Mixing Up My Game With No Limit Tournaments

Playing one poker game exclusively, no matter how much you enjoy it, can be detrimental for certain players. After repeated marathon sessions of any particular variety, many of us are prone to restlessness, boredom and overall less than optimal play, which spells trouble for your bankroll. On the other hand, if you mix in another game you are less familiar with, you sharpen your general poker skills and improve overall as a player.

Now some players are only interested in No Limit Holdem, and they do just fine. But I’m definitely the type of player who needs to change it up. Because of this, I’ve been playing a lot of No Limit tournaments lately.

My regular game is limit cash, a game that I enjoy because of its predictability over the long term and the more mechanical nature that comes from fixed betting. But when I also like to play the exact opposite type of poker: high emotion, drama filled hands and a win big or go home atmosphere. Ever since I started watching poker on TV during the boom in the early 2000s, I’ve loved No Limit tournaments.

Large Field Multi-table Tournaments

I’ve found it helps me if I pick a game about as different from my regular one as possible when I’m mixing it up. For me, these have been multi table tournaments with large fields. I play on several different online sites, but recently I’ve been enjoying the variety of tournaments offered on Full Tilt Poker.

Last Sunday I played in one called the $100K Double Deuce, with first place offering an incredible $31,000! Overall, there were about 9,000 players, but the top 1,000 or so got paid, which was very reasonable. And the top few places would mean life-changing paydays for most of us.

The buy-in for this tournament is usually $20+$2, but I didn’t pay that much. They offer satellite tournaments for as little as about $.50 with an entry ticket awarded to top finishers.

Once I got playing, I tried to avoid letting the high stakes nature get to me and play my regular game. I was actually a little surprised at how many ultra-aggressive players there were pushing all-in right from the start. I thought the higher buy-in would lead to more sensible play, but I guess you’ll find fish at just about any stakes!

I won some medium pots with flop continuation bets and one or two showdowns, and without even getting too involved I had built my stack to about double the average after the second break.

As time went on, though, I hit a nasty dry spell. I probably was too conservative as I tried to hold onto my dwindling stack. As the blinds rose and players busted out, I suddenly found myself in an all-in or fold situation. I found a pair of 10s, but wouldn’t you know it, I ran into AA. Busted in around 2,000 place.

My play certainly leaves a little room for improvement, and next time I hope I’ll get to go a little deeper. And a cool $31K certainly would be nice…

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