact, I usually tend to be a little more careful when I play. When I tried to use some of the ideas and methods that he suggested, I ended up busting out of the tourneys rather quickly. Perhaps I need more practice?

He does state that the style of play needed to win will actually see you busting out early but states that this is better than surviving only to make it to the final table without enough chips to win. Winning back your buy-in should not be your goal – winning first place is the goal. You cannot just wait for good cards as they do not come around often enough in a fast tourney. However, if you have large starting stacks of double or triple the normal 1,000 – 1,500 you can be a little more selective about taking shots and risks.

The skills that he teaches in this book, he says are also useful in slow tournaments such as the WPT five day events. All tourneys at some point towards the end become a fast tournament. If you have the skills necessary to win a fast tourney you should do fine at the slow ones. The more skills that you have, the better off you will be.

Do you play in both fast and slow tourneys? How does your style vary from each type? How do you go about accumulating chips?

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7 thoughts on “I play in fast tournments – and some are faster than others

  1. I'm an online player and to me I think there's a difference on what I consider fast and slow (No 30mins/level is fast to me :O )Well since it's a book about poker you can learn a lot of the information and the tips there told. (Of course I do it too). But I disagree with the book's name, I think there's no formula πŸ˜‰ We are out there searching for the perfect strategy… And there isn't.An aggro player and a tag player or even a rock player, would finish at the end of the tourney with all the chips in play if they just play right every phase with their own strategies if they cover the spots where their strategy fails by being tricky and change in those spots.Every tourney is different, that's why there's no formula, is about adaptation to the table and tempo (I call “tempo” to the facts of have a good self-timing, knowledge of the tourney's timing and being comfty with your chips, even if you have one chip remaining, and you clearly knowing what to do).Example: If there were a formula, actually a cheap holdem computer game (not one in which the computer calculate every variable like in a chess computer game, my god thats nasty) would be fun to play with.My advice is miss what you learnt with your style, but discover all about your tempo…If you are jogging round the block a clouple of times, and you sprint, beware your cardio… take a breath or you're screwed If you are playing and your game is out your tempo, then you know you're screwed. (youre drowning, take a breath by being tricky and take control)You already know your tempo but maybe need to analyze which are the spots where you're not comfty, drowning and needed of some breath to improve.I said all of this because Ive seen that people usually totally lose their “tempo” when theyre trying to change their strategies. Follow a formula makes you predictable, being “predictable” and surprise your opponents is priceless πŸ˜‰ These are some of my ideals, I'm not prepared to follow it perfectly. Only half prepared to play the level I play, where I play… but time to time πŸ˜‰ Wishes, ImanothPS.: As always to lazy to try to give all the paragraphs above a structure. Hope you get it.

    • Imanoth, once again I am intrigued by your comments and I take to heart what you say about tempo. I think that I need to work on my breathing … that is a good thing. Useful if you want to last more than 4 minutes at a time. Thanks for sharing.

      • I was trying to say it in general and used “you” instead of “we” lolWhat I meant to say with those lines is that every strategy is good if it worked and we're applying them in the right “spot”, it's more self-improvement after a chosen strategy. But most of all, we've to know them all, and choose one depending on the run of cards we have early or the field (but being prepared to change if needed).We never go to a chess game with a preconceived strategy, we go after the moves of our opponents (preceded by ours…), and then we apply strategy. When we know our level (where we are playing) we know what works and when, and then we need to keep focus. A pro writes about a guideline (their guideline), their perfect situations, a perfect game for them… where their opponents acts like they should, but they know it isnt what made them winners but what define their style. (like the before mentioned D.Brunson, using AQ, because it is strong in stats after all) Their vision, their “tempo” make them winners. When we fail, then we learn (when we are sucked out, well you know we made it well and it isnt our fault, and if it is the other way we learn we shouldnt made that, so we learn and focus again).We all give our best to improve, but whenever someone change his mindset, it could be either a great improve or a giant leap back, so be careful to not start from the very beginning.Book —-> GuidelineCoach —-> Help discipline and focus. But we are the ones who must win to be winners or advance in level to win. Do you ever imagined Texas Rounders, talking about this in their trips? πŸ™‚

      • More good insight. Thank you. It is true, poker is an in the “now” type of game. You cannot just go as you say with the “ABC” type of game – you have to know or learn what your opponents are trying to do and also try to figure out what they think you are trying to do. Levels within levels. Have you ever thought about writing a book or a blog? Perhaps you already have?

      • I'll write a book about poker If I work on a profitable play and I cannot make it work myself… it is not new, isnt it?… hehehe.I don't blog either (I microblog a bit, you know) Maybe I should, it would help a lot… but probably doing it or in my motherlanguage, or translating it to english carefully (because I know when Im writing in english quickly (like this) I make a lot of mistakes.I like to write (you know my posts are too long, too often, *shame*), I used to write stories and I want to write a big one since some time ago (but I want to do it really good, so I'm always hesitated to start it).Good ideas! Thank you! :)P.S.: Read the last entry… hope you arent on tilt anymore πŸ™‚ Goods ideas,

      • I thought I had overcome my personal tilt but see that I am still not 100% my usually chatty self. That in itself is interesting to me as I have yet another item to add to my check list of things to work on. I am trying as you suggested to get back to my tempo. Of course nothing helps tempo building more than catching Aces or Kings as my pocket pairs! As to your writing – you might be able to compile a list of your comments and transfer form it into the “best of Imannoth”.

  2. I thought I had overcome my personal tilt but see that I am still not 100% my usually chatty self. That in itself is interesting to me as I have yet another item to add to my check list of things to work on. I am trying as you suggested to get back to my tempo. Of course nothing helps tempo building more than catching Aces or Kings as my pocket pairs! As to your writing – you might be able to compile a list of your comments and transfer form it into the “best of Imannoth”.

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