Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Tourney vs. Cash Game Strategies


First, apologies are in order. To the readers that wrote me with congratulations and atta-boy's after my successful WSOP adventure, I am truly sorry that I've not had time to write you back yet. I'm usually pretty good about responding to email in a timely fashion, but this time I'm purposely dropping the ball. I will get to you, eventually, but right now life is more than a little nuts. I've got a bunch of work stuff piled up, biz travel, a big certification exam next week that's kicking my butt, and some family stuff that has taken the numero uno spot in Life's Queue.

Quack, quack, quack, right? The good news is that by next Friday things should calm down somewhat and I can get back to regular stuff, like answering email and posting here.

In the meantime, I am going to pose a question to all y'all to ponder:

I was listening to a Thinking Poker podcast today on the way into work. The topic du semaine was focused on a $1500 WSOP PLO/8B tournament that Andrew Brokos ended up taking 16th in for a nice cash. During this discussion of PLO strategy, Brokos' podcast partner, Nate Meyvis, said something that struck me. I'm paraphrasing, but the essence of Meyvis' comment was this: In any poker tournament, your whole, entire, absolute high-level strategy should be based on picking up blinds and antes and lots of small pots. Period. Accumulate chips at a small but steady rate, and avoid the big-pot/close-decision situations. He was so emphatic about this point that I actually pulled over and jotted it down. Per the Thinking Poker talking heads, tournament poker is all about nibbling your way up the food chip stack chain, small pot by small pot.

Contrast that with what I consider the whole, entire, absolute high-level strategy for cash games: Wait patiently for +EV spots and try to get stacks in when you're ahead. Yes, there's all kind of subtleties and variations and what-not, but the overarching goal in cash is to press the small edges very, very hard. If you have proper bankroll management, you should not be afraid of situations where you're a 53:47 favorite, or even a slight pot equity dog, but have enough fold equity to make the play positive expected value. Cash is all about EV. Period. You embrace the big-pot/small-edge situations, and print money over the long run.

Besides all the technical differences between cash and tourneys, is this really the fundamental difference between the two?

Comments are welcome (as always). Encouraged, in fact.

Now back to that Life Queue thing....

All-in for now...
-Bug

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