Still on a bit of a downswing right now.






Am I playing badly? I don't think so. I am still possibly getting too married to the idea of getting a chip-up early levels, I need to be more disciplined in that area but overall I am playing well just getting stuck behind vs Coolers or having my premium hands find nothing but folds.


So why is getting an early chip-up less than the ideal plan?

Unless you get very lucky and hit AA in the first few levels with the willigness for multiple opponents to ship their stack to you with weaker, most of the time taking risks early levels causes you a lot of pain.

I am not saying we should shut-down early levels but often when you are willing to go broke with Top Pair and either run into a cooler or a suck-out, what has that risk really gotten you?

As an example : Lets say we have AK, flop comes A-2-6. We raised preflop so we can't expect any strong hands to be in other than ones we dominate like big pairs and weaker Aces. We raise the flop nice and big and are called.

Turn comes with a 4 - we are still strong with top pair, we bet and now get raised. A series of betting back and forth finally gets it all in.

Our opponent shows 42s and ahead with two pair  -  How did they call our preflop bet right? And our flop bet with only bottom pair?- Well the fact is that early levels, this is exactly what a lot of opponents do because they don't see themselves as wasting money or spewing chips... to them its a small investment from a big stack with massive implied odds on the other end of that rainbow "if" they hit.


So we put ourselves in a spot where players are willing to gamble and take risks with weak holdings and sometimes they pay us off, sometimes they don't. But is the risk worth it?


Lets see what happens if we did get lucky and sucked out on our opponent in the above example, we pull out a King or an Ace and Double-Up.

In a 45-man Sit & Go, we doubled our stack from 1,500 chips to 3,000 chips.

To make good money in the 45-man (top 3 spots) we need 22,500 chips on average based on all the chips in play.

With 3,000 chips we are 13% of where we need to be

With 1,500 chips we would have been 7% of where we needed to be

So whilst we doubled our stack, all we did was move up 6%


Now lets look at if we are at a different level, we have 3,000 chips and the levels are 120/250

We get the exact same spot, we take the same risks and run the same gauntlet as we did before.

This time we double our stack but go from 3,000 to 6,000

With 6,000 chips we are 26% of where we need to be

With 3,000 chips we would have been 13% of where we needed to be

So as we doubled our stack, we did however move up 13%


Our risk vs reward in this spot was much better and the double up had a lot more value for us.


It might seem like a little difference and to some the risk is spending time playing a game for an hour only to make the same decision but risk having wasted that time by taking it later. I don't agree with this.


So if we don't take early risks, this will leave us in a shove/fold spot around the 50/100 mark no doubt.

So we would have 1,000 chips and be shoving and looking to double up with a hand that has good equity.

In this scenario, we take our stack from 1,000 to 2,000. This is an increase of 4% towards our target stack size of 22,500. Not a lot of course, but when we compare it to the improvement we made earlier with our stack, extremely deep at 50BB+, we are making a 4% improvement here over a 6% improvement there.


So by risking early, getting that key doubleup and giving ourselves the big advantage early, as a comparison to the more cautious mid levels short stack shove, we only gained +2%


I don't know about you but unless I am holding a monster, early levels, I am a lot more inclined after doing the above maths to avoid getting stuck early levels with just a pair. It just isn't worth it!