In our last article on Attacking the Sunday Million, we looked at the structure and how one might adjust at various stages of the event. In this article we will couple that with some general strategy points to attack large field tournaments like the Anniversary Sunday Million game. Here are four tips that will help improve your chances to best this large field.
Especially When You are in Position. The goal is to get the opener heads up! Multiway pots are killers, and people tend to play poorly in 3-Bet pots out of position. Think of how uncomfortable you are when you open for a raise with some medium strength hand like AT, 88, or JTs, and the button 3-bets you. Why shouldn’t you be uncomfortable in this situation? Even professionals don’t make money playing in 3B pots out of position without the initiative. So you want to try and avoid being in this position yourself while putting others into this same uncomfortable position frequently.
Avoid c-betting in spots where you’ve missed and fold equity is low. AK is no good in a multiway pot on a flop of J97, don’t light valuable chips on fire by c-betting just because you were the preflop aggressor. When you are going to c-bet bluff on A33 rainbow, you can size small… either the opponent has an ace (and will call any cbet sizing) or they don’t (and will fold to most any sizing). Your entire range can cbet smaller in this spot when you’re bluffing you don’t need to risk half pot or more when 1/3rd pot will accomplish the same thing and save you chips to boot when they aren’t folding. Chips not wasted on foolish cbets add up quickly.
People don’t like to fold when they think there’s a chance to win, and you can capitalize on this by value betting your made hands more, including on the river which is where so many value bets are lost by failure to try and extract them. Let’s illustrate this point with an example. You open raise in late position with JJ to 2.25x and only the big blind calls. The flop comes 643 rainbow. After they check, you continuation bet for 2.5 big blinds (half pot) and they call. The turn pairs the 3, and they check/call another half pot value bet of 5bb, putting 20bb in the pot. Now we see a Q river and they check one last time.
This is a very clear value bet that players miss again and again! The opponent has check/called twice already post flop, which means they have something. Yes, once in a rare while they smashed the board and slow played you all the way… but most of the time they will have a 1 pair hand or a draw. Unless they are playing Q4, Q5, or Q6, you still have the best hand. Go ahead and fire! Players don’t want to let you bluff them off of their A6 or 77 type hands, and as a result, you will likely get called by any pair here. If you fire half pot again, that’s 10 extra big blinds you’re earning on the river that lesser players aren’t because they are irrationally afraid of the queen river or are paranoid they’re being trapped and content to just showdown their jacks. An extra 10 big blinds are like an extra tournament life.
The very next hand you may get all in preflop with AA vs KK and lose to a bad beat… if you cover them by 9bb thanks to that river value bet, you’re now using that free extra life that other players who didn’t bet the river with their Jacks won’t have as they go to the rail. I know, 9 big blinds is not that exciting, but have you ever come back to win a tournament from 9 big blinds? It happens all the time. 2012 WSOP Main Event Champion Greg Merson was crippled down to fewer than 2 big blinds on day 5 of that event. Having 9 big blinds in a large tournament isn’t the ideal situation to be in, but it is tangibly better than having 0 big blinds and being on the rail. Try not to leave chips on the table by failing to bet your good hands for value.
How many times have you seen someone post a hand asking for advice, do I call this shove? They have opened in late position with J9s for 3x the big blind on a 22bb stack, and a player behind them moves all in for 11 big blinds. They are priced into calling, making folding feel unattractive, but will be putting half their stack and all their stack utility at risk while certainly behind the shover’s range, making calling unattractive. Had they been paying attention to the stacks behind them, they may have chosen to not open this hand at all, or to at least open it for a min-raise to make folding a bit more palatable should the 11BB stack shove over the top. If there are tough stacks behind you, back off a bit, and if there is an opening to attack, dial it up a bit. Be diligent about considering the stacks behind you any time you’re considering getting involved, as they may dictate how you might best get involved, or that you should reconsider doing so at all.
There are other strategy points you can follow as well, but if you put a focus on executing these tips, you will give yourself a much better chance to succeed than those players who are just splashing around happy to be there.