“Freezeout” is a term used in online poker rooms for events where you have one stack of chips, with no re-buy or add-on option. When a player loses all their chips, they are out of the tournament. Freezeout events work just like most land-based poker tournaments do, including most televised poker shows. The World Series of Poker Main Event is the world’s most famous freezeout event, but the term is used in online card rooms, too.
Early in Tournaments
It’s best to play a tighter style in the early stages of these events. A lot of weak players are going to be in the field. Many of these players are going to be on draws. If you tighten up your game, you increase the chances you survive into the middle phase of the tournament when it’s time to make your move.
A fine line exists between tight and too tight, so remember you have to survive, but also build a chip stack for later. Even playing tight/aggressive, you’ll need some luck to move on. That means you’ll have to put your neck on the line a few times. Pick your spots and hope your opponents don’t draw what they need.
In the middle stages of the event, you’ll want to loosen your play style. Most of the bad players are going to be eliminated by now, though some move into this stage by sheer weight of numbers. Most of what’s left are good players, so bluffs and especially semi-bluffs have a chance of working.
Find a spot to steal on average every one time around the table. This preserves your chip stack. Try to find spots you can increase your chip stack, too. Being the low stack is dangerous in this stage.
If you become the low stack on the table (or close to it) when you have a good hand, so all-in and try to double up. Someone is likely to sense weakness and call that all-in bet, so understand when you go all-in that your tournament life is likely to be at stake.
Towards the middle-to-late stage, players are going to tighten up considerably. At a point, finishing in the money is going to become more important to many competitors than building up their chip stack (depending on circumstances). If you have a solid chance to finish in the money, play aggressively and take advantage of these player’s tightness to build up your chip stack.
Aggression is important in this late stage. The blinds become enormous and many players are just hoping to survive. The longer many stay in the tournament, the more money they make. For many, survival is most important to them.
Observe and try to figure out which players you can push around. Stealing the blinds is important at this stage. When making the final table becomes a possibility, many players become even tighter. Use this against them.
Rebuy tournaments are much different than freezeouts. Players don’t worry about surviving in the rebuy period (at the start). They know they can pay for a new set of chips, so they play with aggression.
Many players play loosely, hoping to get lucky and build up a big chip stack for the middle part of the tournament. Unlimited rebuys take this to its logical conclusion. Players are known to see 80% of the flops, hoping to catch a flop. Daniel Negreanu is known to have used 48 rebuys in one WSOP unlimited rebuy event back in 2006.
Many players don’t have that money to spend, so they play a semi-loose style. They want to have a decent hand, but they may not be as selective as they would be in a freeze-out event. Don’t play the hand you have almost no chance of winning. Don’t make massive overbids.
Play like you might in a cash game where you know you can buy more chips, but you’d just as soon not. Add-on events have a similar strategy because players know they have a chance to refill and replenish their chip count.
When you play a freeroll tournament, you’re certain to see a lot of fish. Bluffing does not affect. They got into the tournament for free and they’re willing to take the chance they’ll double up and have the big chip stack at the table.
In this situation, it’s better to play tight and only get into the action when you have confidence you’re ahead. Let the fish eat one another and try to catch the surviving big fish later.
Sound Strategy Decisions
The one strategy which is always in fashion is to play the odds and make sound decisions. When players are ahead most of the time as they bet into the pot, they’re going to be successful poker players. Learn strong and weak poker hands, then learn everything in between.
Know the pot odds when you decide to call or, better yet, raise. Individual tournaments and single hands may not go your way, but when you put yourself in the best position to win consistently, you’ll succeed over the long term. Playing intelligently doesn’t assure you win any given hand, but smart players are winning players.
How Sit N Go Turbo Tournaments Events Work
The standard prize pool for a sit n go tournament is 50% for 1st place, 30% for 2nd place, and 20% for 3rd place. When deciding on a strategy, it’s best to determine what your overall outlook is going to be. Some gamblers try for 1st place, seeing it pays 2.5 times more than a third-place finish. By this logic, you finish out of the money more, but you have more margin for error if you push it. If you pay in 11% to the point each tournament, you need to win once every 4 to 5 events (though that’s hard to do). Assuming you’ll occasionally strive for 1st and end up 2nd or 3rd, a more realistic goal is to win once every 7 turbo events (or roughly 14% of the time) to be profitable. Again, that’s not easy, but good players should win more than 10% of the time. If you choose this grand strategy, aggression is your watchword.
