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