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05-07-2010 , 08:12 AM
Hi 2+2,

I started playing online poker in 2009 depositing 50$ on Pokerstars.
I had to realise that as a beginner it is really hard to compete without having further knowledge of the game.
In spring 2009 I found this forum and thanks to the advice given I have been improving my game in $0.25/90s, $2.20/90s, 4.40/180s and 10+1/180s mostly.
The development right now is that I am beating the non turbo 180s with a 100% ROI and hopefully this guide will help new players coming to this great side and looking for advice to improve as a player.

Before you start reading you should know that this guide has not only been written by me.
During the last year I found friends on 2+2 who wanted to help me with this project and invested time to edit, co-read and add in this guide.
Therefore kudos to:
au_maverick, davethedave2, Foks, JITxpert, STF UP AND SHIP, strife

If you are already a successfull MTT player this is tl:dr for you

have fun reading,
good luck at the tables,


1) What is the purpose of this guide?
2) What do you need to start?
a) Bankroll Management
b) Helpful Software
c) Dealing with Variance
3) General Strategy
a) Your Style
i) Hand Selection
b) Your Opponent’s Style
c) Playing Your Stack Size
d) How to play each stage of the tournament
4) Example hands

1) What is the purpose of this guide?

This guide is written for beginners who already know the basics of No Limit Texas Hold’em.
Since you are reading on a poker forum I assume that you are generally interested in poker, but want to make the next step in tournament poker.
There are 3 types of non-turbo 180s available on stars: $4.40/180s, $11/180s, and $22/180s.
$4.40/180s are the best MTT Sit and Gos available on the web for learning the basic fundamentals of tournament play and in this guide i am mostly referring to the 4.40/180s.
They are always running, the competition is notoriously easy and the structure has the perfect speed to learn basic tournament plays and general strategy.
At the later stages the level of play is becoming better and better since you will see more regs (players who play these format regularly) and you will face difficult decisions which will help you to improve as a player.
The average duration of the 180s is ~4hours. If you plan to multi table them you should at least plan 5 hour sessions. I personally recommend starting out playing 2 tables and focusing on every decision. Once you get comfortable/bored with that you should move up to 4 tables > 6 tables > 8 tables > 12 tables.

2) What do you need to start?

a) Bankroll Management

Managing your bankroll is necessary so you can comfortably deal with short-term luck (variance) and the natural swings of tournament play without going broke. Conservative bankroll management for MTTs is 200 Buyins (BI). So if you want to only play $4.40/180s then you should keep a bankroll of $880. If you are already experienced in MTTs 100 BI should do the job as well. I don’t recommend going < 100 BI since 30-50BI swings are common even for really good players and you should not feel the pressure of losing BIs when playing since it will affect your decisions.
In reality, you will play different tournaments, such as $2.20/180s, big field MTTs < $10, $11/180s, $2.20/90 etc. This means that your Average Buyin (ABI) will differ. Your bankroll should be 200 BI of your ABI, so if you average $2.50, you only need a $500 bankroll. You can check your ABI at (

b) Helpful Software

I recommend pokerstove ( and the latest pushpot chart to look up how to play your actual hand perfectly. Stove is a must have because it allows you to see how certain hands matchup, showing you the exact equity. Equity is the percentage that you will win the pot at showdown. What is even more useful is that you can input hand ranges and see how well a hand plays against an estimated range.


Pokertracker 3 and Holdem Manager provide you with a HUD (Headsup Display). This is most useful for identifying what type of player you’re up against at a quick glance which is very useful for multitabling. The main stats that 2+2ers want to know are VPIP (the % of hands that a player voluntarily puts $ in the pot preflop) PFR (the % of hands that a player raises preflop). These stats are provided in this format: VPIP/PFR. For example, for example I play an 18/15 game which means I am Tight and Aggressive in general.

c) Dealing With Variance

But that’s just the technical aspect, as a poker player you always have to aim for playing your best poker in any situation. Forget the bad beat you got 1minute ago with AA being all-in as 93% favourite and AJo sucking out, it’s not important.
See it in the bigger picture and as variance if you get a suckout, that’s poker! Keep the emotions down after you received the bad beat, the next hand, the next situation in online poker is not far away and you can’t let emotions influence your decision.

3) General Strategy

a) Your Style

Everyone has their own style of playing poker, but in general, the best non-turbo 180 grinders play a tight/aggressive (TAG) game. This means that they rarely enter a pot (around 12%-18% of the time) but when they do play a pot they use controlled aggression to extract maximum value from their hand. They rarely call preflop or postflop without a good plan. They realize how important it is to have position on an opponent, so they rarely play pots in Early Position but love to play pots in middle-late position. These players almost never limp preflop, instead if they think a hand is playable they raise to 3x the big blind or 3x + 1x for each limper. This gives you the initiative, which allows you most of the time to take down the pot on the flop with a bet no matter what your holdings.

