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Chipping Up Through Weak Competition

by Tony Dunst |  Published: Sep 04, 2009


Game PStars $109NLH

One of the best ways to improve your tournament performances is to practice “chipping up” (building your chip stack) early on in a tournament. With deep stacks and weak players, the early part of a tournament will often provide you the best chance to pick up some dead money from the fish, and set yourself up for a run at the final table. In this column, I’m going to review a key hand that I played in a recent online multitable tournament that helped me chip up and become the tournament chip leader early on.

The hallmark of a bad player is his inability to control his emotions and go on tilt (play poorly due to frustration). Whenever you observe someone on tilt, it behooves you to take advantage of his poor play and try to take some of his chips before he donates them to the rest of the table. Here, my opponent had just suffered a bad beat for a pretty sizeable pot in the previous hand, and had been complaining about how unlucky he was. From the nature of his chat, it was pretty clear that he was on tilt.

Getting to the action, a straightforward opponent raised to 90 from early position, and the player on tilt instantly called the raise. The action was then folded to me in the cutoff with the ADiamond Suit KDiamond Suit. As I discuss during my strategy video, this is often a spot where I flat-call with A-K early in a tournament, just because I don’t expect people to play a big pot with me unless I’m beat. However, in this spot, we have a different dynamic; we have a frustrated player who’s looking to gamble, and a hand that plays very well post-flop. Whereas tighter players might fold some worse hands to a reraise, my A-K might even dominate some of the hands with which he’s looking to put all of his money in.

So, I reraised it to 330.

Both of the blinds folded, and the original raiser called, as did our tilting opponent.

The flop came 6Diamond Suit 4Diamond Suit 3Diamond Suit, giving us a monster — the ace-high flush.

The original raiser checked, our friend on tilt checked, and I bet 625 into a pot of 1,035.

I think this is a spot where a lot of players would check in my position. We essentially flopped the nuts, and it’s unlikely that anyone is going to outdraw us. Lots of people love to slow-play here and hope to trap someone on a later street. Given the circumstances, though, I think this is wrong. I’ve got an unstable opponent in the pot, and it’s already a pretty big pot. I’d much rather start pumping money into the pot now, and let him make a very big mistake with a hand like the AHeart Suit 6Spade Suit, 6Club Suit 5Club Suit, or even just the naked QDiamond Suit or JDiamond Suit.

So, after I bet 625, the original raiser folded, and our friend on tilt jammed all in. I called without hesitation, and my hand held up against his 9Diamond Suit 7Diamond Suit.
Onlinehand Bond18
As it turned out, he also flopped a flush and got pretty unlucky to run into a hand as strong as mine, but consider what happened here: He called a reraise from out of position with the 9Diamond Suit 7Diamond Suit! Had we just flat-called preflop, we wouldn’t have gotten him to commit nearly as much money to this pot, and he might have been able to get away from his hand had a fourth diamond come on the turn or river. By pumping the pot early and taking advantage of his subpar play, we guaranteed that we’d stack him.

The next time that you’re at a tournament table with a few weak or frustrated opponents, see if you can work your way into pots with them. Use their frustration against them, and they’ll be donating their stacks to you in no time. Spade Suit

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