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Coolers - lets discuss strategy


robilaruk
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Inspired by a series of posts here between GaF and I, we thought it best to open a general discussion thread on the correct strategy to play coolers. The relevant posts from the other thread are: GAF said The Gap in these is absolutely huge - much much much more so than other forms of poker - so often you can shove with any two, and others cannot reasonably call with anything (even aces) - success in these games is all about the chips you can pick up pre flop without seeing a flop (let alone a showdown). (This response relates specifically to the hand I posted on the other thread) I said So surviving is not the correct strategy but aggressiveness is? GAF said Surviving is key, for everyone - so it's about situations where your opponents objective to survive will be stronger than the cards they hold and then levereging that situation. There are frequently situations where your opponents cannot call, no matter what cards they hold. In that situation I raise/reraise all in without looking at my cards. When there are a number of mid stacks (of which you are one) this can give you vital breathing space. I said Is there value in increasing your variance by being aggressive in these type of games with a flat pay out structure? GAF said No - you want to minimise your variance in these games. I am raising because my opponents will fold (which means there is no variance) - not because they will call and I will race..... I said In which case I fail to see the difference between this game and a normal STT's - there must be a difference in optimum play given the payout structure surely?:unsure

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Re: Coolers - lets discuss strategy This is my current thinking on coolers. I play them like super-satallite tourneys - i am only interested in getting paid and if that means limping into the cash with only 1 BB then so be it. In other words I play super tight folding hand after hand and letting opportinities pass to shove in position with a low stack vs the blinds unless I have a good hand (probably top 20% at least) if there are other players in worse shape than me, (if I am the weenie stack i am probably (99%) AI SB vs BB). My goal is to outlast the smaller stacks and get paid. I dont get aggressive early levels with anything but AA (1st hand from tonight, KK in BB a min raise and 3 calls means I call and see the flop and only play if there is no Ace/drawing board). The chance of losing is too great a risk considering the payout structure IMHO - in a top heavy payout normal STT I would be re-raising KK early levels to get HU and see a flop/get AI PF as chips are needed to get ITM. GaF said he would open shove ATC with position when the time was right (stack vs blinds etc). I am unsure this is a good tactic as it increases your variance for little reward compared to a normal STT when the reward is much greater (you double your money in coolers compared to potentially winning 5 times your money). Would be interested to see some maths on this perhaps? I play this way because I believe I am a better player than at least 3 players at the table (at the level I am playing 3-5 euros), so therefore I only have to 'beat' 2 others to get paid. The standard of play on the 3 & 5 euro coolers is as poor as the normal STT's and folding and waiting is a valuable tactic in my book because by the time the bubble arrives the blinds are only 50/100 and I have 1100-1300 chips or so if i have played super tight. Would be interested in hearing other peopls thoughts on playing these. Cheers Damo

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Re: Coolers - lets discuss strategy These 5 hands sum up cooler strategy for me. I'm 6th of 7 with blinds of 100/200 - it's not looking too good!! Seat 1: KEC134 (1880.00) Seat 2: pepinero1 (1510.00) Seat 3: PLTelepee (1530.00) Seat 4: Marusan (2700.00) Seat 8: Morenety (2435.00) Seat 9: venegorr (2035.00) Seat 10: titibni (2910.00) But there are a lot of similarly sized stacks, noone has a huge stack. If I open shove, what can the top 5 realistically call me with (assuming they are reasonably competant?) Not a lot!! SO that's my strategy. In addition, the guy just after me, Marusan, is a regular and definitely seems competent enough to fold big hands when he should! Hand 1 (Under the gun with a very marginal hand)