The reason that these TAG players have an edge over the field is because people play so loose/bad and will put their chips in so light that by playing tight, they are going to have the best hand with the money in the middle the majority of the time. Combined with smart aggression, the TAG style is clearly the superior style for micro tournaments.

i) Hand Selection

The most important part of being a good tight player is hand selection. With good hand selection, it automatically gives you an edge over the field, and over time, the profits will pour in.
This section is meant as a general guideline for hand selection. Realize that this is not concrete, and you will have to play looser or tighter depending on what kind of players/ number of players to act/stack sizes you’re up against.

Early position (UTG, UTG+1) (The first 2 seats to the left of the BB at a 9-handed table)
Playing in position (last to act on whatever street) is an automatic advantage in poker because you get information based on the previous players’ actions, and poker is all about information. Obviously, this makes EP the worst place to be, because you act first preflop and you only have position on the blinds after the flop.
Therefore you should play the tightest from these positions:

KK-AA: Raise 3x 95% Call 5%
Note: Please don’t get in the habit of open-limping KK+. It is only good if the table is notorious for punishing limpers.
77-QQ: Raise 3x 100%
22-66 Raise 3x 25% Fold 60% Call 15%
Note: Only limp with small pairs when the table is passive and you will be able to see a flop cheaply
AQs-AKs Raise 3x 100%
AQo-AKo Raise 3x 100%
AJo/ATs- Raise 3x 50% Fold 50%
ATo- Fold 100%
QKs-Raise 3x 50% Fold 50%
QKo/KJs- Fold
78s-JQs- Raise 3x 15% Fold 85%

Middle Position (UTG+2 MP1) (The middle 2 seats)
You should be slightly looser in the later middle positions. The main difference between your ranges is that you have to deal with limpers in EP, which will affect your action.

0 Limpers
22-AA Raise 3x 100%
AT-AK Raise 3x 100%
A9o A8s-A9s Raise 3x 25% Fold 75%
KTs-KQs, KQo Raise 3x 100%
KTo-KJo, QJo Raise 3x 50% Fold 50%
QTs-QJs Raise 3x 75% Fold 25%
78s-TJs Raise 3x 25% Fold 75%

W/ Limpers
88-AA Raise 3+1x 100%
22-77 Raise 3+1x 20% Call 80%
AJs-AK Raise 3+1x 100%
AJo QKs- Raise 3+1x 60% Fold 40%

Late Position (MP2 (referred to as the HiJack HJ) CO BTN)
You should obviously play the loosest in LP. Be careful about punishing too many limpers (3 or more) without a very good hand. Also be careful about stealing too much on the BTN IF the blinds are adjusting well.

22-AA Raise 100%
AT-AK Raise 100%
A9o A8s-A9s Raise 3x 75% Fold 25%
KTs-KQs, KQo Raise 3x 100%
KTo-KJo, QJo Raise 3x 80% Fold 20%
QTs-QJs Raise 3x 100%
78s-TJs Raise 3x 80% Fold 20%

W/ Limpers
88-AA Raise 4-5x 100%
22-77 Raise 4-5x 60% Call 40%
AJs-AK Raise 4-5x 100%
AJo QKs- Raise 4-5x 75% Fold 25%

These ranges can be wider or tighter given reads.
Limping behind pairs and Suited Connectors in late position on soft tables where limpers are not being punished is also very profitable if the table is still deepstacked.
You can raise a wider range once there are Antes in play or in bubble situations where the table is playing overly tight.
In general these ranges are ideal for beginners.

b) Your Opponent’s Style

As stated before, the average $4/180 player is very bad.
I’d go so far that 50% of the players are dead money, 30-40% have some clue what they are doing and 10-20% play decent to good poker.
Based on the stats of your HUD and observation you can make assumptions about villains play:

Loose passive players:

These are the majority of the players you will have on your table throughout the whole tournament. They are not aggressive preflop and they love to limp and call raises from any position. Since they see so many flops with marginal holdings they will miss the flop quite often and fold to further aggression from you.
Versus these villains it’s important that you value bet, value bet, value bet. Don’t try to play tricky (check/raise or traps) since they like to call and not to bet with marginal hands.
You don’t need to double barrel your draws versus them (unless the draws are very strong and you are the favourite) since they call you down way too often. On the other side they don’t bet their hands when they hit or bet not enough which means that you don’t need to fear to be blown of the draw by them. If you hit your draw you can count on getting payed (ie you have implied odds).
If they somehow get to the later stages and attack your blinds you can easily fold. Most of them don’t understand the concept of blind stealing and are attacking your blinds with a strong hand.
I would not recommend attacking the blind of a calling station unless you have reads that he check/folds to your continuation bet. It’s difficult to play versus these players when you miss.
Once they hit a part of the flop they usually don’t fold.
They usually run 40/3 or 55/7, keep looking for them.

