MZone Tournament Strategy: Playing with a Monster
Since flopping a monster hand happens so rarely, its important to have a plan of attack in order to get the most vlaue out of that hand given that it may be your only chance to advance in the tournament. In the early stages this is even more important because early tournament chips have the potential to become exponential in strength with subsequent double ups.
Having a “monster” doesn’t necessarily mean your opponent can’t catch up, but as long as it is unlikely for him to catch up, you should be playing for value and keeping your opponent in the pot rather than betting him off a draw. Even better, you could entice him to bluff on the river.
When do you bet? When do you check? How much? These are the questions to be sure and profiling comes into play here. I always check my profiling statistics on Tournament Indicator when I am in a hand against a certain opponent and that helps me plan for the hand even before I see the flop. If I am up against a tight-aggressive (TAG) I will play it quite differently than if I am up against a looser quadrant player (LAG).
For example let’s say I am in the big blind with 7s6s and from late position a TAG player raises 3 times the blind to 150. The small blind calls thus offering me up 3.5:1 odds holding a decent hand with potential. Since my stack is now nearly 4,800, I can easily afford the risk. We all see the flop of 7h7d6c.
Ok then, I almost spill my tea on my laptop looking at this gorgeous flop when before I know it, the small blind has checked/folded to me. What to do…. Well I know my TAG opponent is likely to bet his big cards now so my first instinct here is to check as well. In fact, Just about anybody will bet here so I think it’s the best move right now. That’s what I do. Then TAG bets out 200 into the 350 pot, making the pot 550. Small blind runs home. TAG has 2850 left in his stack. Now if TAG has just over-cards he may call one small bet, but won’t do it on later rounds with Ace or King high. For players like this, give them a reason to call with a small reraise, the same size of his bet – he will likely call. Look at is a value bet. Most low entry-online tournament players won’t believe you have anything and are just trying to represent that you did.
Thus the standard move here against a TAG is to re-raise a similar amount. He bet 200, then I will re-raise to 400 – giving him exceptional odds to call 200 more into the now 950 pot. Most players, even tight ones will call that raise on the flop, but not on the turn if their hole cards are still not related to the community. If however they have an over-pair, well then they are likely to come over top of you yet again, with a bet that if it isn’t all-in, will almost certainly pot commit them.
Change this scenario to a LAG opponent and my inclination would be to generally call him on the flop, call him on the turn, then put a value bet out on the river. It may be you are up against a higher pair of hole cards, and you can eliminate him if he reraises you. If he has over-cards, you may very well get a call anyway on the river for maximum value.
One point further, when you do the re-raise, do it quickly like you weren’t even thinking about it. This irks a good number of solid playing TAGs into making bold moves at the wrong times. The few times it will work out you will eliminate a strong player from the tournament holding nothing but ace-high to your made boat.
Marty Smith has video reviews of all the poker assist software so you can see them being used before you decide which one is right for you. He also has a poker tournament strategy video series that is free online poker training just for signing up.