***** Hand 1292070347 ***** 100.00/200.00 Texas Hold'em (No Limit ) - 25 October 2008 12:28:48 Cooler (Real /Tournament ) Seat 1: KEC134 (1880.00) Seat 2: pepinero1 (1510.00) Seat 3: PLTelepee (1530.00) Seat 4: Marusan (2700.00) Seat 8: Morenety (2435.00) Seat 9: venegorr (2035.00) Seat 10: titibni (2910.00) KEC134 post SB 100.00 pepinero1 post BB 200.00 ** Deal ** KEC134 [N/A, N/A] pepinero1 [N/A, N/A] PLTelepee [:3d:, :3c:] Marusan [N/A, N/A] Morenety [N/A, N/A] venegorr [N/A, N/A] titibni [N/A, N/A] *** Bet Round 1 *** PLTelepee All-in 1530.00 Marusan Fold Morenety Fold venegorr Fold titibni Fold KEC134 Fold pepinero1 Fold *** Showdown *** : Rake: 0.00 Total Pot: 500.00 KEC134 Fold Win: 0.00 pepinero1 Fold Win: 0.00 PLTelepee By default Win: 500.00 Marusan Fold Win: 0.00 Morenety Fold Win: 0.00 venegorr Fold Win: 0.00 titibni Fold Win: 0.00
Hand 2 (BB - player before me raises all in - I have no fold equity, so get out of the way, even though I'm possibly priced in against his range)
***** Hand 1292071436 ***** 150.00/300.00 Texas Hold'em (No Limit ) - 25 October 2008 12:29:55 Cooler (Real /Tournament ) Seat 1: KEC134 (1780.00) Seat 2: pepinero1 (1310.00) Seat 3: PLTelepee (1830.00) Seat 4: Marusan (2700.00) Seat 8: Morenety (2435.00) Seat 9: venegorr (2035.00) Seat 10: titibni (2910.00) pepinero1 post SB 150.00 PLTelepee post BB 300.00 ** Deal ** KEC134 [N/A, N/A] pepinero1 [N/A, N/A] PLTelepee [:Kc:, :Td:] Marusan [N/A, N/A] Morenety [N/A, N/A] venegorr [N/A, N/A] titibni [N/A, N/A] *** Bet Round 1 *** Marusan Fold Morenety Fold venegorr Fold titibni Fold KEC134 Call 300.00 pepinero1 All-in 1310.00 PLTelepee Fold KEC134 Fold *** Showdown *** : Rake: 0.00 Total Pot: 900.00 KEC134 Fold Win: 0.00 pepinero1 By default Win: 900.00 PLTelepee Fold Win: 0.00 Marusan Fold Win: 0.00 Morenety Fold Win: 0.00 venegorr Fold Win: 0.00 titibni Fold Win: 0.00
Hand 3 - everyone folds to me in the SB and so I raise all in. My cards are insignificant
***** Hand 1292071964 ***** 150.00/300.00 Texas Hold'em (No Limit ) - 25 October 2008 12:30:27 Cooler (Real /Tournament ) Seat 1: KEC134 (1480.00) Seat 2: pepinero1 (1910.00) Seat 3: PLTelepee (1530.00) Seat 4: Marusan (2700.00) Seat 8: Morenety (2435.00) Seat 9: venegorr (2035.00) Seat 10: titibni (2910.00) PLTelepee post SB 150.00 Marusan post BB 300.00 ** Deal ** KEC134 [N/A, N/A] pepinero1 [N/A, N/A] PLTelepee [:4d:, :Ks:] Marusan [N/A, N/A] Morenety [N/A, N/A] venegorr [N/A, N/A] titibni [N/A, N/A] *** Bet Round 1 *** Morenety Fold venegorr Fold titibni Fold KEC134 Fold pepinero1 Fold PLTelepee All-in 1530.00 Marusan Fold *** Showdown *** : Rake: 0.00 Total Pot: 600.00 KEC134 Fold Win: 0.00 pepinero1 Fold Win: 0.00 PLTelepee By default Win: 600.00 Marusan Fold Win: 0.00 Morenety Fold Win: 0.00 venegorr Fold Win: 0.00 titibni Fold Win: 0.00
Hand 4 - everyone folds to me on the button - I raise all in - again my cards are insignificant
