by E. Cutler
Poker is like a living entity. It
doesn't stay the same over a longer period of
time, it evolves, it changes, sometimes for the
better, sometimes for the worse.
As much as we hate to admit it, poker tournaments
( whether they're online, or offline ) are not
what they were just two or three years ago. They've
become a lot tougher to beat. That is quite natural
too, if you consider the enormous explosion in
popularity it's seen in recent years. Popularity
means more players, more good and reasonable players,
and thus more stiff competition. The core of the
problem is not the increased competition though.
Many good players have been complaining
that the game has changed radically. The crowds
of newbies are no longer easy to beat, and gone
are the days when the world's best player could
put in consistent back to back performances.
The luck aspect of the game has been given a far
greater importance, by virtue of the fact that
preflop play has become very aggressive.
Because of this problem, skill will take a back-seat
to luck in most tourneys where there are an excessive
amount of participants.
Any player who wins a tourney against over 1000
opponents will not only be a good player but will
have to be extremely lucky as well.
Most good players hate to commit all their chips
and join the ' all in' craze, and they are right.
That's not a sound poker strategy. The problem
is, though, that the 'new wave' 'internet style'
players couldn't care less about sound poker strategy.
In very large tournaments or internet-based
freeroll tournaments ( where the number of players
often tops 2000 ) the world's best player most
likely won't be able to make the top 10, even
if he tries 50 times in a row. Even if he only
goes down the street on nothing but 3-1 odds,
think about it: if you put all your stack on the
line with 3-1 odds all the time, sooner or later
you're bound to be knocked out. You played correctly,
you made the right decisions yet some goofball
suddenly gets lucky and knocks you out of the
tourney in a single sweep, barely aware of what
he's actually doing.
I hate to break it to you, but that's
just the nature of poker. You win some and you
lose some. Only if you constantly put everything
you have on the line, that single loss is all
it takes to end the game for you.
Succumbing to extremely poor play and bad luck
is something few players can take without tilting.
Large tournaments ( and especially freerolls )
are often riddled with lunatics. Maniacs who play
lottery instead of poker. No it's not right, but
that's just the way it is nowadays. There are
basically two types of maniacs. The first type
is out to ruin someone's day. That's all he's
looking for. The second type is the reasoning
lunatic. He'll act crazy in the early stages of
play just to see if he gets lucky and ends up
with a large stack. If he does, he cools down
and takes the game from there, playing reasonably
and acting on positive EV hands only.
The first type of maniac you can
beat simply by doing nothing. He's out to beat
himself anyway so why not let him do his business
and leave. The second type is more dangerous and
if he does get lucky early on, he'll give you
a rough time later in the tourney.
The bottom line is, game selection will have a
greater than ever importance in this new age of
online poker. If you manage to make it to the
break in a freeroll repeatedly, that probably
means you're ready to buy in to some paid tourney
and take your chances there. That's where the
money is. The competition will be greatly reduced
and the prize-pool will also be bigger. Invest
your time in a more profitable business and leave
the freerolls for others.
Go for games where the small edges
( like sustained positive EV play, rakeback and
other such factors ) still work and you won't
be restricted from using whatever skills you've
this and other articles in the Lizard Lounge.