STT considerations - part 1This article was posted on November 30, 2007
STTs are beyond doubt, some of the most handy opportunities to make money in an online poker room. The reasons leading to their increased profitability are varied, but the reduced competition and the relatively good odds (outlast 7 players at a ten handed table and you'll nearly double up on your investment) have a lot to do with it.
Pointing out the exact reasons why every rookie should attempt to build his/her bankroll via STTs is not the intended point of this article, so let's leave it at that. The approach that is most likely to make one successful, is what I'd really like to discuss. We all know Texas Holdem is a streaky game. That is especially true of its online variant. There is a lot of variation and luck-influence in everything that happens, so even if one is a more than reasonable player, fish will gang up on him/her and make his/her life miserable. That's exactly why one needs to take the game and beat it in the long-run, rather then the short term, on one hand because that's the only way to force the odds, on the other hand, because short-term winning doesn't really matter anyway.
While STTs do take some of this short term variation out of the game, there's a different, yet very similar phenomenon at work here. The whole variance issue needs to be translated to a bigger scale, meaning that you will win some of these STTs, you won't even finish ITM in others, and you'll catch some money places in still others. Sometimes you'll be on fire bagging one tourney win after another, other times, you'll go winless for 10 such games.
This is the part that can and will get to you if you fail to be extremely patient and cold-blooded about it all. Once again, you need to make yourself aware that only the long-term results count, only this time, long-term means like a month or so. Learn to consider poker a one-month long game. Do not let the stress of variation get to you. Never ever belittle the importance of this view that you need to have on poker if you ever intend to be a winner. If you're unable to make this viewpoint your own, you should probably not play poker for real money.
The actual strategy that you need to undertake in a STT, is not a secret, as a matter of fact most people playing in them know this. If you have a different idea about how things work, that's fine too, but you should know that in that case, the other players will hold an edge on you.
The beginning stages of these games ask for a very cautious and tight approach. Do not go all-in under any circumstances at this stage, because all-ins carry some very unfavorable implied odds right now. There'll be plenty of chances to go all in later, with better implied odds, so try to stay out of trouble. Only play premium hands, and try to trap some loose cannon on one of these hands of yours. In this situation, going for the kill is recommended.
As the game progresses, you gradually need to abandon the extra tight attitude, and loosen up a little. Be careful not to turn into a maniac too soon though. Because of the extra tight attitude you've shown thus far, you'll be able to steal some pots, so taking a whack or two at that makes sense. Also, you must take advantage of the image you've created, and that's another reason for loosening up.
As the money stages of play approach, you need to loosen up even more and turn downright aggressive. Several factors will justify this change in tactics, but more about those in the second part of the article.