***** Hand 1292072470 ***** 150.00/300.00 Texas Hold'em (No Limit ) - 25 October 2008 12:31:00 Cooler (Real /Tournament ) Seat 1: KEC134 (1480.00) Seat 2: pepinero1 (1910.00) Seat 3: PLTelepee (1830.00) Seat 4: Marusan (2400.00) Seat 8: Morenety (2435.00) Seat 9: venegorr (2035.00) Seat 10: titibni (2910.00) Marusan post SB 150.00 Morenety post BB 300.00 ** Deal ** KEC134 [N/A, N/A] pepinero1 [N/A, N/A] PLTelepee [:9s:, :Ts:] Marusan [N/A, N/A] Morenety [N/A, N/A] venegorr [N/A, N/A] titibni [N/A, N/A] *** Bet Round 1 *** venegorr Fold titibni Fold KEC134 Fold pepinero1 Fold PLTelepee All-in 1830.00 Marusan Fold Morenety Fold *** Showdown *** : Rake: 0.00 Total Pot: 750.00 KEC134 Fold Win: 0.00 pepinero1 Fold Win: 0.00 PLTelepee By default Win: 750.00 Marusan Fold Win: 0.00 Morenety Fold Win: 0.00 venegorr Fold Win: 0.00 titibni Fold Win: 0.00
Hand 5 - Cutoff - all stacks after me are similarly sized to me, and out of the danger positions. Again I can raise all in with any two.
***** Hand 1292073160 ***** 150.00/300.00 Texas Hold'em (No Limit ) - 25 October 2008 12:31:43 Cooler (Real /Tournament ) Seat 1: KEC134 (1480.00) Seat 2: pepinero1 (1910.00) Seat 3: PLTelepee (2280.00) Seat 4: Marusan (2250.00) Seat 8: Morenety (2135.00) Seat 9: venegorr (2035.00) Seat 10: titibni (2910.00) Morenety post SB 150.00 venegorr post BB 300.00 ** Deal ** KEC134 [N/A, N/A] pepinero1 [N/A, N/A] PLTelepee [:Ad:, :Th:] Marusan [N/A, N/A] Morenety [N/A, N/A] venegorr [N/A, N/A] titibni [N/A, N/A] *** Bet Round 1 *** titibni Fold KEC134 Fold pepinero1 Fold PLTelepee All-in 2280.00 Marusan Fold Morenety Fold venegorr Fold *** Showdown *** : Rake: 0.00 Total Pot: 750.00 KEC134 Fold Win: 0.00 pepinero1 Fold Win: 0.00 PLTelepee By default Win: 750.00 Marusan Fold Win: 0.00 Morenety Fold Win: 0.00 venegorr Fold Win: 0.00 titibni Fold Win: 0.00
So in the space of 5 hands I've moved from 6th of 7 to 2nd of 7 with zero risk (once they fold ;) ) - no flops to worry about, no variance at all!! I've gone from a losing position to a winning position without needing any cards, without needing to hit flops and without needing to risk showdowns. Blinds you take down pre flop are where these games are won (or lost)
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Re: Coolers - lets discuss strategy

