Sit and go tournaments (STT’s) are the best way to learn poker, advance your game, and build a bankroll online. At Full Tilt Poker however, this is even more applicable because of the blind and prize structures. If you are playing in a certain circuit as well, Full Tilt offers some of the best note taking features on your opponents, whereby this extra information will allow you to make a move with weak hole cards on occasion.
When I first sat at a Full Tilt sit and go table, I was shocked to find the blind levels raise every 5 minutes! I actually thought I had sat a turbo table in error, but when I investigated further I pleasantly discovered that the actual blinds raise in very small increments. I was used to the Party Poker scenario where blinds virtually doubled every time, putting all kinds of pressure to make a move with sub-par hole cards. Full Tilt increments go in very small raises whereby after a full hour of play the blinds are still a reasonable 150/300. With accelerated online play, that means you could have seen up to 100 hands in that hour, which is plenty of time to watch the loose players kill themselves off while you push your solid hands and remain a competitive chip stack by staying out of the action and multi-way pots.
In light of this, your strategy is to simply stay out of hands. If you are in one you should be loaded with a big pair or big slick and forcing the action, not calling it. There are other marginal hands like JJ, AQ, AJs, ATs or smaller pairs that you can call in late position hoping to flop a big hand. If you don’t and that is most likely, you absolutely need the inner strength to fold medium strength hands and draws here to any type of aggression whatsoever. Your ability to lay down hands in these tournaments, are simply what is going to win them for you.
Now, if you know your players well, and have taken notes in this game or others, you may have opportunity to make position moves. When you are late in position, that’s the time to re-raise players who may be over aggressive, maniacal, gun shy, or min-raising chumps who like to see flops. Watch for these rare spots to chip up, otherwise, stay out of the fray.
If you wait for quality hands and bet enough to get heads up against your opponent, you will place in these tournaments without risking a lot. Once you get to third place, aggression is the key here, unless your two opponents are aggressive themselves, and hopefully with each other. First or third should be your guide when 3 handed. Don’t beat yourself up by going out third with a quality hand or position push because the difference between 3rd and 2nd is marginal. You want to win an all in hand so that it puts you in a huge advantage to take first after you win.
The Poker Party is Over
I was taking a look at Party poker tournaments recently just to see how bad things have become there since the company decided to interpret the recent gaming legislation passed by George and friends in a way that required them to pull out of the American market. Basically, things are quite boring at the Party Poker tables now. Combine that with some tough competition from the likes of Full Tilt Poker, and the Party does seem to be coming to an end.
What used to be the biggest, most powerful earning machine on the internet, Party Poker is now a shadow of itself. At one point, Party Poker was clearing $100,000 US per hour! Now after clearing out more than a 100,000 American poker players this site is no better than a doomed upstart like JetSetPoker.
Before the legislation Party Poker had a plan in motion that would have created an online tournament next summer, so huge that it was destined to eclipse the prize money of even the WSOP. Yes, that is where they were going. Now suddenly, The Monster promotion disappears without notice or explanation to its loyal players. So do, go the numerous guaranteed tournaments, the juicy Super Weekday tourneys, and the Guaranteed Sunday Million. It took Party nearly 3 weeks to even post an updated web page bluntly, unapologetically, nixing all the above, even though many of us had won entries into these bigger tournaments.
Now, as I am going through the site, I see the biggest action tournaments are FREEROLLS, where players that still have accounts there can try and earn a few bucks from Party Poker reserves. The rest of the active tournaments pale in numbers – where the most interest is in a 6 buck tourney. Party used to put these on every second hour and get twice as many participants fro each one. Now there are just a few per night, ranging from 50 to 750 players at peaks hours.
Besides the disappearing promotional tournaments, the Super Weekday tournaments have gone from 800 – 1500 entries, to 100 – 300 entries at best! It’s a total collapse. The site was always plagued by irritating tournament software quirks that were never paid attention to. Now they may have time to fix some things. A lot of things.
The day after the BAD DECISION, I waited 15 minutes for a $10 buck sit and go tournament to start. I use to wait for 15 seconds or less. Never mind that, I got so fed up with my STEPS credits that I burned through the sit and gos, basically donking off my credits because there weren’t enough players to fill the next higher level anyway. What a joke.
The Party got interrupted at the climax of the night. Now having a look at that site and the pathetic tournament action, it’s hard to remember how fun it once was.
I fear it now for Party Poker that even if someone gets some gusto in that corporate office and reverses one of the worst business decisions ever made in history, there is really no chance of capturing that Party magic again.