As I reflect on my results lately, I have noticed that I am going out more and more with a lesser pair. Somewhere along the line, whilst increasing my aggression, I forgot the old adage, "A pair is just a pair".
But upon reflection, I wish to illustrate examples using my favorite hand to hate, TT. (yes, I know most people say JJ. If it helps, use that hand).
There are 3 phases to a tournament. The deep stack, shallow blinds stage is stage 1. (NOTE: Not all tournaments have this stage!) In this stage, you are taking flops from late position and the blinds, or with a pair, in the hopes of hitting a flop hard. Others play these hands to win small pots at tight tables by getting hands that missed flopping big to just fold. To me, its easy to play TT here. You play it like a baby pair. If you raise and win the blinds, who cares really? If you isolate, would you risk big chips on most flops? doubtful. Just see a flop like you would with 55.
Stage 2 is the middle stages, or accumulation stages. You are looking to get money in with the best hand. TT is a terrible hand to play now. Hate it. But in these middle stages, aggression accumulates chips. You need to be willing to find that leverage point where someone cant call you with their holding unless you are BADLY beat. Its the art of the dance. Jab, Jab, dodge, Jab, repeat. And when someone gets their money in, they are behing you. You can not go out on TT vs. JJ here. You just cant. If you do, its probably your fault. But at the same time, your goal is to get JJ to fold. So reading the flop and your opponent are paramount.
Stage 3 is the final tables stages, where players tighten up their game and TT can be played aggressively. If you run TT from LP into JJ, that sucks and its going to cost you a mint, expecially on a 9 high flop. So hard to escape here.
Now, I want to digrgess into a little Jamie Gold. When Moneymaker won the WSOP, he changed it forever. It brought the concept of "the bigger the field, the more aggressive you must be to win" to light, and it has proven out. Many of the bad players run into each other and every time one of them doubles up. By the end, one of the bad players has a mountain of chips. And that's the aggressive players. The aggressive players are trying to get at those chips, while avoiding the very good players. Often times their egos, based on their past won hands, prevent them from avoiding each other.
Jamie once again changed how a player can look at a big field. He is not aggressive in the sense he tries to push players off of hands on the flop or turn. No, he is more like a turret, always swinging around looking for a better position to aim from. He will often call a flop bet and even a turn bet as a known dog, just to see if he can line a player in the crosshairs on the river. You saw him hit a lot of hands in the WSOP, which made him look lucky. But on High Stakes Poker, you have seen him run some of the most amazing bluffs using this "turret" style.
Instead of trying to "bet to get information", he is using your control of the pot size to determine his informaation. He doesnt need to "buy information" as much. And his calls give away no further information in this style. When an aggressive players just calls, he gives away much more.
How would Jamie probably play TT in the middle stages? I suspect in most cases, he is calling any flop bet and any turn bet. Then either making a large pressure bet on the river, or simply making a 3rd call. He might even make the river call KNOWING he is beat, just so everyone understands, he is going to call you down.
Now when you are in a pot with him and you are thinking about bluffing... you have to think twice. and MANY aggressivce players bluff ALOT. So he has an advantage in the big field.
And that advantage, like all other advantages, is enjoyed as long as its in the minority. If everyone started trying it, it would fail.
Now, to tie it all back to ME. I am getting too wreckless in stage 2. I am busting out of trournaments getting AT in Vs. AK and TT vs. JJ. There is just not excuse for it. I have to control my behavior every hand. Every hand. I must be in full thought mode every hand. Not "hoping" I am ahead and made a brilliant read. If you dont fold a winning hand at all during stage 2, you are probably being wreckless. I cant even recall the last time I folded a winning hand in stage 2.