If you prefer to place in the top three, then your strategies are going to be less aggressive. Many of your tactics will be based on survival. You’re hoping to cut. These players play tighter and hope to grind out wins here and there while opponents knock each other off. If you use this strategy, you aim to finish in the top three every other sit’n go or, more realistically, every 2.5 turbo events.
Observe and Be Flexible
At the start of a Texas Holdem sit and go event, observe your opponents early on. Takedown a few notes and sketch a quick profile of these players. If you play at this site a lot, see if you already have a scouting report on any of these players. Use any available site stats to draw a profile on them. Get in your head which players plays aggressive, which play tight, and which are simple maniacs. Get a general idea of the makeup of your table. This allows you to be flexible with your strategy.
Caution in Early Hands
If you have several aggressive players at the table at once, it’s best to tighten up your hand selection. Let these people pick on another off. A couple will go out quickly and a couple of others will have a big chip stack. Take advantage of aggression if you have a top hand, but otherwise, stay out of the way.
Aggression Early On
If you sense that most of the players are playing cautiously, it’s a better idea to play with some aggression. The quicker you sense that you can steal blinds, the better it is for your chip stack. If most or all opponents seem willing to get out of the way and survive, use this to build up a large chip stack.
Aggressive after the Flop
Whether you play tight or loose, be aggressive when you bet. Don’t simply call, because this makes you reactive. If you aren’t comfortable making a wager with the hand you hold, it’s usually best for you to fold. When you pump money into a marginal hand, you set yourself up for failure. Be bold and decisive once you get in the flop. Raise or get out of the way–don’t sit in the middle ground.
Middle Tournament Strategy
Once a few players lose, it’s common for gamblers to become more conservative. When 4, 5, or 6 players remain in an SNG tournament, they can see themselves finishing in the money. They tend to play more selective and go into survival mode. This is when targeted aggression helps you steal the pot and maintain your chip stack. The blinds get bigger at this stage, so you’ll need to steal blinds to maintain what you have.
This is especially true after the maniacs and aggressive players leave the field. Right after a couple of big all-ins, this is when players tend to become conservative. This is a perfect time to start stealing blinds, especially when you’re betting in position.
Playing Near the Bubble
The closer you get to the bubble of making money on the game, the more aggressive you should become. This plays into your opponents’ natural tendencies and gives you a chance to build up your stack as you approach an endgame situation.
Every hand can be the most important hand of your tournament. Given the compact nature of sit & go tournaments, you could say that’s doubly so in this form of online poker. But each tournament has a few crucial points. One is the dividing time between “in the money” and busting out in 4th place, which is a waste of money and time. Other crucial phases are not as easily noticed.
One of the crux points of a turbo poker tournament is after a big kill-off. Imagine several of the aggressive players have a series of showdowns. Within a few hands, one or two go all-in and lose. These people are eliminated, while one of the aggressors has a massive chip stack now. In this situation, it’s natural for everyone at the table to take a deep breath.
The players who weren’t aggressive become more cautious, as they a big new stack of chips along with the consequences of showing too much aggression. The person with the big stack might bull ahead, now that they have their big stack. If they decide to consolidate or switch strategies for a bit, they might become less active for a few hands. In many cases, this is a point in the tournament where a lull ensues. This could be a good time to steal the blinds on a hand or two.
Play the Circumstances
How you react should be determined by circumstances. If you have the big stack sitting behind you, it might not pay to bet into the pot. If you see the chip leader sit out of a hand and your turn comes, that might be a good time to push the others out of a pot or two.
Thus we come around full circle again to my original tip. Be adaptive to circumstances. Don’t have one rigid strategy. Shift gears when it appears you need to. Mixing things up helps throw your competition off and lets you use the reputation you’ve gained in the turbo event to good effect.