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The Poker Tournament Formula


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#41 SlackerInc

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Posted 19 March 2007 - 06:48 PM

View Posttrystero, on Monday, March 19th, 2007, 5:58 PM, said:

Since when is this poker's objective, though? I'm not there to annoy players with my customarily awful play. I'm there to win pots and make money or accumulate chips.
But if you are the big stack and the small stacks (in Orange or Red Zones) are making the mistake of limping when they should be in push/fold mode, making them pay an extra bet helps you, no? He points out that someone else may well win the pot, but you're on the way to winnowing the field and since this is not a cash game but a tourney, that does help you.

#42 copernicus

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Posted 19 March 2007 - 06:53 PM

View PostSlackerInc, on Monday, March 19th, 2007, 10:48 PM, said:

But if you are the big stack and the small stacks (in Orange or Red Zones) are making the mistake of limping when they should be in push/fold mode, making them pay an extra bet helps you, no? He points out that someone else may well win the pot, but you're on the way to winnowing the field and since this is not a cash game but a tourney, that does help you.
It would seem that if they should be in push fold mode (which means that they dont really have the chips to outplay you postflop) you are reducing the size of their error and doing them a favor. Remember, you cant outplay them post flop either, because their stack is limited, and a minraise here further ties your hands.I just picked up the book..it will take me a few days to get through.
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#43 SlackerInc

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Posted 19 March 2007 - 07:07 PM

View Postcopernicus, on Monday, March 19th, 2007, 8:53 PM, said:

It would seem that if they should be in push fold mode (which means that they dont really have the chips to outplay you postflop) you are reducing the size of their error and doing them a favor.
How are you reducing the size of their error, when they end up either losing the amount they limped for, or they have to put double the amount in the pot, before they see a flop? Surely they don't want to have to do this before seeing a flop, so how is it good news for them?Look forward to your impressions of the book.

#44 copernicus

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Posted 19 March 2007 - 07:41 PM

View PostSlackerInc, on Monday, March 19th, 2007, 11:07 PM, said:

How are you reducing the size of their error, when they end up either losing the amount they limped for, or they have to put double the amount in the pot, before they see a flop? Surely they don't want to have to do this before seeing a flop, so how is it good new for them?Look forward to your impressions of the book.
I'm focusing on the first one in...everyone else is limping for pot odds. If UTG should be betting big, and instead he bet small, and youre forcing him to bet bigger...closer to the right amount. In fact you are giving him a chance to push back totally correcting his error. When a very small stack limps or min-raises its usually a strong hand that doesnt want to chase everyone away.
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#45 cubbybri

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Posted 19 March 2007 - 10:27 PM

View PostSlackerInc, on Monday, March 19th, 2007, 11:07 PM, said:

How are you reducing the size of their error, when they end up either losing the amount they limped for, or they have to put double the amount in the pot, before they see a flop? Surely they don't want to have to do this before seeing a flop, so how is it good news for them?Look forward to your impressions of the book.
The original limp is some of these limpers error. Once so many in the pot and they need to call the min raise as now they have great pot odds(or better now).Just becuase they make one mistake does not make them call more a bigger mistake, in a lot of cases it is actually a benefit to them.Same as preflop to post flop. You can limp in with 72o everytime you get it but the bigger mistake would be folding it on a flop of 772 because, 'you shouldn't have played this hand after all'.Choices need to be made one at a time independent of any prior mistakes.The min raise seems kinda silly to me but I guess it could mess up other players in the short term. Seems kinda stolen from limit play. I have only skimmed through this book twice now and although some of stuff in there seems somewhat foolish I do think his style does the trick to creating havoc and staying aggressive at the table.As stated in a previous post, there was some good stuff in there too which I am trying to use a bit more(cards>chips>position>repeat) and some of the button play(I am not doing with any hand but have loosened up a bit more and made stabs when checked to).

