Donkley Poker Tournament--A mega? part II

I was extolling the virtues of amassing big chip stacks to go the final table of a tournament with to lessen your disadvantage when playing 8 more skilled players. Or the Darvin Moon formula. You can do that a couple of ways, by taking more risks than your opponents and letting chance be more of a factor (thus lessening your disadvantage because there is less opportunity for you to be outplayed), or by getting big hands and getting them to hold (Darvin Moon did both).

You can control one of those strategies and the other is up to the fate of the cards that are about to be pitched. The same is true but in the reverse for a mega. If you are a skilled player (with enough chips that blinds aren't a factor) why agree to take coin-flips and get entrenched in hands with lesser players when you don't have to win all the chips? Your poker strategy should exploit your advantage not minimize it.

Chris Ferguson won the World Series of Poker Main Event over TJ Cloutier in heads up action. TJ, was, and is one of the biggest money winners in tournament poker. At that time Chris Ferguson was relatively new to the game, disguising his geeky persona under a Jesus beard, and Ferguson knew enough to know he was out classed. Jesus made it a strategy to get the chips in and to give TJ less a chance to outplay him.

He can even support the efficacy of this "leaving it to randomness" strategy with raw numbers as he did to Phil Gordon (who related this story on ESPN's poker podcast). TJ wanted to play as many hands as possible and extend the match and give Jesus opportunity to hang himself but Jesus didn't let that happen.

This is even more true in a mega, where a good player will have opportunity to exploit a lot of bad players and do enough to make the money. The inexperienced players will blow up on the bubble and make bad decisions that almost mandate a coast to the money type strategy.

I've basically been comparing the Donkley to a mega, because it kind of is. In the Donkley a chop is never far away. When the tournament is full and the final table congregates the blinds and antes are usually so high it is in the final 10's best interests to chop it up, as they did on Veterans Day where each player walked away with 10x his buy-in.

On days where the tournament isn't full, the chop may take until there are 7 or 5 players left. Usually, it isn't the number of players it's the escalating blinds (the 10k 20k level) that determines the when the chop is in play.

However, despite some maneuvering to negotiate for a bigger piece of the chop I advocate a mega satellite strategy for the Donkley. There will be plenty of players making mistakes that you don’t have to push your chips to the middle on a coin flip. You will find plenty of opportunities to outplay somebody after a flop and patience is king. Protect your chips, and survive until the chop.


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