Sunday, December 28, 2008

Poker pearl #14

This is from the Dec. 17 issue of Card Player magazine.

The Pro: Vivek Rajkumar of Seattle WA has played on the tournament circuit for about two years. His winnings are more than $2 million. As so many other top young players, he learned online, where he plays as Psyduck.

The Pearl: When was asked about early play in tournaments, here's part of what he said:

"I don't mind playing big pots or small pots early. I'm playing to maximize my expectation. I have no qualms about busting out in the first or second level. I also have no qualms about putting in a big bluff if I think that it is going to show a profit over time, but most of my bluffs come i the middle stages . . . when there is more in the pot due to antes and higher blinds.

"In a shorter stack tournament, you can't play as many speculative hands. With 200 bets in play, you can almost always set mine, and you can almost always call with 6 5 when out of position; these kinds of hands play well on only specific flops.

"But with 100 or fewer bets in play, you can't call quite as much. You are more interesting in winning the pot preflop.

"The biggest mistake I see in a big-stack tournament is that people (lose their stack) way too light. They put too much emphasis on top pair with top kicker or overpairs . . . In short-stack tournaments, the mistake might be doing the opposite, which is playing too cautiously . . ."

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