#46 CobaltBlue

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Posted 20 March 2007 - 02:12 AM

Let me just go ahead and quote the section that I'm referring to so that we're all on the same page...From Chapter 13 (Bluffing):The Mini-RaiseThe mini-raise is a preflop, late position bluff that you'll find many opportunities to use if you gather a big chip stack. This is a bluff that you can make when you get to the point in the tournament when there are many short stacks compared to the costs of the blinds and antes. This is the point when the average chip stack in the tournament is short.In fast tournaments, this usually occurs sometime just after the halfway point. For example, two and a half hours into the Orleans Monday night tournament, the blinds hit $150 and $300. This is a multiple-rebuy/add-on tournament, where the average player makes 3.5 rebuys, giving the average player about $1,350 in total starting chips. This tournament generally has about 200 entrants, and at this point about two-and-a-half hours in, about half of the players have been eliminated. This means the average chip stack for the remaining 100 players is about $2,700.Since it costs $150+$300 = $450 to go around the table once, the "average" player will be desperate, with only six times the cost of going through the blinds. But in fact, there will be very few players with average sized stacks at this time. There will be a few players with chip stacks well over $10,000, a few more with stacks of $5,000 to $10,000, and many who are hanging on by a thread. It is not unusual to see six to eight players at a single table with fewer than the average number of chips. This is when the mini-raise is a beautiful move.Again, you can only make this bluff when you are very well stacked with a stack of chips relative to the blind costs and the other stacks on your table. It's a bluff that's designed to cripple the short stacks, but you can often pick up the pot with it as well. The other conditions you need to make this move are:1. You must be in late position, preferably on the button or in the cuttoff seat.2. Three or more players must have limped into the pot.3. Two or more of the limpers must be short-stacked; the more short stacks in the pot the better.You most often find these opportunities right after the blind level has increased, which further worries the short stacks. This is also the point in the tournament where you see how many truly poor players there are left in the field. It will not be uncommon at this point in the tournament to see a player with only $2,000 in chips into pot after pot, only to fold when an aggressive player makes a big raise. These players have no clue whatsoever about tournament speed factors, and they especially do not realize that with such short stacks, their only preflop bet should be all-in, unless they have aces or kings and are trying to get another player to make a move on them. Remember, when you are this short on chips, you should either be all-in or stay out of the way.In any case, here's how the mini-raise works: let's say the blinds are $150 and $300, and five players have limped in. Three of the limpers have only $1,500 to $2,000 or so. You are the chip leader, and you have about $10,000 in chips. When the action gets to you, you simply raise the minimum amount. You make the bet $600. Your cards are immaterial.This move will drive any of the "good" tournament players at your table bonkers. Even experienced aggressive players whom you know to be dangerous and whom you frequently see at final tables will be scratching their heads at your mini-raise. What the hell kind of raise is that? You can't even make this move without chuckling to yourself. But every player in that pot who just wanted to see a flop will hate you, and they'll have no idea how to read the meaning of that wimpy raise.Essentially, what you're doing with the mini-raise is forcing already desperate players into greater desperation. You are single-handedly redistributing the wealth at your table. Because of your chip stack and position, you'll often take this pot postflop because that mini-raise is just confusing as hell. Do you have aces? Big slick? Queens? Nothing but a sense of humor?Even if you don't ultimately take the pot, that mini-raise is good for you because it hurts so many other players. Most players will be compelled to call your mini-raise simply because the pot has grown so much since they put in their first $300. Often, a player who many have limped with a quality hand will go over the top of your mini-raise now that he's got a real pot to take a shot at, giving those short stacks a very tough decision, and an even tougher decision if they have already called your mini-raise before that other reraise. Obviously, if you don't have a playable hand, you fold to any reraise yourself.If no player reraises your mini-raise, then you have position after the flop and a whole table full of players who entered with non-premium hands and who view you - the big chip stack - as the preflop aggressor. If no player takes a shot at this pot postflop, any normal bet of about half the size of the pot will usually deliver it to you. If there is a postflop bet, you'll have to abandon your hand unless the flop actually hits you. But you did your dirty work and you should be pleased with the result.The mini-raise punishes players for treating a no-limit tournament like a limit ring game. One player will win a nice pot, but a lot of others will lose more chips than they intended to risk, and any short stacks will lose a lot more chips than they could afford to give up. The whole essence of a tournament is the redistribution of wealth, with the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer. When you count yourself among the rich, anything you can do to make the poor poorer at a reasonable cost to yourself is a favorable result. You're accelerating your opponents' demise and getting yourself closer to the money. And, since you have position on this hand, you would at least have called all of those $300 limpers from the button anyway. There was just too much money in the pot for you to throw away any hand. So, that mini-raise only cost you an extra $300. If you count the strategic value of this bluff, which will give you the pot a good percentage of the time, it has little or no cost. I should point out that if you have a real hand here - say any high pocket pair or big slick, A-Q suited - you should not make a mini-raise. In that case, you should make a bet that at least matches the size of the pot. And that's no bluff.

