Tuesday, November 15, 2005


A Man Without A Plan

In the annals of great explosion films, it is hard to whack "Raiders Of The Lost Ark". I'm (almost) sure it was that film in which someone asked Harrison Ford "what are we going to do now ?". "I don't know," he replied, "I'm making this up as I go along".

As I mentioned below I was flipping through Matt Matros' blog and something he said only sunk in today. He said that you can't have a plan for a single tournament. Not even a tournament that lasts two weeks (it's madness I tell you). How many people who qualify will sit up half the night thinking "Let's see. I'll play fairly conservatively on the first day, and double up by the close. Then when the blinds become high I'll open up and start to steal ..." blah de blah all the way through to "and when my aggressive heads up strategy wins out I'll perform the following Ian Wright style choreographed spontaneous celebration !". OK. I could construct an equally elaborate plan to shag Madonna, it doesn't mean I can do it.

Flippancy aside, setting yourself targets for various stages of any tournament is an unnecessary distraction. Suppose you do plan to double up by a certain point. Except that you actually double up twice in half the time. What do you do, ease off because you're "ahead of schedule" ? Maybe you lose a big pot early on. Do you push extra hard to get "back on track" ? Of course not. Doing either of those, at any stage, will cost you money, compared to making the right decisions for your stack and position, right here, right now.

You can't plan how to play a tournament like that because you don't know what cards you're going to be dealt. You don't know who's going to be on your table. You don't know how everything is going to change from moment to moment. I don't know how I'm going to play until I see how the rest of them are playing. All you can do, as Greg Raymer said, is play one hand at a time, one decision at a time. Make the best decisions you can and see what happens. All this "planning" is yet another example of people making tournaments complicated for themselves, when they're really not.

So when some guy comes at you with a scimitar, what are you going to do, stage an elaborate sword fight that you've been practising for three weeks ? Or just shoot him ?

Brilliantly put. I've always suspected that this talk of 'I aim to be up to x thousand by the first break' was total bullshit.

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