In my last article about turbo tournaments, we talked about the value of aggression among other things. Finding ways to win chips without premium holdings is key to any tournament player’s success, but with the faster pace of turbos pressing the action, it’s critical. So how should we go about doing that?
Attack weak ranges
Players who don’t have much, fold more easily than players that have something. In spots where your opponent’s range is weak, the door is open for aggression to have a high success rate.
Barrel post flop vs. capped ranges
A capped range is one where the strongest hands in it are “capped” at a certain strength based on the action. For example, let’s say a player calls you on a coordinated board that has many draws. Most players would raise with two pairs or better for value and to protect their hand against all the draws… so when they call, their range is largely capped at 1 pair and draws themselves. These are calls that are easy to make on the flop, but extremely difficult by the river, especially if the board gets scarier or their tournament life is on the line. When the spot feels ripe for barreling, don’t be scared to pull the trigger.
Utilize preflop aggression
Gone are the days of raise and take the blinds over and over again, easy game… in the modern game players defend more vs. open raises, especially from the blinds. Of course, that doesn’t mean we have to stop opening all but premium hands (a strategy that would leave us as the proverbial dead money in turbo tournaments). But it does mean we need to be prepared for additional combat preflop… both being 3-bet, and 3-betting other openers ourselves.
Let’s address both, starting with 3-betting an opener by raising all in since we will be in many medium to short stack scenarios in turbo tournaments. Of course, we can reraise with all premium hands, but what about steals, where we desire to leverage fold equity to take down the pot preflop? What stack sizes provide a good risk to reward ratio for making these moves?
Now let’s talk about stack sizes that provide a good risk to reward ratio for 4-betting over another player’s 3-bet. First, it’s prudent to point out if the opponent who has 3-bet our open raise has a tight/nutted range, then we should simply fold unless we have a premium hand ourselves. Against players who are 3-betting us with a range of JJ+/AK, and nothing weaker, it makes little sense to 4-bet jam as a bluff since that bluff carries with it no fold equity versus those holdings and all our bluffs play quite poorly against that range. But if the opponent is an aggressive 3-bettor, or we have strong reason to believe their 3-bet range does include resteals and bluffs… and they have enough chips behind in their stack to not be committed to calling our 4-bet shove, then we have a situation ripe for expanding our 4-bet shoving range to include some bluffs along with all the legitimate strong hands we’ll be shoving for value. Here are some general guidelines for those good risk to reward ratios:
We can also jam a bit bigger stacks as well, to apply pressure, which is not as wild as one might imagine in fast structured tournaments like turbos!
Now that we have a basic guideline for stack sizes, what starting hands should we be looking to use for these jams? Obviously, all premium/strong value hands are in the mix. But in turbo tournaments we simply can not wait for these, there’s not enough time to stay ahead of the rapidly increasing blinds and antes. So, we must add in more hands than just the great ones.
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