Tight passive players: (nits)

Another group are tight passive players. Be careful to not fall into playing this style when trying to play Tight/Aggressive.
They mostly play strong hands and tend to play these passive if they are unsure. You can see them limp AJs in late position and even JJ from MP sometimes.
Their postflop play is often bet/fold or check/fold versus aggression when they miss.
They usually run 7/3 9/5, etc
Whenever you have the chance to attack a nits blind in the later stages (regardless of Antes or not) you should consider raising with a wider range than usual.
On the other side you need a really strong hand to defend your blinds versus a nit.

Loose aggressive players: (LAGs)

These are the minority in the field.
These players don’t need a good hand or position to raise or reraise and love to play big pots and apply pressure on you.
They normally run 22/25 40/31, etc.
This style is the most difficult to play, which means these villains will make the biggest mistakes when they make a move which backfires. There are good LAGs who know when to shut down and bad LAGs who will continue bluffing and reraising when it’s obvious that they are beat.
Try to play your very strong hands (nuts) slow versus the 2nd kind but don’t play it as your general line. Most of the time you should be aggressive with your strong hands to build a pot.
Since LAGs are cabable of reraising you whenever it’s their turn make your decision before you make the bet, if you have strong hand don’t bet and then fold because he might have a flush or two pair. Top pair top kicker is very often the best hand versus them.

Tight aggressive players: (TAGs)

Another big group of players play this style.
Like the nits they only play a limited range of hands from different positions, for example AQ+ 99+ from UTG at blindlevel 10/20. The difference whatsoever is that they usually raise their hands and when there was a raise in front of them tend to reraise instead of calling or folding.
Most good players choose this style for the early game in a tournament when the pot compared to the stacks is still small and it’s not necessary to raise from middle position with A8s to steal the blinds.
Since their hand selection is limited to strong hands you need a better hand to play versus them, especially when you are out of position (look up the gap concept for more info).
These are the preferred villains you want to setmine against since they usually have a strong hand that either does not need to improve on the flop or improves very often to a strong hand when hitting one of the hole cards (for example AK).

c) Playing your Stack Size
Your stack size in tournaments dictates how you have to play. Knowing how to play a short-stack/mid-stack/big-stack is the main component that separates a good tournament player from a good cash game player. Tournaments are all about survival and playing your stack size well will keep you alive. I will use Big Blinds (BBs) to describe your stack size so for example at 50/100 12 BBs is 1200 tournament chips.

14 BBs or Less
Your only move with this stack is to go all in preflop, unless you have a big pair, and a table that is not aware that raising 2.5x-3x with this stack size is almost never a steal (most $4/180 tables even the Final Tables are not aware of this). If you know that people ARE aware that raising small = big pair and you have a good feel of game dynamics/flow, you can 2.5x as a steal rarely, but that is a little advanced and I don’t recommend it to the beginner.

So basically in EP/MP if you are the first one in the pot you should just open shove 55+ AT+. If there are any raisers you have to tighten up your range significantly because you don’t have enough chips to make them fold to your all in (they are priced in especially with antes). In LP if it is folded to you, this is where you can shove the widest. Any pair, suited connector 78+, A2+, is good enough to shove on the BTN. If it is folded to you on the SB, you should almost shove any two cards besides obvious folds like 23o, 74o, etc.
Look up “pushbotting” for more information.

15 BB – 22 BB
With this stack size, you are limited to restealing, and raising for value. You should almost never raise/fold preflop unless there are very specific circumstances (3 complete nits to your left and you have a nitty image as well).
There are some exceptions of course, like when you are stealing blinds with a tight image 19BBs from the Button versus 2 nits. In general it’s often better to shove a hand like A3s with 15-18BBs from the Button if you consider raise/folding versus aggressive players.

