Thursday, June 23, 2005

Playing a tournament blind

Due to my slow realization that in order to win tournaments you need to win a decent amount of hands without having good cards, I decided to try a little experiment. I entered a $5 30 person no limit hold'em tournament on Party Poker. Once I was assigned my seat, I placed a small piece of paper over my icon and cards and played the tournament without looking at my cards.

My basic strategy was to only play hands in late position or in my blinds. I would raise if I was first to open the pot. If I saw a chance for a squeeze play I would take it. If it looked like someone was trying to steal my blind, I would play back at them.

I would say, I played about 90% of the early hands blind. A couple of times, I peeked on the river or if someone played back at me. Mostly I just played based on whether I thought I could push my opponent around.

Just like I expected, I did very well. I chipped up pretty consistently at every level and by the time we were down to about 14 players, I was 4th in chips overall. It was about this time that I became a little bored with the challenge and my emotions of wanting to win the thing took over. I tried to play the same style and I think I did a pretty good job of it.

Eventually it got down to 3 players. I had around 12,000, the small stack had 5,000, and the big stack had 13,000. The blinds were still relatively small at 100-200 so I had a lot of room to play around. I continued to raise the blinds mercilessly and finally the big stack got tired of it. He reraised me all in. Unfortunately for him, I had a real hand in Ace King of hearts. He had King Queen and my Ace high held up so now I had a 5 to 1 chip lead over my remaining opponent. He slowly came back to about a 2-1 deficit before I finally put him away.

I think I am going to do this a few more times or maybe in a big muliti player tournament just to get better at it. The small buy in tournaments should be a good barometer because they tend to attract the looser and more aggressive players. If I can make the strategy work in these tournaments, it should work even better in the larger buy in tournaments where the players tend to be more conservative. The live tournaments at the casinos here have such quick blind structures that you cannot just sit around and wait for good cards. I have also been pushed around a little by the more aggressive players. I always think I can wait for a good hand and double up, but by the time I get the hand, my stack has shrunk 50%. My double up only gets me back to square 1. So far I am 1-0.


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