Wednesday, November 28, 2007

My tournament Philosophy

I received this question in a pm from a member of the poker forum and well I had to answer after he said whats highlighted.

"Originally Posted by *****
hey Nicky,this is a completely random question but it is obvious to everyone that your a great tournament player and i was wondering what do you put it down to? the maths side of things? or is everything you would've read etc are thrown out the window and it comes nearly natural? i'm gonna try make some mark on the tourney scene next year but i dont like the whole over evaluating hands and starting to doubt your own instincts if you know what i mean. So i'm just asking questions to any good players i can get in contact with and try and find some kinda pattern to winning play feel free not to answer anything if you dont wanna bother

cheers bud ***"

*** its very hard to quantify what makes a good tournament player and many different styles can be successful. All I can really advise you on is to play as much as possible, no amount of books can teach you experience. Yes you need basic poker maths but people can get boggled down with all the literature out there. Learn how to win first you can learn why your winning later.

I think you will learn a lot more by making mistakes and thinking about where it went wrong then reading about what mistakes to avoid. I consider myself very much a situational player and can play hands very differently then the pure theorists will dictate. All I can advise is play as much as you can and go with your reads don't be afraid to look silly if you think your right. I still make plays that would be laughed at in $10 stts but its these same plays that have made me a winning player for the last three years now.

I know all this is very vague but you just cant put into a box what ultimately makes a winner of tournaments. I will say that understanding playing the player and understanding when to gamble are very important, again this cant really be thought you must learn it through playing. I think these two areas are what separates the OK players and the good to great players. When I talking about gambling I'm not talking pot odds but rather taking a shot at a race considering the holistic effect this will have on your chances of winning the tournament. Or if a player is running over a final table it could mean taking a stand with a marginal hand to slow them down and swing the balance of power on a final table in your favor.

My goal is always to win the tournament and I always think in this context rather then cashing or sitting up the money ladder. This year if I was a more conservative player in these areas I could probably of sat into cashing for €200k+ more then I have with the situations I found myself in, but I firmly believe over my poker life my philosophy is + EV.

Anyhow best of luck and if you have anymore specific Qs ill do my best to answer along the way.


Ps its not often I get my thoughts on strategy down on paper so I might use what I have written here in my blog, I wont off course use your identity if I do