#47 copernicus

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Posted 20 March 2007 - 04:21 AM

Ahhh..that makes a little more sense in context. Instead of blowing off 16% of their stack with their minraise, they are sucked into blowing off 33% of it. There is still a fallacy in this approach unless you are near the bubble however. Far from the bubble you dont care how chips are distributed, in fact I for one would prefer 4 small short stacks to 3 even shorter stacks and one bigger stack. Divide and conquer so to speak. So if you dont win the pot, and one of the small stacks does, youve turned 4 gnats into 3 gnats and a wasp. The wasp is probably to your right, which makes him a little less dangerous, but Im still not sold on the whole concept.
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#48 cubbybri

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Posted 20 March 2007 - 09:39 AM

View PostSlackerInc, on Sunday, March 18th, 2007, 12:17 PM, said:

Here's an example hand where I used this tactic (though my hand wasn't technically junk, I would have done the same thing regardless of what I had):PokerStars No-Limit Hold'em Tourney, Big Blind is t20 (9 handed) Hand History Converter Tool from FlopTurnRiver.com (Format: FlopTurnRiver)MP3 (t1460)CO (t1380)Hero (t1460)SB (t2480)BB (t1500)UTG (t1500)UTG+1 (t1280)MP1 (t1500)MP2 (t940)Preflop: Hero is Button with KPosted Image, JPosted Image. 1 fold, UTG+1 calls t20, 1 fold, MP2 calls t20, MP3 calls t20, CO calls t20, Hero raises to t40, 1 fold, BB calls t20, UTG+1 calls t20, MP2 calls t20, MP3 calls t20, CO calls t20.Flop: (t250) 5Posted Image, 9Posted Image, APosted Image (6 players)BB checks, UTG+1 checks, MP2 checks, MP3 checks, CO checks, Hero bets t200, BB folds, UTG+1 folds, MP2 folds, MP3 folds, CO folds.Final Pot: t450
Wrong example hand to demonstrate since the stacks sizes so not warrant but I can see how in bubble situations this makes some sense.

#49 SlackerInc

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Posted 20 March 2007 - 12:37 PM

View Postcubbybri, on Tuesday, March 20th, 2007, 11:39 AM, said:

Wrong example hand to demonstrate
Yeah, I acknowledged that upthread. My bad.

#50 TwoFourOffsuit

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Posted 21 March 2007 - 09:52 PM

Chiming in to say that I loved this book, that I got a lot of good principles from it, and that Mason HAS been a jerk about it. Mason is a smart guy who has done quite a bit for cultivating modern poker strategy, but he'd have saved a lot of face to just admit Arnold had a point about fast tourney play, given the evidence. Snyder in fact concedes that developing players ought to read 2+2's books, so the least Mason could do is make a similar concession in the face of strong evidence. But he won't. And it just makes him look insecure and catty.

