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Game selection – continued

I'll consider the options that you have available to you when choosing a NLHE single table tournament, as it's my primary game and probably has the widest range of factors to consider when choosing a table. Of course, many of the things you will consider will apply to all forms of poker, some will apply more so than others, and some will be completely irrelevant for certain games.

1) Level of buy-in

This is probably the most important thing to consider. Suppose we have a $2000 bankroll. We could buy into a $1000+50 tournament, but we wouldn't because that would show horrendous bankroll management. Similarly for a $100+9. By the same token, we wouldn't buy into a $1+.2 tournament, because we're so far overrolled for it. Typically you'd work out what your best level is according to your roll and recommended guidelines for safe number of buyins, and then adapt from that (perhaps taking a shot at a higher level if you're playing good, or moving down if the games aren't great or overly frequent, or if we're running bad and want to reduce potential losses).

2) Location

You have a choice of live or online, and within each of these you'll have the option of different venues or sites respectively. It's mostly the same game wherever, but each different location will have varying tournament structures, different levels of rake, quality of player, traffic, and so on.
Some of these may not be practical – you may not have any live cardrooms within a practical distance of where you are, or if you do they may not have any games at a sensible level compared to your roll; you may live in the US and hence Party isn't an option, you may live somewhere other than Sweden and Svenska Spel isn't an option. From those options that you can use, you'll have to make an informed decision about where to play.

3) Turbos or regulars

Mostly just applying to online tournaments, most sites will give you the option of regular or turbo STT's. The difference between the two is the speed at which the blind levels increase, otherwise they're the same game and shouldn't require any change in playing style. It's highly likely that you'll have a lower return on investment in a turbo compared to a regular, as you'll get more low blind play and have more chance to outplay people before the high variance high blind levels come in. On the other hand, regulars take longer and you may have a higher hourly rate even taking into account a lower ROI.

4) Multitabling or not?

Many players find that they can make more money by playing multiple tables at once. This is obvious, if you're playing four tables at once instead of one, your ROI would need to drop to a quarter of what it was in order to make less, and practically it won't do that. In fact, many people find that they play better as a result of playing more tables, because they get involved in less marginal hands post-flop because they really don't have the time to. This is especially true in STT's where the vast majority of play is pre-flop. If you decide to play multiple tables, it's just a question of finding the sweet spot in terms of number where you're able to make the most money.

5) Sets or continuously?

People playing multiple tables of STT's typically fall into two types – those that load up a certain number and play them all out to completion before starting new ones (in sets), or those that keep a certain number in play at all times (continuously). The latter allows you to play more tournaments per hour (and hence potentially increase hourly rate), but you will usually find yourself with each tournament at a different stage (i.e. low levels, midstages, bubble, ITM, heads up) which can be distracting to some. It's all down to personal preference which is easier.

6) Opposition

Once you've decided how you're going to set up, you can then choose who you want to play against. At lower levels it probably doesn't matter who you play against as more or less everyone is a donkey, but at higher levels with a smaller player pool you really need to know the opposition, avoid starting up sets at the same time as known good players, and target known fish

Eeyore


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