23 BB – 30 BB
You have a little more leverage with this size, you can afford to raise/fold in an attempt to steal the blinds. 3betting with this stack should only be done as Go n GO because otherwise it creates awkward spots post.
3bet/folding should be avoided with this stack since you are priced in to call a shove most of the time.

d) How to play each stage of the tournament

10/20 and 15/30

The starting stack is 1500 Chips, which means we start with 75BB (Big Blinds).
In the first two blind levels you should take some time to find out how the people on your table are playing.
There is no general advice on how to play the early levels, most good regs tend to play TAG early but there is value in playing suited connectors and every pair from late position for <5% of your stack. The more players are in the pot the better since it is increasing our implied odds when we make a strong hand. These early stages are the only ones where over-limping is considered to be ok.
You should not make the mistake in playing to many hands that look good, for example KTo/A7o. Even hands like AT and KJ are marginal when there are already a bunch of limpers in the pot, and since these hands don’t play well multi-way, it may be better just to fold them. If you consider playing them mostly play them for two pair or better value. A lot of villains will play these hands for >10% of their stack, so keep this in mind when you face two raises on QJT and you have pocket Aces + you read villains as weak and passive player. Your hand is often 2nd best.
Whenever you have a strong starting hand you should raise or reraise to build a bigger pot and there is no shame in going all-in in the first hand of a tournament with AK or JJ in this field if you don’t have reads on the players. You will get reraised and called by a wide range of hands. In fact, many good regulars have learned that over-shoving QQ+ over a raise and callers is profitable because of how light people will call you.

After the first two blind levels we should have some idea how the players on your table are playing and should aim for 2000 chips in average.

25/50 and 50/100

The Average stack at the beginning of the 3rd blind level will be about 2000-2500 chips, which means most of the time we will be playing 40BB effective versus one or multiple villains.
Small pairs and suited connectors loose their value (implied odds) and should not be played versus raises unless you are in position with 40 BB+ Effective Stacks. The rule of thumb for a good setmine is that you require 15:1 odds (means if you can call a raise of 300 when effective stacks are 15*300 = 4500 chips).
In terms of hand selection (tight or loose) I tend to let my stack decide on how I am going to play the 25/50 level. If I blinded down to 20-25BB I will open up whenever I have the chance to and try to steal uncontested pots or 3bet shove versus BTN raises with a wider range.
Most of the time the villains will fold and you increase your stack by 15-30% without a showdown. You obviously should make these moves versus late position raises and over limpers who play loose or weak/tight. Versus tight/aggressive players a fold is mostly the better solution.

At 50/100 over half of the field will be gone which means the average stack is around 3000 Chips or 30BB. Therefore you can reduce your opening size to 2.5BBs to make blind stealing and cbetting effective without committing to the hand. You get the same folds regardless wether you make it 250 or 300.
There will be a lot of shortstacks < 1500 on the table who mostly play very tight and wait for the right hand to double up but most of the stacks will be > 3k. Find out who the luckboxes (loose players who got lucky) are and who is a good player.
I tend to play this level very aggressive given reads and look for +EV spots whenever I get the chance.
Reads start to get important: Who is a reg? Who plays passive? Who tries to steal blinds?
Try to put everyone on the table on a range for every position. Would Villain A raise ATs from UTG or would he fold or even limp with it? Villain B is raising the nits blind the 3rd time in a row, I have 20BB and if I shove I can win 4-5BB very often without a showdown.
Try to make your decision when the hand starts. If the aggressive player is raising as expected your hand is not important here. Even aggressive players will not call a 20BB shove very often. After all it’s 66% of the average stack in the tournament at this point.
Again, there is no shame in running into a good hand from time to time, but imho you can’t wait for AA with 20BB or less when the blinds go up every 15minutes.
Of course when a passive player raises we don’t overplay a hand like A8, this is an easy fold.

In the end of 50/100 we should aim for an average stack of 3000-3500.

75/150 and 100/200

I tend to play 75/150 like 50/100 and try to keep ~30BB in average

100/200 is imo one of the most important levels, there will be about 50 players left at this point.
Most “donks” will be gone at this point and the majority of the players play tight since it’s the last level without antes and a lot of player will only open up their ranges with antes only.
There is 300 Chips in the middle every hand and it’s important to fight for these chips. Reads really start go get important here. Who is an easy target for a blind steal? Who should I reraise or isolate with what range? How does he react versus raises/reraises?
Again, there is no general rule on how to play at this stage but I tend to open up considerably again and look for spots that are promising. A hand like KTs at 100/200 versus a BTN raise is often a good spot to shove with fold Equity (effective stacks should be > 3k. better 4k) and there are more examples like that every day in the SSMTT forum. Of course it depends on Buttons style. If he is not attacking your blind and only playing/value raising a strong hand KTs is a fold.
Since the average stack sizes will go down to 25BB there is no more room for postflop play most of the time. Suited connectors and small pairs should be folded or reshoved vs late position raises by aggressive players. Don’t call any raise and this point, either fold or 3bet shove it.
There may be spots when you and villain are both pretty deep in chips at this point that you may be able to setmine, but in general try not to play hands like 22/KJs/A6s versus raises, especially OOP.