GaF said he would open shove ATC with position when the time was right (stack vs blinds etc). I am unsure this is a good tactic as it increases your variance for little reward compared to a normal STT when the reward is much greater (you double your money in coolers compared to potentially winning 5 times your money).
I totally disagree it increases your variance - if you're picking the right spots and taking the blinds down pre flop uncontested (see hands above ;) ) then there is no variance as there are no showdowns. If you're getting called, then you're not picking the right spots! Fold equity is huge in these games - you must use it (when the time comes)
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Re: Coolers - lets discuss strategy Of course it doesn't always work out (what does always work in Poker?) :sad First shove worked

***** Hand 1292204735 ***** 100.00/200.00 Texas Hold'em (No Limit ) - 25 October 2008 14:27:01 Cooler (Real /Tournament ) Seat 1: DrJanItor (1400.00) Seat 3: PLTelepee (1335.00) Seat 4: pepinero1 (2020.00) Seat 6: Fueller (2175.00) Seat 7: coolen (3285.00) Seat 9: wolfie01 (3765.00) Seat 10: lucasxx (1020.00) PLTelepee post SB 100.00 pepinero1 post BB 200.00 ** Deal ** DrJanItor [N/A, N/A] PLTelepee [:4s:, :3c:] pepinero1 [N/A, N/A] Fueller [N/A, N/A] coolen [N/A, N/A] wolfie01 [N/A, N/A] lucasxx [N/A, N/A] *** Bet Round 1 *** Fueller Fold coolen Fold wolfie01 Fold lucasxx Fold DrJanItor Fold PLTelepee All-in 1335.00 pepinero1 Fold *** Showdown *** : Rake: 0.00 Total Pot: 400.00 DrJanItor Fold Win: 0.00 PLTelepee By default Win: 400.00 pepinero1 Fold Win: 0.00 Fueller Fold Win: 0.00 coolen Fold Win: 0.00 wolfie01 Fold Win: 0.00 lucasxx Fold Win: 0.00
But second shove didn't :sad I'm happy enough with the shove, and my feeling is that my opponents call with AKo was a far bigger mistake than my shove with J8o
***** Hand 1292205610 ***** 100.00/200.00 Texas Hold'em (No Limit ) - 25 October 2008 14:27:45 Cooler (Real /Tournament ) Seat 1: DrJanItor (1400.00) Seat 3: PLTelepee (1535.00) Seat 4: pepinero1 (1820.00) Seat 6: Fueller (2175.00) Seat 7: coolen (3285.00) Seat 9: wolfie01 (3765.00) Seat 10: lucasxx (1020.00) pepinero1 post SB 100.00 Fueller post BB 200.00 ** Deal ** DrJanItor [N/A, N/A] PLTelepee [:8d:, :Jh:] pepinero1 [N/A, N/A] Fueller [N/A, N/A] coolen [N/A, N/A] wolfie01 [N/A, N/A] lucasxx [N/A, N/A] *** Bet Round 1 *** coolen Fold wolfie01 Fold lucasxx Fold DrJanItor Fold PLTelepee All-in 1535.00 pepinero1 Call 1535.00 Fueller Fold *** Flop(Board): *** : [Kh, 4c, 3d] *** Turn(Board): *** : [Kh, 4c, 3d, 2h] *** River(Board): *** : [:Kh:, :4c:, :3d:, :2h:, :7c:] *** Showdown *** : Rake: 0.00 Total Pot: 3270.00 DrJanItor Fold Win: 0.00 PLTelepee [8d, Jh] Highest card king Win: 0.00 pepinero1 [:Ah:, :Ks:] Pair of kings Win: 3270.00 Fueller Fold Win: 0.00 coolen Fold Win: 0.00 wolfie01 Fold Win: 0.00 lucasxx Fold Win: 0.00
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Re: Coolers - lets discuss strategy

But second shove didn't :sad I'm happy enough with the shove, and my feeling is that my opponents call with AKo was a far bigger mistake than my shove with J8o
Your problem here (and with this style of play) is that pepinero1 has seen your 5 all in shoves in the previous game, and then again, the first shove here. Using that knowledge it's a relatively easy call for him the make with AK I'm playing only coolers at the moment as they're quite quick and very profitable. I spend the first round or two playing very tight poker but watching what my opponents are doing. Usually after a round I can pick about 3 of the opponents who I know won't make the final 5 (without a huge slice of luck). You also then see who the other tight players are - and then you adjust your play accordingly. You can use the shove with any two cards against the tight players and expect them not to call, but there are still plenty of players who will call with Ace high or a low PP. The more you shove the more other player are likely to call.
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Re: Coolers - lets discuss strategy

Your problem here (and with this style of play) is that pepinero1 has seen your 5 all in shoves in the previous game' date=' and then again, the first shove here. Using that knowledge it's a relatively easy call for him the make with AK[/quote'] Not sure I totally agree :unsure I think what I'm doing is pretty transparent - they know what I'm doing and I know they know!! However it is still wrong for them to call! My problem is that they don't know that :tongue2 (though it's not much of a problem, as I do feel I'm crushing the game ;) ) If the cards were face up. He has AKo, I have J8o. I shove. He isn't in a danger position. He should fold! If he calls, then he's 35% to be (all but) eliminated. That's 35% to lose his buy in. SO he is a maximum of 65% to "win". If he folds he has a minimum 5/7 (71%) to win (and in reality more because that gives all 7 players an equal chance whilst he's currently sitting in a "winning seat") SO we can be certain that calling with AKo against J7o in that situation is negative ev for him :unsure You're right about the advantage from watchin gthe table/players, but I'm 6 tabling, I'm not taking too much in about my opponents ;)
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Re: Coolers - lets discuss strategy

If he folds he has a minimum 5/7 (71%) to win (and in reality more because that gives all 7 players an equal chance whilst he's currently sitting in a "winning seat")
Time to start arguing with myself (again) :lol :lol :lol Thi statement doesn't actually hold true - although currently in a winning position, his chip stack is below average, so I think that he has a below 5/7 chance (ceteris paribus) of winning :unsure
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Re: Coolers - lets discuss strategy