Quote

Ahhh..that makes a little more sense in context. Instead of blowing off 16% of their stack with their minraise, they are sucked into blowing off 33% of it. There is still a fallacy in this approach unless you are near the bubble however. Far from the bubble you dont care how chips are distributed, in fact I for one would prefer 4 small short stacks to 3 even shorter stacks and one bigger stack. Divide and conquer so to speak. So if you dont win the pot, and one of the small stacks does, youve turned 4 gnats into 3 gnats and a wasp. The wasp is probably to your right, which makes him a little less dangerous, but Im still not sold on the whole concept.
You're right that this shouldn't be used earlier in a tournament. The key is that you don't use the miniraise unless it's later in the tournament... around the bubble, when smaller stacks are clinging to survival. Snyder acknowledges this.
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#51 ChrisRichey

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Posted 26 March 2007 - 09:39 AM

Hey SI, is there a way you (or anybody else with this book) could paste the patience factor chart here for me. I downloaded the spreadsheet, and was just wanting to compare a few different mtts and sngs. Thanks!

#52 SlackerInc

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Posted 26 March 2007 - 01:36 PM

View PostChrisRichey, on Monday, March 26th, 2007, 11:39 AM, said:

Hey SI, is there a way you (or anybody else with this book) could paste the patience factor chart here for me. I downloaded the spreadsheet, and was just wanting to compare a few different mtts and sngs. Thanks!
I'm not sure which chart you mean. It looks to me like to estimate a given tourney's PF, you would need to go through the math in that whole chapter. But there is a chart with some examples--I'll throw out a couple:--PokerStars $109 (t1500 chips; t10/20 starting blinds; 15 minute levels) has a patience factor of 7.75, meaning a skill level in the low end of the 5 ("slower, requires much more skill") range.--Full Tilt $55 (t1500; t15/30; 10 min.) has a PF of 7.54, barely above the skill level 4 range ("medium fast, requires more skill").Seems strange that their PFs are so close together; the Full Tilt tourney must have some other factor like an extra intermediary blind level or something.HTHETA: Snyder says everything about his book is designed to apply to four tables or more, except the section on single table satellites. He only mentions SNGs once, briefly, saying that because you are so close to the money to begin with, a patient/tight strategy is more advisable than his aggressive fast-MTT strategy.

#53 ChrisRichey

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Posted 26 March 2007 - 02:23 PM

When I said sngs, I meant the 90 and 180 person ones. I already have the spreadsheet that does the math for you, I just am needing the thing to tell me what the different PF outcomes mean. Thanks!

#54 CobaltBlue

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Posted 26 March 2007 - 03:38 PM

View PostChrisRichey, on Monday, March 26th, 2007, 5:23 PM, said:

When I said sngs, I meant the 90 and 180 person ones. I already have the spreadsheet that does the math for you, I just am needing the thing to tell me what the different PF outcomes mean. Thanks!
I just noticed it the other day, but there's another page to that spreadsheet. So look for the tabs at the bottom...and click the first one. It'll give you a comparison of the skill levels.

#55 hblask

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Posted 27 March 2007 - 10:25 AM

Sorry to join this discussion so late... I don't have much time to read, and I don't have much time to play MTTs. Having said that, I like his idea of playing with your cards covered up in cheap tournaments, just to break your brain out of its rigid ways and quit worrying about your cards. I've heard pros suggest this before, but never took it seriously. He does a nice job of explaining why you should.I'm not all the way through the book, but I've played a couple MTTs based on his positional advice, and was *extremely* surprised at how well it worked. This book seems to have found an opening in the HoH tournament world. I hope it doesn't catch on like HoH, because then, of course, it will stop working.
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#56 SlackerInc

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Posted 27 March 2007 - 10:40 AM

View Posthblask, on Tuesday, March 27th, 2007, 12:25 PM, said:

I hope it doesn't catch on like HoH, because then, of course, it will stop working.
Great point!

#57 hblask

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Posted 27 March 2007 - 11:08 AM