In the end of 100/200 we should aim for 6000 chips in average

Playing with Antes

In No Limit Holdem once there are Antes in play the game gets more aggressive.
Blind stealing is mandatory. If you don’t do it at all you rely on getting good cards. Most of the time you will not get a good hand and you therefore slowly blind down and losing chips if you keep folding and folding. When you then get a great hand and even if you double up with it ~65% of the time you will be at the same chipstack you have been 15minutes ago because the blinds have been going up and you payed 2-3 rounds of Blinds&Antes.
A lot of players will be pushbotting (look up pushbotting chars) at the Ante levels having <20BBs or when effective stacks are <20BB. Adjust your calling range accordingly and use pokerstove to see how your hand does versus villains shoving range.

125/250/25 (about 40-50 players left)
As written above we should have at least 20-25BB once this level starts.
This has 2 main reasons:
1) with 20BB you have a good reshoving stack versus blind steals, its basically the same concept like in the levels before but more villains will try to steal your blinds more often and if you let them run you over you will slowly blind down
2) with 20BB we are still deep enough to raise a hand and fold if someone goes all-in. Most of the time you should not fold with a 20BB stack when making a valueraise, but there are times when you need to raise/fold. For example when a very tight player reraises your early position raise and you know that he only does that with a very strong hand. AJo is not the kind of hand you want to get your stack in at this point.

There will be 600 chips in the middle every hand. Fight for it and it’s no shame in busting with an aggressive move.

Aim for 8000 chips in average after the end of this level

150/300/30 is the same like 125/250/25

Average stack ~9k

200/400/50 and 400/600/50 (bubble play/final three tables)

These are very important levels of 180s, nearly as important as the final table. Here you decide if you will make a good run or if you will just mincash, get 8th or bust shortly before the bubble.
The play will be very tight most of the time, which means we should go for blindstealing whenever we get the chance to. I tend to raise a wider range of hands from any position here when I have a healthy stack. There are times when it’s no good idea, for example versus a committed BB, a reg knowing about this or an aggressive table with a lot 3betting or check/shoving versus cbets. But in general it’s a good idea to open up your range.

“The bubble”

Every poker player knows the feeling of bubbling and being the only one not cashing. No one likes it.
What does that mean?
This is the time when you have “abuse the bubble”. Raise whenever there is a spot (tight BB, shortys on the table who have already folded and the players yet to act are scared to bust because of the shortys) or reshove versus medium sized stacks, most of the time they will fold because of the shortstacks. Sometimes they call, but that’s ok. At this time we should have a healthy stack and can take a hit.
This does not mean that we completely ignore reads and reraise in spots where it’s obvious that we don’t have fold Equity and therefore make a -EV play or villains opening range is just to strong to make moves.

We should look for a 15k+ stack when going into the bubble, try not to play big pots with aggressive bigstacks unless you have a strong hand or a good read that he will fold frequently to your aggression.

After the bubble we should aim for 30-40BB in average for the final two tables.

Final two tables

After the bubble burst shortstacks will try to chip up again which means their opening or shoving ranges are wider than before. Because of the payout structure there is no difference in place 10 – 18. Open up your calling range versus shortstacked UTG/UTG+1, BTN and CO shoves versus aggressive shortstacked players when you are in the Blinds and shove wide from BTN/SB if BB appears to be weak/tight.
In general there is no need in opening up your range on an 8-9handed table when you have a healthy 30BB stack on the final two tables. Since we have been abusing the bubble we don’t have a tight image and therefore would be seen as table bully which we don’t want. We want a tight image to steal pots when it gets to shorthanded play again.
I tend to play ABC poker here and preserve the 30BB stack in average. When there is a good opportunity to double up you still should be looking for getting your chips in preflop or postflop.
Since at this level stack preservation is more important than chip accumulation you can make raise/folds with big hands like AQ versus other bigstacks when you open from early position. Effective stacks are mostly around 30BB between bigger stacks at this point and therefore they are not 3bet/folding very often. AQ versus most 3bet ranges at this stage has under 40% Equity in 4.40/180s. Most villains don’t 3bet light, especially versus UTG opens.
When the table gets shortstacked again we should still be around 25-30BB. There will be around 12 – 13 players left and the final table bubble is place 10.
We should have a tightish image at this point since playing ABC poker on the fullring table. Therefore we should look for opportunities to chip up versus aggressive players again. Raise tight players blind from most positions, open up your range a bit. Reshove wide ranges ( ~20%) versus players who are frequently stealing blinds if you fall below 17-19BBs

In average you can preserve your 30BB stack for the final table which will most of the time be an average stack without getting a lot of good cards. If you don’t have this stack in average you are playing too passive on the shorthanded tables and as stated before you need chips on the final table. We don’t want to place 7th or something because of the topheavy structure.

