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Tips For Playing Fast-Paced Tournaments
The 2021 World Series of Poker (WSOP) is underway at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. Poker tournament players from around the world are doing everything in their power to return home with a coveted gold WSOP bracelet. Players have the idea that the WSOP has the best-structured events in the world but they are quite fast-paced tournaments in reality.
Event #4 of the 2021 WSOP is the $500 The Reunion, one of many fast-paced tournaments on the schedule. The WSOP slapped a $5 million guarantee on the prize pool, which means at least 10,000 entrants are needed. That is a lot of players to sift through over a trio of flights and two more days of poker.
Each player sits down with 50,000 chips, and blinds start at 100/200/200a. This gives the illusion that the tournament is deep-stacked. However, blinds increase every 30-minutes making it one of the series’ fast-paced tournaments. Thirty-minute blinds in an online poker tournament are long. Not in the live arena. A typical live poker player sees 25 hands per hour, so 12.5 hands per blind level in The Reunion’s case. That is not a lot of hands.
The Reunion’s Day 1s end after 22 levels; blinds are 25,000/50,000/50,000a at this stage. Players better hope they accumulate some chips and do so quickly.
Tight Is Still Right Early in Fast-Paced Tournaments
Everyone approaches poker in different ways, which is one of the beauties of the game. Some love to be fast out of the blocks in a “go big or go home” style. However, tight is right during the early stages of fast-paced tournaments.
The blinds and antes are too small, in relation to your stack, that there are not worth stealing. You are better off conserving chips for the middle stages of the event, which come around much faster than a slower-paced tournament.
In addition, playing tighter in the early stages allows you to open your ranges later on and get more credit for having a stronger hand.
Use the early stages, when the blinds are not nipping your stack, to develop reads on your opponents. Fast-paced tournaments see players bust frequently but it is still worthwhile noting who the crazy players are, who is showing down all sort of rubbish, etc.
Get Ready For the Rapidly Approaching Middle Stages
The middle stages of fast-paced tournaments come around far quicker than other events. You may be edging into the middle stages within a couple of hours of The Reunion event, for example.
You should still be selective with your starting hands but also looking to open more frequently from late position, doing so with a wider range of hands. Blinds and antes are more substantial now, and there is a lot of dead money in the pot.
Pay close attention to stack sizes because most opponents will be rather shallow. Raising then folding to a three-bet shove is very costly because you can go from cruising to being a short-stack quickly.
Conversely, be prepared to three-bet or get your stack in over late position raises against stacks that have it all to lose.
Keep an eye on the clock and blinds in fast-paced tournaments. The levels progress so quickly you may only get a couple of hands dealt in each position. Consider shoving preflop if you are relatively short, are about to pay the new level’s big blind which would make your stack even shorter.
Be Smart When Shoving
Many poker tournament players start open-shoving when they have a stack of 15 big blinds. This is still short-stacked in fast-paced tournaments, but 15BB can often see you be one of the larger stacks at your table.
Shoves from early position should still be relatively tight, opening your range the close to the button you are. Also, shoving a hand such as Ac-5c is much better than three-bet shoving the same holding. For example, a player min-raises and you jam for 10 big blinds with Ac-5c. Your opponent is getting almost 2-to-1 to call, so needs only 33% equity to call. That is a lot of hands he is calling with. Try not to reshove light when you are short!