Monday, December 05, 2005


The Second Biggest Game In The House

I was having a flick through Fox on the flight back and something he said rang a bell. Simply, "one should rarely play in the second biggest game in the house". Paraphrasing slightly, the second biggest game tends to be full of strong players, but while the best players in the biggest game are the best around, it may also contain "some very weak players ... who are simply so rich that they don't care what game they're playing in ... Such players may play in the highest game for reasons of prestige, so that they can associate with nationally famous personalities or players, or because they know so little about the game that they think they can win".

Can you see where I'm going with this ? I don't think it's a good idea to play tournaments around the $1000-$3000 mark, whether in Europe or the US, unless it's some kind of main event that will attract the players described above, and is likely to contain many online qualifiers (something that even Fox could not have foreseen).

It's something that I've noticed before in the States, and I did again in the Caribbean, that once you hit a certain level of buyin (it used to be $500 but it may now be $1000) the fields toughen up considerably. It's not that you have more good players, or that the good players are better. It's that there are many fewer bad players filling out the field. I know Neil plays a lot of these and he says they aren't so bad, but I'm not convinced. In any game of poker, you don't make most of your money by outplaying good players. You make most of your money through the mistakes of bad players. This is a cash game mindset, but I think it applies to tournaments too.

So, what I want to do is play within my bankroll for now, and hopefully build it up to a point where I can play $500 tournaments in the US (and £300 / £100 rebuy here if I wish) regularly and without feeling like I'm "punting". How much this is depends on how many runners the tournaments in question have, how big my edge is and how much risk of ruin I'm prepared to accept. All of which cloud the issue, but I will decide on a number. Until I reach that target I will be playing strictly within my roll. Once I exceed it (could take 3 months, could take 3 years) I can gamble any extra off the top by buying in directly to high-prestige main events that will attract a lot of online qualifiers. I'm fairly sure that is the best way to have the best of both worlds.

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