The final table

If you made it this far you should have reads on half of the players at your table and should not know how the other half of the table plays. Also look up the bigger stats on OPR and make notes if you find the time to.
Looking at the payout structure we aim for place 1-3 and not try to move up the money letter by folding or raise/folding versus aggressive players. But as always in poker there are exceptions. Raise/fold or not calling an all-in with AK/TT in certain situations on a final table can be superior than getting the chips in. (look up ICM-folds)
I tend to play to first 2 orbits TAG/ABC and find out how the opponents are playing. Since we have an average stack we can wait for some spots. From my experience 2-3 players will bust in the first three orbits. Tight is definitely right when the FT is 7-9 handed and you have an average stack.
Once it gets to 6handed play stacksizes and player tendencies start to get more and more important. Your image should be tight at this point and most of the time we are not the chipleader unless we had a good run of cards. Since we play for a top3 place it is mandatory to get aggressive.
Our aggression is limited by our stacksize. (We can make more pressure being the chipleader) We have to look for spots that are promising, for example shoving a wide range with 10BB and raise/folding a lot with a bigger stack to steal blinds. Since we have a tight image we will win the blinds and antes quite often and the blinds will proceed with caution. When called we will mostly be called by the blinds and have position on them and decide whether to cbet or to check. Most of the time we take it down with a cbet, therefore decide if you want to take down a small pot or see another card on a non dangerous flop to let villain catch up and get 2 streets of value from a 2nd best hand. Most of the time the cbet is the best way tho.
Don’t try 3bet/folds, most of the time you are priced in to call the opponents 4bet/shove.

General strategy/advice

As you can see it is important to make your decisions based on reads. I often see players asking for advice without having reads when it’s obvious that they should have reads. (shorthanded play on a final table for example)
Readless decisions are the hardest in poker and therefore should mostly be avoided if possible, especially in high variance situations.
Don’t always trust your HUD, two villains playing 17/16 can have different ranges for opening and calling. Extremely small sample sizes are also tricky to handle.

Be aware of your image & switching gears: (if you play against opponents who are good enough to care about it)
Your general line should be TAG versus most villains. Sometimes however, like during the bubble or final table bubble you have to open up a bit and play LAG and abuse your tight image to steal pots. After stealing some pots you should consider folding a hand like A2o on the BTN when it folds to you since your villains will expect you to raise just like in the previous orbits/hands. This is called switching gears in poker. Basically don’t try to be easy to read in certain situations.
If you play versus opponents who don’t care about your image because they play 12+ tables without a HUD and therefore are readless most of the time (or are just bad at poker) you don’t have to adjust. Keep raising until they reraise you which is most of the time a better hand than A2o or KTs.

Situation: Bubble – stealing with a very wide range, getting shoved on by LAG

BB: t12887 M = 10.74
UTG: t24290 M = 20.24
MP: t29791 M = 24.83
Hero (CO): t20130 M = 16.77
BTN: t32112 M = 26.76
SB: t12910 M = 10.76

Pre Flop: (t1200) Hero is CO with KQ
2 folds, Hero raises to t1520, 1 fold, SB raises to t12860 all in

What to do and why?

Our range for opening here depends on the players yet to act and our image.
I have been opening up since the table got shorthanded, my overall ATS (attendance to steal – amount of opening from CO/BTN/SB) has been ~25% of hands.
BTN and BB have been randoms and i don’t have special reads on them. SB is a good reg who plays a TAG/LAG mix and knows hero.
They all have > 20BB, therefore they are not desperate yet and we don’t need to fear getting 3betted or flatted that often. BTN and BB are not deep enough to 3bet/fold and they can’t flat with a very wide range without a good postflop plan. From my experience they will not call very often at this stage and 3bet/shove with a very strong range which makes stealing versus them very profitable.
Our range for opening here should prolly be 76s+ T8s+ 98o+ J9o+ 22+ A2s+ A8o+ or close to it. You can add more offsuit Aces if you like but i don’t recommend opening K4o or something since it plays farely poorly postflop in case you get flatted some % of the time.
Another aspect for opening is that BB is sitting out.

Since SB knows this he is going to resteal frequently versus our opens with a wider range than usual. He has 13% 3bet but he will be wider here like 16-19% of hands, may even be way wider.
KQs flips versus this range, in terms of cEV it would therefore be an easy call with the money in the pot. It would also be a good metagame call since hero and villain will play alot of pots in future and if hero calls the shove with a marginal hand like KQs at this stage it will tell villain that he does not have a lot of fold equity for future hands and therefore heros steals will succeed more often.