OK, I'm thinking about this some more.... so I wanted to get feedback. The difference between HoH and Snyder seems to be that Snyder says "if it's a fast tournament, play fast regardless of your immediate situation." Harrington says "look at your situation in each hand, and decide how to play." Both seem to have a lot of merit, but before I heard about the Snyder book, an idea was forming in my head that is hard to describe, but seems to support Snyder. Basically, the idea I had is that you imagine a line from your current situation to winning the tournament, and picture in your head what that looks like. Call it the "win line". A rough draft of that is what the average chip count would look like at any point in the tournament, but I'll try to explain below why that's not a very good estimate.Then, based on your win line, you decide how you need to play. There is a zone below your line where you feel comfortable, but once you get below that, you are in ultra-aggressive mode. Harrington says this is based soley on M. The reason why I think Snyder may be a better representation is because the blinds don't go up linearly, so based on Harrington, you can find yourself in good shape, then 15 minutes later, oops, now I'm in ultra-aggressive mode. Snyder seems to be saying "think ahead, look where the line is going, not just the current spot." It would be interesting to plot the percent increase in blinds at each level vs typical average chipstack vs knockout rate (players remaining) at each point in a typical online tournament. I suspect it would go in fits and starts. The question seems to become, is it better to wait until you NEED to suckout (a la Harrington), or do you want to try to suckout a little bit all along so that push-or-fold mode can be avoided unless the cards (and your opponents) just refuse to cooperate. Snyder's patience factor looks to me like it is putting a number on this question.Where Snyder seems incomplete is that he just computes patience factor using starting stacks and the blind levels that will eat it up. But there can be vast difference in structure AFTER those first few levels. To do a full analysis, you would probably need to compute the "win line" for the whole tournament. I thnk average chipstack would probably be weak, because if you've ever paid attention, at times average stack is pretty comfortable, other times it's in danger, and it can go back and forth several times in a tournament, depending on a lot of factors. Therefore, your "win line" may be above the average chip stack or below the average chip stack depending on how quickly people are dropping off (and affecting average stack) and the upcoming blind level changes in relation to those factors.Maybe the answer is a dynamic patience factor, based on current chipstack and the blind structure for the next XX minutes, where XX is a number that eats up your current stack OR where good solid poker can win out over suckouts. With a low M, as per Harrington, it is obviously "get aggressive now" time. I just think it's possible to need to be in aggressive mode at certain points in the tournament even when your M is comfortable by Harrington standards, and your chipstack is decent compared to the other players. Maybe it's your Super-M, where it is based on the next 100 hands (or whatever makes sense). An M of 15 in a tournament with 30 minute blinds is a lot different than an M of 15 in a tournament with 3 minute blinds. Snyder seems to have taken a stab at quantifying this, whereas Harrington just sort of says "think about that in certain situations."Anyway, that's a lot of babbling... I hope I gave people something to think about and comment upon. I may start to collect some data on this to see what the "win line" would look like....
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#58 copernicus

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Posted 27 March 2007 - 02:09 PM

View Posthblask, on Tuesday, March 27th, 2007, 3:08 PM, said:

