Monday, March 08, 2010

Harrington Revisited

Talked about a vague title for a post, eh? I had quite a tough time in mid 2008-mid 2009 working through some rough patches, and creating repeatable success. But much of it came down to how I was changing how I played hands based on M. And these adjustments were killing me.

I now enjoy much more success in terms of MTT and some of that success it directly in relation to my adjustments (and somewhat getting away from) in how I address M.

For example: I have an M of 20. Does this mean I can play small-ball? I used to think the answer was YES. But its not. Far from it. What I want to know is, if I raise 3xBB (or call 3xBB from position), is that 5% or less of my stack? So, if blinds are 100/200/25 and thus a rotation at a full table is 500, I would need 10k for an M of 20. and if I raise it to 3xBB, I am making it 600. This is MORE than 5%. You see? For ME personally, the so called Green zone is where my M is 30+. Then I am going to play comfortable small-ball (i.e. 15k).

From an M of 30 down to 20, I can maybe play some small-ball hands from position, but I am going to have to give them up on the turn (because of chips) if I get played back at. I am sticking to suited 1 gaps and unsuited connectors at worst. I can also play baby pairs safely.

When my M is between 20 and 10, I am playing long-ball, but perhaps with open ranges.

When my M is below 10, I am not only playing ONLY long-ball, and now also willing to RACE.

When my M is 7.5 or less, I am usually looking to make all-in bets pre-flop depending on the size of the antes, because I feel the pressure is the BEST way to get the job done. You just lack the chips to maneuver post flop and when picking up the blinds is 10%+ of your stack, you should want to do that without a clash as many times as possible. So at 100/200/25 again (500 a rotation), if my stack is 3500 or less, and shoving is going to net me 500 in chips, I am not looking to "see a flop". I would rather add the chips and move forward. This, of course, assumes that I can either be first in there or hold a top 10 hand. I will ESPECIALLY open my range to make this move if there are Limpers in front of me! (Limpers ask to be punished!)

I have a mantra I use now at the table when I hit an lower inflection point. "The time for small-ball is over." I say it as I fold 56s or JT or even 88.

I have also learned recently that it is a pretty big mistake to worry about Q. I have just 1 test involving Q. If my Q is .25 or lower, I wont fold AK pre-flop.

I am pretty happy with this formula and as I move forward in experience, I am looking to maximize how well I play in the M 30+ green zone, where the widest array of decisions come into play post-flop.


ImperfectFuture said...

Getting the M up there is what keeps the pressure on the small M's.

And yes, when you have that less than 10 M, you are in the Push or Fold phase.

Haven't read Harrington, it was on my list. I use relative stack size to blinds (which also corresponds to M). So the strategy is not that much different.

Good Luck on the Felt.

Schaubs said...

You would fold 88 with an M of 8?

columbo (at eifco dot org) said...

88? sometimes, yes. Depending on if I think I would be forced to get more than 1 caller. I dont want to raise to 3xBB and thus have 10% of my stack in with 88, only to face an average of TWO overcards on the flop. Especially if its in EP where I might get two callers. I would rather shove or fold. With an M of 8 I might play it, but I might not.

BLAARGH! said...

Don't know if you read the Arnold Snyder books, but he describes it as chip utility and goes by bb rather than the whole M calculation. His big thing is taking the entire tournament structure as well as your chip stack (and of course the other stacks around you) into account to figure out what you need to do at what point in the tournament. He's definitely worth a read, and might help you clarify your thoughts. book one is for small buy in tournies, and book 2 is for bigger buy ins - 2 pretty different strategies are employed based on fast (turbo) structure, and slow structures.

columbo (at eifco dot org) said...

Yes, I have read the Arnold Snyder books and his chip utility, but his obsession with getting there over playing correctly does not work for me. But, his understanding of the options you have when you reach utility and the watermarks are more accurate.

BLAARGH! said...

I completely agree. I liked his books because they opened my eyes a bit wider, and helped me get past Harrington (don't get me wrong - Harrington is an EXCELLENT starting point). At the time Snyder wrote his books, his plays were probably pretty reasonable, but now with a lot of hyper aggressive folks out there it becomes less effective. I also hate the way he writes... reminds me of the tom cruise character in magnolia :)

Unknown said...

To even just attack passive players and value bet your good hands you need M = 44.5

To shut down another other aggressive player once in awhile so you do not get ran over you need at least M = 61.5

To be that aggressive player that hammers everyone else at the table and builds chip stack you need at least M = 100+

Did all the math on this in:

Erik "Towels" Savage said...

surely you can attack passive players with an M way under 44... that seems extreme tbh Travis? will definitely check out your site for the maths though.