But as always in poker there are two sides.
When making this call we invest a large amout of our stack in a situation where we are flipping versus his range. If we call and lose we lose a lot of our fold Equity and the ability to make steals/resteals.
Most of our profit comes from attacking weak players blinds and chipping up slowly rather than looking for flips for large parts of our range.

As a conclusion i took the low variance route by folding, preserved my chipstack and still managed to chip up to 27k just by doing steals and resteals in the next orbit without having a better hand than A8o.
I don’t think calling is a bad here with the reads tho.

Situation: close to bubble as shortstack on an aggressive table, readless (prolly tight villain)

Hero (BTN): t8093 M = 6.23
SB: t11901 M = 9.15
BB: t27637 M = 21.26
UTG: t27387 M = 21.07
UTG+1: t11422 M = 8.79
MP1: t10635 M = 8.18
MP2: t5906 M = 4.54
CO: t4571 M = 3.52

Pre Flop: (t1300) Hero is BTN with QA
2 folds, MP1 raises to t1550, 2 folds, Hero raises to t8043 all in

What do to and why?
The situation on the table is that we are one of the shorter stacks and the play is very aggressive. Most of the players are regs who play aggressive and there are almost no spots to steal the blinds in uncontested pots.
Furtheremore our stack is too small to resteal light since hero missed spots in the previous blind levels and bleeded down in Chips.
Hero therefore has a tight image on the table and a good stack to openshove in uncontested pots with a relatively wide range.
Hero might also be seen as very tight because of his stats/previous rounds and have a lot of FE.

In this situation hero faces a MP1 raise from a player who has not played a hand in a 12 hand sample. His HUD-stats are 0/0/0 over 12 hands. But given the aggressive table this does not automatically mean that he is a nit.
His MP1 opening range is prolly a bit tighter because of his stack and the aggressive table than usual tho. I guessed it as AT+ KJs+ KQo and alot of pairs. Maybe he folds 22-66, maybe he opens it. He def opens 77+.
Putting this into pokerstove AQo has about 48% Equity versus this range.
Even if he calls with 100% of his range hero would make a profitable shove here.
In reality most villains will have a raise/fold range here, especially since hero was very tight as well the last 2 orbits in villains point of view.
I would prolly shove AJs/AJo/77 as well and flip a coin with a hand like KQs and ATs which is a little marginal lacking some FE and with the tightish impression MP1 made so far.

As a result hero shoved and MP1 called with JJ. Hero lost the flip and busted shortly before the bubble.
This does not mean that the shove was bad since a) villain will fold some hands of his opening range versus a tight player and hero will increase a 8k stack by >30% and gain more reshove FE on a aggressive table and b) hero will not find better spots on this aggressive table to chip up since there are only few uncontested pots in late position for hero to shove any two cards.
Bubbling is not a big deal here since we aim for making place 1-3 anyway.

Situation: final table 3handed – top pair on drawy board versus good villain as shortest stack

BB: t156249 M = 54.82
BTN: t60512 M = 21.23
Hero (SB): t53239 M = 18.68

Pre Flop: (t2850) Hero is SB with K2
1 fold, Hero raises to t4020, BB calls t2420

Flop: (t8490) TQK (2 players)
Hero bets t5225, BB raises to t152079 all in, Hero vomits

What to do and why?

The situation on the table is that there is one Chipleader and two smaller stacks who still have > 30BB. Hero therefore can still be raising wide BvB and cbet most boards without committing himself to the hand. Villain knows that and will defend his blind wider than usual, especially since he is the big CL and can apply pressure on hero. Villain is a competent player but no 4.40 reg. He usually plays larger MTTs, has an average Buyin of 20$ and is a winning player.

Raising with K2o here is basically a steal, if villain 3bets hero has to fold or 4betshove.
Villain was mostly playing aggressive but also mixing it up. His range for flatting could basically be ATC here.
Opening K2o is still profitable since it has 50.5% versus a random hand + villain folds a good amount to the raise and a good amount versus a cbet.

Hero hits TPNK on a drawy board OOP versus an aggressive & good villain who knows how to use his chips.
Hero could check or bet and has to realise that when he cbets the hand is played differently as when he checks.
When checking this kind of board as OR to an aggressive player he is going to bet very often with basically anything to apply pressure. If the board would be less coordinated hero could just call this bet and represent a larger range of 2nd pairs, unimproved pocket pairs or even Ace high. With check/raising heros range folds out villains air and 2nd best hands and hero is committed to call a shove versus a range that has him dominated mostly.
Because of the drawy board hero should always try to check/raise this board when deciding to check in the first place. Villain can then 3betshove a wide range of draws/worse pairs/better Kings who hero will chop against on this board very often which means that the K will more often be good than on a K84 rainbow board.