He has a good chance. He's the 3rd shortest stack and the blinds have just passed him. Other people have to make a move before he does.
Is that less than or greater than 65%? :tongue2 (that's the critical question)
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Re: Coolers - lets discuss strategy Don't forget that whilst survival is critical in this form of the game, it's also important to knock others out. At some point someone has to take that gamble and knock the others out. Otherwise you'd be in a position where the first into the pot shoves, everyone folds, and this continues until the blinds get too big. If he had lost the hand he would still have had a few hundred chips and a few hands before the blinds are back with him. We've all come back from worse positions in the past.

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Re: Coolers - lets discuss strategy

At some point someone has to take that gamble and knock the others out. Otherwise you'd be in a position where the first into the pot shoves' date=' everyone folds, and this continues until the blinds get too big.[/quote'] That's precisely what happens when you have a group of the better players at the table isn't it? I've played bubbles in coolers that go on and on and on and on and on ...... and I've been folding big hands - the likes of AKs, JJ and probably bigger whilst shoving with hands like 85o, 62o (and probably worse :tongue2) When two players go up against one another on the bubble in a cooler, before we know the result, often both players are losers (i.e. they both have negative ev) and everyone else at the table is a winner. At some stage someone has to make a stand - just make sure it's someone else and not you :tongue2 I'm interested what slapdash thinks of this train of thought - he plays at a far higher level than me and I imagine it's even more true at that level (where fold equity is greater because players know more when they should fold!!) Also - can we develop the train of thought mathematically and further for some more substantial proof (or otherwise)? You've mentioned before that ICM for top 5 players paid out doesn't exist (or at least, you haven't seen it) - but can we take an 8 seat game with top 4 paid out as a model and extrapolate the results to 10 seat games with 5 places paid?
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Re: Coolers - lets discuss strategy Haven't got my head around Gaf's maths yet but... When you say your variance is low because your opponent will fold...I think this is where the strategy would collapse. The assumption is being made that every player at the table is fully aware of the maths behind every given situation. Most can't even calculate pot odds with any degree of accuracy. When they look down at their AK they ain't thinking about how this hand will affect the overall game...they just want your chips and AK will warrant an all-in call. What I'm trying to say is that I think those holding say the top 10% of hands will show down...so your variance is going to shoot through the roof. You are looking at a perfect world where every player plays the ''correct'' way. This doesn't happen and I reckon you would come unstuck, particularly at the lower staking levels, where it is less likely that the players will make the correct mathematical plays. Added: Reading through this thread I realise my performance in STTs is generally poor because I don't apply enough aggression when having stack size and/or positional advantage. I know for a fact that I play far too tight as a general rule and, when I do have a good run, I realise I have been either very lucky with the cards or have been playing very aggressively. As I am a very placid, easy going person in real life it is oh so easy for me to slip into the standard TAG which can really only get you so far in this game.

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Re: Coolers - lets discuss strategy

Added: Reading through this thread I realise my performance in STTs is generally poor because I don't apply enough aggression when having stack size and/or positional advantage. I know for a fact that I play far too tight as a general rule and, when I do have a good run, I realise I have been either very lucky with the cards or have been playing very aggressively. As I am a very placid, easy going person in real life it is oh so easy for me to slip into the standard TAG which can really only get you so far in this game.
In which case you should try these Coolers. The TAG style is a very good fit for winning them.
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Re: Coolers - lets discuss strategy Where is the thread if there is one about a pro female poker player who came second in a tourny without ever looking at her cards. Played position and the players. Did not care about the cards at all. In principle its the same here. You play the situation not the cards Aggression at the right times is the key. i guess you will lose from time to time but if you can get in the money 75% of the time then your doing well and you will make profit. I think I am talking myself into playing more of these.

