Online poker has popularized the single table tournament (STT). STT’s are a very unique form of poker.
If you’re using multitable tournament strategies to navigate through STTs, you’re costing yourself some serious money. This article talks about handling 9-10 player STTs where 1st pays 50 per cent, 2nd pays 30 per cent, and 3rd pays 20 per cent.
I write a bit about being capable of breaking away from straightforward tight-aggressive play.
But when it comes to the early stages of single table tournaments, tight is right. In early position, you should play pretty much nothing. AA-KK and AK is about on target. If your table is really loose passive, you can limp with any pocket pair. And if your postflop play is superb, you can toss AQ into the early position mix.
In late position, you can come in with a slightly wider mix in unraised pots (hands like AJ, KQ and KJ).
But in raised pots, keep it simple and stay really tight. When you do enter a pot with an unpaired hand like AK, either limp or raise small for value. If you raise preflop and get only one opponent, continuation betting is a play you shouldn’t be excited about.
Play hands that play themselves post-flop – you want to be able to play confidently for stacks if you hit postflop because the starting stacks in STTs don’t give you much room for probe bets.
Once the blinds have increased, it’s jam or fold time. And now, tight is far from right… especially when it comes to aggressing on the bubble. When you have 4-8 big blinds, you have opponents who’ll only call you with something like AA-55, AK-A9, and you’re in the cutoff or later, push all-in no matter what two cards you have when you’re first to enter the pot.
Your opponents will fold a huge percentage of the time, and you’ll never be a prohibitive underdog the times that you’re called (32o wins 24% of the time against AA-55, AK-A9).
When the bubble has burst, and opponents widen their calling distributions, you’ll need to tighten up a tad, but hyper-aggressive shoving will still be par for the course when you have 4-8 big blinds.
When it comes to calling all-ins, you should typically be somewhat tight because you can always fall back on your jamming edge. And with the 50/30/20 payout, survival and just getting in the money is important.
But you shouldn’t take it to the extreme where you’re only calling all-ins with super-premium hands. With the size of the blinds, you should be willing to get your chips in whenever your hand is a little bit better than 50% against a jammer’s distribution.
Times may exist where you can profitably stray from the generic battle plan outlined here. But generally, “Tight and snug early; loose-aggressive late” is the successful STTer’s creed.