Another possible line is cbetting this board and going from there.
As stated above we are still deep enough to cbet this board with air and fold to further action. It would hurt our stack a bit losing ~5BBs but in general it’s a profitable line with these stacks.
Villain knows that a cbet on this board does not have to be a strong hand like top pair or pair + OESD and can easily be an underpair/Ace high/76s or other hands without showdown value.
He can therefore assume that hero will cbet/fold frequently on this board and will also have a hard time calling with a type of hand that hero has, top pair no kicker.
His range for shoving over the 3bet can therefore be Kx/flushdraws/Qx/Jx which has a lot of Equity versus heros cbetting range.
His sizing also indicates that he is not looking for a call here. Most Villains will play the top of their range slow in position and not overshove the flop with it.

As a result hero called the shove assuming that top pair beats villains range enough to call besides the ICM-reasons to fold and go for 2nd.
Villain showed KJo for top pair and OESD. He concealed the strength of his range by shoving and made it look like a draw and levelled hero into calling with a dominated hand. Furthermore he protected his hand from the flushdraw and even if hero had a strong hand like KT or QT he would have a lot of outs.
Hero busted in 3rd

Last edited by furo; 05-07-2010 at 08:18 AM.
05-07-2010 , 08:15 AM
in case i want to add more

"Updated PushBot Spreadsheet by JITxpert"

Last edited by dereds; 07-09-2010 at 07:38 AM.
05-07-2010 , 08:20 AM
Wow, looks like a great post furo. Thanks for taking the time to write it all up.

Gonna start reading now
05-07-2010 , 08:27 AM
05-07-2010 , 08:44 AM
great work furo!!!
05-07-2010 , 08:47 AM
In before tldr;

Look forward to reading later, looks like another for the sticky
05-07-2010 , 08:57 AM
Thanks dude,

Every time I venture into 4/180's I keep looking for FURO
05-07-2010 , 09:06 AM
NJ again Furo. The guide is golden as far as I'm concerned. Extremely comprehensive.
05-07-2010 , 09:11 AM
Yep, just had a read.

This guide is awesome - even better than the one Shaun Deeb wrote imo, which is saying something.

Thanks again to all who contributed.
05-07-2010 , 09:16 AM
only skimmed so far, but it looks good... cept.......

KK-AA: Raise 3x 95% Call 5%

77-QQ: Raise 3x 100%

lol que?
05-07-2010 , 09:56 AM
hellofapost furo!
05-07-2010 , 10:19 AM
Great post
05-07-2010 , 10:37 AM
Wow this post is pretty amazing. Good job again Furo.
05-07-2010 , 12:04 PM
Not reading this now but I'm sure it is phenomenal and all beginning/average 180 players should print it off and read it on the can ASAP. The authors are excellent posters and great players afaik.
05-07-2010 , 12:23 PM
Good work Furo. Sorry I couldn't contribute more because of too much school, social life, and of course teh pokers.

Originally Posted by spoonfox
only skimmed so far, but it looks good... cept.......

KK-AA: Raise 3x 95% Call 5%

77-QQ: Raise 3x 100%

lol que?
I wrote this part its kind of a generic breakdown to help beginners with hand selection and is obviously meant to be changed based on the situation.

For the KK+, read the note right after it

Note: Please don’t get in the habit of open-limping KK+. It is only good if the table is notorious for punishing limpers
As for the 77-QQ, I would actually change it to TT-QQ raise 100%, 77-99 raise 80% call 15% fold 5%.
05-07-2010 , 01:07 PM
great guide . just what i need. thanks
05-07-2010 , 01:10 PM
great job mate, really good post which i know you put tonnes of time and effort into. all of you micro grinders should really appreciate the work that furo has done
05-07-2010 , 01:30 PM
Sweet post....for a nit
05-07-2010 , 02:24 PM
Great work furo!

Wow, the finished product is polished, it reads great! Great info all around for not only 180s, but for general low stakes MTT play. Thanks again for pulling this together.
05-07-2010 , 02:28 PM
Nice work guys, I'll def read this some time later after work.

Thanks for spending your free time to do this
05-07-2010 , 05:15 PM
This looks like a great spot for my first ever post.

Thank Furo this is beyond excellent. Can't wait to get home and hit the tables with you handy guide open the whole time.
05-07-2010 , 08:40 PM
Is all the strategy posted here also applicable for the 180 man turbos?
05-07-2010 , 09:09 PM
you really should have waited to make this your 10k poast.
05-07-2010 , 09:22 PM
very nice thx!!
05-07-2010 , 10:27 PM
I think this was an excellent post Furo ! Great strategy for beating the 4.40's and low stakes MTT's.