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Re: Coolers - lets discuss strategy

When two players go up against one another on the bubble in a cooler, before we know the result, often both players are losers (i.e. they both have negative ev) and everyone else at the table is a winner. At some stage someone has to make a stand - just make sure it's someone else and not you :tongue2
Ideally we'd always let the other players take the risk in these situations. Unfortunately though sometimes you have to take the risk yourself. you take a risk everytime you sove with 85o, so why not take the risk of calling if you have something like QQ, JJ, 1010? Say that they're are still all 10 people in, blinds at 30/15. Someone shoves and you're holding JJ. Do you call at that stage of the tournament? I admit you've lost me on the maths and I'm sure Slapdash will to when he adds to this thread. Again I'd be interested to hear his thoughts as he plays at a higher level than me. Speaking of levels. We often say you should have 20 Buy In's to move up a level. Is that still true of Coolers? When the average player should expect to win 50% of the time, should you move up the levels quicker?
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Re: Coolers - lets discuss strategy

Where is the thread if there is one about a pro female poker player who came second in a tourny without ever looking at her cards. Played position and the players. Did not care about the cards at all. In principle its the same here. You play the situation not the cards Aggression at the right times is the key. i guess you will lose from time to time but if you can get in the money 75% of the time then your doing well and you will make profit. I think I am talking myself into playing more of these.
That's it exactly - aggression is key at the right times, but tight play is also key at the right times. I rate myself as an OK player nothing more, and my stats from this month show that I win these games at over 80% - I didn't keep stats before this because I wasn't taking it seriously. TAG players on PL should all be able to make a nice profit on these games. The problem is that they are not that exciting.
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Re: Coolers - lets discuss strategy At the moment I'm moving up when I have 10x Buy Ins - not sure that's sound bankroll management, or particularly scientific, but I feel I'm crushing them so easily, I want to move up faster.....as I get to higher levels I'll probably require a higher bankroll of myself :unsure

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Re: Coolers - lets discuss strategy A dull Sunday morning brightened up by a bit of aggressive cooler action. Must apologise first off, hadn't read the first few posts (or hadn't fully taken in what was being said!). First idea was that Gaf was raising all over the place but now realise he is applying stack and position criteria first. I have played 3 coolers this morning and cashed in all 3. Usual TAG...but moving in hard when in position and up against small/medium stacks. Third game pushed with 44 and got ass kicked by KK...struggled back up to 600 chips. Then positional pushes worked even when threatening only 50% of their stacks...which I found fascinating! I know 3 games is dangerous to draw conclusions from...but this just feels right so I'm going to try a full afternoon and see what happens.:hope Having said that...if Gaf is sat at a table I might just sit back and let him do all the work. :eyes

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Re: Coolers - lets discuss strategy

First idea was that Gaf was raising all over the place but now realise he is applying stack and position criteria first.
Definitely :ok I thought this was quite an interesting situation - as it is, I view it as a pretty straightforward fold - all 3 players to act after me could quite reasonably call.......however.......had we been playing anticlockwise instead I think it was a quite straightforward shove - none of the 3 players to act could reasonably call. So same cards, same situation, different stacks give totally different scenarios. f_20081026Coom_354ad79.gif
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Re: Coolers - lets discuss strategy

What do we think the 'correct' strategy is early on' date=' guys? I'm assuming my normal strategy won't work in these (it doesn't in any other SNG's, after all!)[/quote'] I would sum my early strategy up in one word - "fold" :tongue2
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Re: Coolers - lets discuss strategy

Say that they're are still all 10 people in, blinds at 30/15. Someone shoves and you're holding JJ. Do you call at that stage of the tournament?
Have no idea if this has already been answered, made a point of not look so as to not influence my call here. Can't think of a single time, even on teh button where I'd made this call. It's an easy lay down. Chances are this early on he's pushing with a monster, best case you're going to be racing with AK / AQ etc. There will be better spots. I'm even folding KK here.
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Re: Coolers - lets discuss strategy I'm starting to "tone down" my thoughts on these a bit ..... not sure what's happening but the theory I'm coming towards is ....... I didn't really know, explicity, how I play these - when the thread/questions came up, I tried to "formulate" what I was doing, and indeed thought about it a bit more, and tried to use a little brainpower to work out what the correct way to play these was ...... however I think I may have overegged the aggression (without realising it), and then taken that into my games ... I've now realised I'm going waaaaaaay over the top with the aggression (I think more than I was before) - the result is I'm not beating the games so easily any more (though I dont think I'm losing either) - I've been losing games that should have been a stroll in the park - I do seem to be being called far more than I was before (which I put down to my being more aggressive than before :unsure) - when I go back to these games, I think I'll try being less aggressive when I dont need to be....

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