OK, I'm thinking about this some more.... so I wanted to get feedback. The difference between HoH and Snyder seems to be that Snyder says "if it's a fast tournament, play fast regardless of your immediate situation." Harrington says "look at your situation in each hand, and decide how to play." Both seem to have a lot of merit, but before I heard about the Snyder book, an idea was forming in my head that is hard to describe, but seems to support Snyder. Basically, the idea I had is that you imagine a line from your current situation to winning the tournament, and picture in your head what that looks like. Call it the "win line". A rough draft of that is what the average chip count would look like at any point in the tournament, but I'll try to explain below why that's not a very good estimate.Then, based on your win line, you decide how you need to play. There is a zone below your line where you feel comfortable, but once you get below that, you are in ultra-aggressive mode. Harrington says this is based soley on M. The reason why I think Snyder may be a better representation is because the blinds don't go up linearly, so based on Harrington, you can find yourself in good shape, then 15 minutes later, oops, now I'm in ultra-aggressive mode. Snyder seems to be saying "think ahead, look where the line is going, not just the current spot." It would be interesting to plot the percent increase in blinds at each level vs typical average chipstack vs knockout rate (players remaining) at each point in a typical online tournament. I suspect it would go in fits and starts. The question seems to become, is it better to wait until you NEED to suckout (a la Harrington), or do you want to try to suckout a little bit all along so that push-or-fold mode can be avoided unless the cards (and your opponents) just refuse to cooperate. Snyder's patience factor looks to me like it is putting a number on this question.Where Snyder seems incomplete is that he just computes patience factor using starting stacks and the blind levels that will eat it up. But there can be vast difference in structure AFTER those first few levels. To do a full analysis, you would probably need to compute the "win line" for the whole tournament. I thnk average chipstack would probably be weak, because if you've ever paid attention, at times average stack is pretty comfortable, other times it's in danger, and it can go back and forth several times in a tournament, depending on a lot of factors. Therefore, your "win line" may be above the average chip stack or below the average chip stack depending on how quickly people are dropping off (and affecting average stack) and the upcoming blind level changes in relation to those factors.Maybe the answer is a dynamic patience factor, based on current chipstack and the blind structure for the next XX minutes, where XX is a number that eats up your current stack OR where good solid poker can win out over suckouts. With a low M, as per Harrington, it is obviously "get aggressive now" time. I just think it's possible to need to be in aggressive mode at certain points in the tournament even when your M is comfortable by Harrington standards, and your chipstack is decent compared to the other players. Maybe it's your Super-M, where it is based on the next 100 hands (or whatever makes sense). An M of 15 in a tournament with 30 minute blinds is a lot different than an M of 15 in a tournament with 3 minute blinds. Snyder seems to have taken a stab at quantifying this, whereas Harrington just sort of says "think about that in certain situations."Anyway, that's a lot of babbling... I hope I gave people something to think about and comment upon. I may start to collect some data on this to see what the "win line" would look like....
If there is enough data to plot credible data on "win lines" it might lend credence to either the "accumulators" or the "survivors", because I think thats where you are ultimately headed. There will either be a preponderence of win lines that jump out well above average and then continue to build reasonably steadily (other than recoveries from set backs), a preponderence of lines that kind of track average, and maybe another group that drops down early and makes a very steep climb at the end.The problem is I that I think there is too much information that is needed to interpret any given line to be relatively easy to analyze.I.e. my guess is that win lines are random walks around average stack at least until the stage where there is a monster stack or two. Also you might want to look at average stack/cost per round as the "proxy win line", rather than straight average stack.I havent finished Snyder yet, but I got the impression from an early chapter that there were adjustments to the "patience factor" that took into account later increases and tournaments that "speed up" later. If not I would think a good proxy for such a factor would be to take the average stack at intervals of say every 3 or 4 levels and the blinds at that level, and use the basic patience factor approach. You would need some empirical data to get those average stacks, but that shouldnt be hard to gather for online tournaments.
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#59 CobaltBlue

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Posted 27 March 2007 - 03:49 PM

Henry, I think that's an excellent point, and it's something that I felt needed consideration. Snyder's formula seems to provide an excellent analysis of "base/initial" tournament speed, but it doesn't take the later acceleration effect into account enough. My first thought was similar to copernicus...take the average stack at any given point and recalculate as if that was the starting chips and the new level as the first level. I'd think one could mess around with the numbers and calculations enough where this could be done in a more automatic fashion. If I get up some initiative, I might give it a go when I return from spring break.

#60 Highlow16

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Posted 27 March 2007 - 07:40 PM

Having not read the book yet I really cant give much insight beyond what i have read here and in zolotows article about it in cardplayer. But why would not knowing something stop me from forming an opinion? :club: I think his concepts are interesting and I think probably can be applied to a degree here and there along with other concepts we understand about tournament strategy. I dont like the idea of "always do this". Poker is situational not absolute. I like the idea of opening up your calling requirements in position and basically throwing the gap concept out the window. Alot of extremely sucessful players do this, and Ive been calling raises with trash lately in position to experiment. Anyone remember prtypsux post about a year ago about calling a raise with 73o in position in a big pot against Bax? Ive also heard daniel talk about getting ahead of the structure in small buy in events. Obviously he is doing something to adjust. Also, I know this guy is a math/blackjack wiz, but poker doesnt translate the same skills necessarily. In blackjack there is a correct play in a given hand and thats it, again poker doesnt work that way. What kind of results has this guy had? Anyone know? If he hasnt had any then its like having a 30 handicap give you golf lessons.
Jeff Madsen doesn't move all in, he teleports all in
-Jamfly




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