Hey all, this month is off to a good start for me. I goofed around the first couple days without much success. I don't understand and probably never will understand the people that play dozens of PSO's just to donk out over and over and maybe win a few pennies. Anyway, to each their own I guess. If you are in this to win more than pennies like I am then listen up. In previous blogs I briefly covered some basic strategy to get you on the right track. Now it is time for some more in depth tips. Clock use is huge in the PSO. Some people hate to use a second in their decisions and others use every second possible every time it is their turn. Why slow play? What can be gained? Is there a down side to slow playing? Let's get the answers out there and you can decide for yourself which way to lean in your quest for the money.
     WHY SLOW PLAY? Well, basically, the easy answer is that it will get you more points. If you kill the clock every turn, other people will be going out and your finish position will improve. In this league your finish position is the ONLY thing that matters. So in that respect, killing time can only help you in the league.
     WHAT CAN BE GAINED? As I said it does help your finish position in the tournaments. But with proper use of the clock you can control your own destiny to an extent. You have a direct influence on when the blinds will hit you. This is huge in the blind levels close to the bubble. For example, if you are sitting with 2000 chips and are 30 people from the bubble, and the blinds are currently at 800/400, you are in a danger zone to make the money. When you take into account the 75 chip antes, you only have so many more hands to see before you are blinded out. With the next blind level being 1000/500 plus 100 antes, you need the blinds to reach you before the increase or you are going to be forced to play a hand that you might not want to play. By speeding up your play to reach the blinds, you can cover them without being forced into an all-in before the bubble. Once you reach the blinds, you can kill clock again with the knowledge that you will survive some extra hands after the blinds pass you. That may be the time you need to get past the bubble or to get that monster hand you have been waiting patiently to get.
     IS THERE A DOWN SIDE TO SLOW PLAYING? There are two things I hear from people who complain about people who slow play their hands. One is that it is annoying. To be fair, it is. Believe me, when I first got on this site and entered a few tourneys, I would come across these people and wonder what was wrong with them. Don't they know there is a tournament going on! But in the PSO, I have learned why they do it and annoying others is not the goal of doing it. The goal is bettering your position in a tournament and it achieves its goal. The other thing I hear people say is that the people who slow play take away the number of hands they get to play compared to a table that plays quickly. This is also true. But since you should not be playing much more than 20% of the hands you are dealt, this really does not change the number of hands you should be playing by much. Yes, to those that play any two cards every hand, slow playing does limit the hands you can see. But I have yet to find a player that tries to play any two cards do well in this league. As an example, if you play in a tournament, get dealt 100 hands and play 20% of them you end up playing 20 hands. If you are on a slow playing table and only get dealt 80 hands and play 20% of them, you end up playing 16 hands. Not much of a difference at all.
     Sorry for the long winded blog but this issue is coming up often this month and I wanted to explain it from the viewpoint of someone trying to move up the leaderboard. Pokerstars allocates the same amount of time to each person to do what they want with it.  If you think the best way to move up the leaderboard is to act as quickly as possible on every hand then do that and good luck to you. If you see the time clock as a tool to make the most of then do that. Will you annoy some people? Surely. Will you better your finish position in a tournament by using your time? Definitely. If you don't see the value  of using the clock, especially if you are short stacked, then you are missing the big picture in this league. Playing in the PSO is not like a normal tourney. You have a much higher percentage of "any two card" players and the all-in maniacs that can bust you out early or short stack you early. Yes, you see some of this in normal tourneys but nothing to the level of a freeroll. Normally, those who hate the slow players are these types of players. Why? Because they are not concerned with the league standings. They play for a penny. They want to chip up fast or get knocked out quick. They do not want to wait one second on you to act, let alone 20 seconds.  
     And contrary to what anyone might think, making your decisions quickly will not speed up the tournament. You need to be prepared to play 2 hours or more to get past the bubble. So relax and take your time making decisions. You might make better decisions if you do. And you will surely better your standing in the league if you do. For myself, I would rather see someone that uses 20 seconds every time it is their turn than see someone who shoves all-in every hand. Just remember one thing at the tables. Both styles of play are rule abiding. Best of luck to everyone this month whatever your views of the time clock are and more tips to come....