Since the beginning of the year, I have been playing a lot more tourney's on Pokerstars and I have had relatively good success. However, the Top 3 finishes have been frustratingly infrequent because of the large number of players in every PS tourney (typically over 500 and often over 1,000).
So on Friday I played my first 180 person SNG on PS in about a year and as luck would have it I took 2nd. This result is consistent with the other tourney on PS that I have had the most success in -- the $9.90 360 max tourney.
When the field is limited, there is much more chance to make it to the final table. If you can double up during the first hour then you have a legitimate shot. I advocate patience -- in this particular tourney I had a low M of between 4 and 8 from the 108th hand up to the 177th hand. I was patient and I would push with good hands and usually just take the blinds but occasionally double up.
Then near the bubble (18 paid) when we were down to about 22 players, I became much more aggressive. I would push with hands like KJs and happened to bust As with that hand. But the point is you pick up chips -- either you are going to double up, scoop the large blinds or go home.
Play moderately tight in the beginning but see a few speculative hands -- I like to see the flop with any pair for instance. Try to double up to buy yourself time to get to the bubble.
Play tight in the middle if your M is below 10 times -- only get involved if you have cards you are willing to get all in with and you should probably push with them to exercise fold equity. If you have a higher M then play solid poker, but not overly tight.
On the bubble, get very aggressive. Push with speculative hands (all pairs excepts 22, 33 and 44 -- large connected cards, AT and above, etc). This is where you want to steal blinds, double up or go home. There is no shame going home on the button as long as you are the one that pushed. DON'T call others pushes with K high, or Ax (below AJ) or pairs below 88. This is just a recipe for disaster. Push not call on the button.
Then when you get to the FT, I usually slow down considerably until 2-3 people have gone home. There is nothing worse than taking 8th or 9th in a tourney. You have realized your goal of reaching the FT, invested a large amount of time, but then get almost no cash for your effort. Play tight until 6-7 handed.
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