Sunday, June 03, 2007

WSOP, that's where I want to be

Finally, my first World Series of Poker approaches.

I have three impatient days of work before I fly out Wednesday night and arrive in Vegas on Thursday morning. WSOP Event No. 12, $1,500 shorthanded NL, will begin about five hours later.

I'm ready to go. I want to win. I'm going to play strong poker.

All I need is a plan.

Because the blinds will increase fairly quickly, I'm going to look for opportunities to double up before the tournament turns into a pushfest. Sure, everyone is going to want to double. But perhaps I'll have a better chance of doing so if I have go in with a specific strategy.

Here's my idea:

Even though we'll start with 3,000 chips, those stacks aren't deep enough to last far beyond the second or third hour (blinds double every hour, from 25/50 to 50/100 to 100/200). I'll have to be aggressive if I want to build up.

But how can I be aggressive without risking a high percentage of my stack preflop on hands that might not turn out to be good once the flop comes?

I'm considering mixing up my play a good deal. With strongish hands like AK, AQ and middle pocket pairs, I'll be more likely to smooth call raises preflop and try to outplay my opponents postflop. With stronger and weaker hands, I'll be more inclined to raise preflop.

After the flop, I'm going to be a bit more cautious with my continuation bets. I'll make continuation bets less often than usual because I want to only use them when they have a high chance of succeeding. I don't think I can afford to throw chips at every pot just in hopes of buying it with nothing.

Especially with drawing hands in position, I see no reason not to apply pressure with semibluffs in order to elicit folds or to hit on later streets.

Overall, I'm going to concentrate on postflop play and operate under the assumption that many of my opponents are familiar with push-or-fold tactics frequently seen in the midgame of online turbo sit-n-gos.

If my opponents think they'll be able to play tight for the first two blind levels and then go into push mode once the blinds reach 100/200, they'll be giving up some chips to me early on. Then, when they start to get desperate, hopefully I won't be because I will have accumulated a larger stack already.

That said, I'm well aware that I can't force good things to happen without some quality starting hands and a little luck. But perhaps this strategy will put me in a better position to go beyond the third hour.

Let me know if these ideas sound stupid, and wish me luck! See you in Vegas.


Rav said...

GL in vegas man...u'll have a blast especially at the cash games...

Gaines said...

I'm excited for you...and glad it's you and not me. :) I really think I'm more nervous now that I'm taking my play more seriously and trying to improve than when I first started and was playing a safe tight game.

Of course, if you go to the main event I'll have to head out the Vegas to root you on and check out the gold bracelet! :)

Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Hey Mark, I'd love to meet up with you sometime before the 6max nlh WSOP tourney on Thursday starts (I'm playing that one as well). I will try to email you tonight but I'd love to say hello before we start our concurrent final table runs on Thursday.

JL514 said...

Own it Gnome. You've got it