Endgame Strategy pt.IV

This post is part of a continuing series of Endgame poker tourney discussion, based largely in part on the works and writing of Dan Harrington and meant as a suppliment to, not a replacement for his books Harrington on Hold'em Volume 1 & 2.

These articles are meant to be read in succession of one another. That being said, click to review the articles on Endgame Strategy pt. I... Endgame Strategy pt II.... and Endgame Strategy pt. III.

Playing in the Orange

If we recall from earlier reading, we wish to spend as much time as possible playing in the Green Zone, having an M above 20. There our entire playbook is at our disposal. We can run any "play" we see fit. As our M decreases, due to volatility, bad beats, and ever increasing blinds, we must adjust our play. Yesterday we discussed playing with our M between 10-20... the Yellow Zone. Today, we're covering what our playbook looks like in the Orange Zone, when our M is between 6 and ten.

Just like in our yellow zone, small pairs and suited connectors aren't "doing" it for us. Our implied odds are not great enough to justify such hands. Here the power of being first to open the pot is beginning to be of extreme importance. We're not looking to play hands simply because the pot odds "seem too good to pass up." Our goal in orange zone is to steal or double up.

We're conserving our energy to make powerful moves. We want to act first and push all-in. Its straight forward and that simple. At tighter tables, when we're near the bubble or low in the money, we're going to do this quite often. We're trying to break out of the orange zone, we lack betting power through an entire hand, so we want to take our absence of betting power, and our first in vigorish and turn that into an asset, a weapon... as opposed to letting it show up as a liability on our "tournament balance sheet."

Think this one through a little bit. You're sitting at a table, late in the tourney, you've got a decent chip stack and are in the cutoff. A person, who is second to act opens the pot with an all-in move. His chip count is approximately six times the pot he just opened. Action folds around to you. You look down at your hole cards and see sixes in the hole... maybe even A-10, A-9, KJs, etc. You think about calling as the clock is ticking. You think your hand has a shot at the pot, however, you're not wanting to put your tourney life on the line here and raise up and over his move, fearing another caller behind you, either in the blinds or on the button. Additionally, you do not wish to be multi-way in this pot, in fear of the loose blinds getting correct odds to call, should the button also decide to get involved. You're also not wanting to call, in fear of a reraise and being "stuck." Time is a tickin' and you decide to fold, as does everyone else.

The bottom line is that later in a tourney people do not want to make a critical mistake. They fear making these calls because they either wish to coast into the money, they fear running into a monster, or they wish not to be mowed down, crippled and/or drawn on. I've even witnessed incidents where players have laid down Queens, AKs, and once KK to a move of this nature. Being the first to push has its benefits, especially near the bubble and when the table is tight by nature.

This first in, all in move is profitable because of the amount of times you'll accomplish a steal. And additionally, when you are called, you're called down with a monster (statistically, you're not highly likely to run into a "monster") and when you do, you're not really that much of an underdog anyways. So picking and choosing your entry points and bringin' it with "authorita" is the way to play in the Orange Zone.

We'll continue our "strategery" talk next week, with more on the zones.

CheckRayz "Housekeeping Items"...

1. Celeb Poker are currently having some "technical difficulties" after their upgrade last night. It seems that several peeps who registered for tonight's $100 freeroll have been deleted from registration. I've been in touch with the Celeb Rep, who is on the case and hopes to have the previous registrations restored. That being said, log on to the Celeb Poker Room and make sure you're currently registered, even going so far as to register a second time. On behalf of Celeb Poker, I appologize for this glitch.

2. The CheckRayz Heads-up Challenge registers tonight beginning at 9pm, and is scheduled to deal on Thursday at 9pm EST.

3. I have several upcoming events listed on my actual calendar, however, I won't place them in the database until they've been officially listed by the corresponding poker rooms. That being said, take a look at our poker tourney calendar, and make a note of the upcoming events. Keep checking with the CheckRayz poker tournament schedule to obtain passwords as they become available.

4. While you're marking down dates for upcoming poker tournaments, take a look at the sweet tourneys that the chip slingin, poker playing Shark has goin on for your poker playin' enjoyment. Here you'll find his poker tournament calendar. Information to register and play in any of his upcoming events can be obtained either via his website or is Satellite Poker Tournament websites.

Tommorrow, being off-topic Thursday, we'll see how lost and scatter brained we can get. See you then!