Monday, April 10, 2006

SirF’s Theory of Small Field Poker

I probably should not publish my revolutionary findings in poker but nobody believes me anyway so what the hell. Anyways I am so inept at describing my system that nobody is going to get anything out of it anyways. First off I am going to make a typical Sir arrogant comment, here it comes, hold on to your hats: I do not think I am on a hot streak, I believe that my win rate of 1-3 games a week is sustainable.

Ouch, that was a pretty bold statement! I just believe that my style of play allows for good results in small filed MTT’s to be referred to in the rest of this article as sfMTTs. I have a very small sample size and I tend to get overly excited about success so I am willing to admit I could be wrong. We can start out with some correlating data though.

Over the past few month’s I have played:

10 – 180/22$ SNGs 1,1,2,4.
1 – 55$/SNG 1
10 – WWDNs 1,3,8
3 - 20$ MTTs <200 people 1
1 - 4$/180 0
1 - Saturday with Dr. Pauly 1

According to SharkScope I have a 68% ROI. So in a short period of time I have had a lot of success in these events. What does this prove? Nothing yet. I think that it starts a good trend and I believe that I can continue with this.

I base this off of the fact that I think the smaller the field the less luck needed. You do need to get lucky but far less often than in a large field MTT. The reason for this is that the final table stacks are going to be closer than in a large MTT and they are going to be smaller amounts. I typically see a 60-100K chip leader at worse. I can eek into the final table with 10-15K and be one double up away from being in good shape. The blinds are usually lower when the final table starts and most people do not seem to want to level up.

I think in some ways the WSOP shows this to be true. As the fields have increased the number of pro’s at the final table has decreased. As they get picked off by unlucky plays and just can not keep up. I think most people would agree anyway that the less people the less luck is needed.

I think that an overly aggressive style is necessary for success in larger field MTTs. Eeking into the money in these is not an option. You need a much larger stack to even make the final table. So the steal the blinds on the bubble type of players do much better in these types of events. In the smaller field events I believe an extremely tight, do not defend your blinds, style of play pays off.

My start game plan is the same as any tourney I enter. I usually play a loose-weak style. I try to see a bunch of flops and hit a monster in order to get paid off. It is here I am most likely to be knocked out. Once the field narrows I change strategy.

If you ask anyone who has watched me win one of these recently they will say that I was folding hands that I should not have when the field is down to 30 or less people. AQ to a raise, out the door, AK, all in, possible fold. Smaller pockets, ok I will probably limp. Instead of taking risks and trying for a 50/50 situation to catapult me to super stardom I wait. I keep waiting. Wait some more. Yup. Just a little more waiting.. and fold. Once I hit 30th place I want to get to the final table. I believe I can take top 5 if I make it there and that is my only goal.

Now do not get me wrong here. It is all situational, and if I get a good hand I will play it hard. I have no problem pushing with my AK/AQ, I just am not going to go out of my way to get into those situations unless I am pretty sure I am ahead. I am far more likely to play a hand aggressively with position or with smaller stacks left to act than calling a small stacks all in just because I have the chance to bust him out. I am sure I am not describing my technique very well. It is difficult to put a playing style down on paper. It is all so situational and read based. However I will say I am more likely to play a tight, low-aggression game, where I will be highly aggressive on any hand I decide to play. No stealing with 92o. Not a lot of trying to bust the small stack because I can.

Once I get to the final table using this strategy, as many proponents of aggressive styles of play will tell you, I obviously am usually 7-9th place. I am usually one double up away from 3-6th place. In my opinion: I am primed to win. At this point in the game I throw out M and P and Q and any other silly measures except one: The Benjamin’s. My whole goal here is to hang on while other more aggressive players pick each other off. It will happen my friends. People will get bored. Some will get scared because they can not live without an M of 15. Others will notice the blinds going up and start panicking. I will gladly let these people play off of one another. As I make twenty more here, a hundred more there, up and up I climb. I play my good hands with ultimate aggression. I am looking for them to double up. So far the talent that I have played against seems to not notice I folded the last 99 hands and they think that AJ is the place to stand up to me. I crush them and have a workable stack again and their phe@r gets the best of them and they fall out I keep climbing. Usually once I make a final table I will take top three and many times I end up winning. I like my style of play when it gets short and I trust myself to be able to take out a chip leader.

So what happens when I make 3rd? I become a totally different monster. People at my table think someone else has taken over and is playing for me. Perhaps ZeeJustin’s Grammy? I go hyper aggressive and steal blinds like crazy. I play my good cards hard as hell and scare the crap out of people. The final three usually noticed that I was a tight player and now they do not know how to adjust to my change. I do not go totally insane but I figure I have made it to the sweet spot. It is now time to bring the big bucks home to daddy. Three ways my weak Aces gain strength and I am willing to play them that way. I want to make up for all my passivity and take it out on the other players. The monster is unleashed.

So probably I am overrating my talents. Possibly I am just on a hot streak. However I hope to prove this wrong. I believe in my tourney ability in small field events and I think they can be a nice cash cow. I do not win the huge single game payoffs but a bunch of 1K wins adds up. Perhaps a slightly weaker style works better in these. Only time will tell. Until then I will enjoy! I look forward to comments from all of my readers. Many of you have way different styles of play and I respect that.


Blogger Wes said...

The Poker Gods are a cruel bunch. The eventual cold streak shall be entertaining to read.

3:26 PM

Blogger SirFWALGMan said...

lol. I live to entertain.

3:39 PM

Blogger Alan said...

That sounds like a pretty good strategy to me.

Although in poker you always have to adapt to the situation at hand. Perhaps you have hit on a pattern that tends to do well against the opponents at the level you are playing at.

5:13 PM

Blogger DuggleBogey said...


5:16 PM

Blogger Bloody P said...

You play much the same way I do. In the smaller tourneys or even SnGs, I'll let people steal my blinds, fold down AK if the situation warrants it. I'll usually wait for my monsters and try to get as many chips in the pot as possible.

Once I get down to the final table or 3 handed at an SnG, I go freakin' crazy.

7:34 PM

Blogger Poker Nerd said...

To be honest, this is pretty much the same strategy you should use for large fields. You just have to wait longer and win a couple more coinflips. The payoffs are fewer, but bigger.

But, yes, you're running hot.

7:50 AM


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