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Poker Tournaments & SNG's

Saving Money in Poker Multi-Table Tournaments

10,392 Views on 14/2/15
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I've mentioned in the pastpokerimage how much people love a bargain - they can't get enough of them! Long gone are the days where discounts we reserved for awkward, anorak donning, coupon collectors, or those people that simply like to complain too much.

Thanks to people such as Martin Lewis, making the most of discounts  is no longer seen as being cheap,  and instead, it's now considered common sense (for obvious reasons). There's actually a whole industry centred around it, and nowadays, sniffing out a bargain is often as easy as simply keeping your eyes peeled for one. 

Wouldn't it be great then if, in a game where small margins are everything, you were able to bargain hunt at the poker tables?  Well, believe it or not, I think there are times when you can, and I'm not just talking about utilising rakeback and software offers either.

I'm talking about actively looking for discount opportunities and keeping your eyes peeled for ways to save money, such as minimising the amount of unnecessary chips you spend on your bluffs, or not registering for 20 MTTs when you don't feel great. This can be as effective as maximising the amount you win with you big hands, and in turn, the difference between winning and losing.

If you've been watching the Big $11 hand history review videos that I've been making with Gazwal you might be familiar with the following hand, but I figured the flop dynamic was far too interesting not to put under the microscope. I think it's a great example of how keeping an eye out for ways of finding a discount can save you money at the poker tables. Take a look:


The action checks to us and we must decide whether to check or bet - let's assume we bet as it's more interesting. With the dead money in the pot giving the short stack excellent pot odds, I think we can pretty confidently assume that unless the short-stack has eaten his cards, he is going to move all in if he has any equity a high percentage of the time.

In game Hero chose to make a c-bet of  just over 8,000 chips, but because of the likelihood that the short-stack will move all in, I think a smaller c-bet with the intention of slowing down if the deeper stacked opponent continues would be far more profitable. Work with me, this might get confusing! 

Generally, the notion of betting to “find out where you are” is considered pretty old fashioned, but I think the concept still has some merit in this kind of scenario if we twist it slightly and instead, we make a small bet to find out where our opponents are. This is because the seating arrangement in this hand will force our deeper-stacked opponent to play his hand face up, meaning that when we c-bet, we can use his position to get a great indication of his hand strength.

This is basically down to him being sandwiched between us and the short-stack, and as a consequence it will be tough for him to continue without a strong hand if the short-stack moves all in (which is likely), especially if we bet small enough to prevent and under-raise from the short-stack, and we can reopen the action if the mid stack decides to just call (although in practice, we'd probably never re-shove light given how strong his call would look).

Of course, once we cbet, pokerimagewe are never folding to the short-stack's shove if our other opponent folds, we will simply be pot committed. But if we assume that the short-stack is regularly getting his 8,700 chips in regardless of how much we bet, as well as knowing that our other Villain will almost certainly have a better hand than us if he chooses to continue after the short-stack shoves (in which case we can fold/slowdown), we may as well bet the smallest believable amount we can to ensure the short-stack's shoving range is as wide as possible, and that we lose the minimum on the occasions the deeper stacked opponent isolates him and we have to fold. 

The downside to making a smaller bet is that very occasionally the short-stack will fold and we will play a hand with the other player. This isn't that bad thought because we can just proceed with caution when this happens knowing that we're probably not in great shape against his range, given how much credit we should be given for c-betting into a multi-way pot with such a short-stack. Besides, we are in position and can dictate the action anyway, so this shouldn’t pose too much of a problem.

For the results orientated among you, the short-stack moved all in with AKo and we held to win the pot. I think this hand is a great example of how the nature of tournaments can put you in some unusual spots, and how a strong situational understanding can enable your to employ a wee bit of manipulation to get away with something a little unorthodox.

We are in a weird spot here where we can easily have the best hand, and are therefore betting for value against the shorty, but are going to have to fold to any action from the mid stack. Because of this, I think we can use our understanding of stack size to spot an opportunity to get a discount on the number of chips that we risk. Betting somewhere closer to 4,000 instead of the 8,000 hero actually bet would save us 4,000 chips every time the mid stack wakes up with a hand and we can't continue.

That's a 50% saving – God I do love a discount. 


Dan O'Callaghan

Primarily an MTT grinder, Dan began playing poker over curry and Kopperberg whilst at university about 4 years ago.   He exists as several aliases but is best know as 'danshreddies'. His biggest score came earlier in the year when ... Read More


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