First off, poker players tend not to be the most punctual sort. Late registration is common in tournaments everywhere in the poker world, and the WSOP is no different. Particularly as WSOP brass continues to increase the starting stack sizes, players feel less and less pressure to show up on time. This year, most events will begin an hour earlier than they used to, so my guess is we’ll see more late registrations than ever before.
That can be a mistake, both Yu and Steury pointed out, particularly when it comes to big-bet events. The big key is the fact that in no-limit tournaments your stack can be at risk on any given hand. While even the deadest of money in a limit tournament should last several hours due to the small starting limits, many players donate their stacks early on in no-limit tournaments, and you have to be there in order to benefit from this.
How to Attack the WSOP, Part 4: Know Your Limits — Limit Versus No-Limit Strategy 101
Yu won the $10K Limit Hold’em Championship in 2015
Yu said the pinch when much of the dead money bows out in limit games occurs when the starting stack represents around 10 big blinds, so expect tougher competition at that point. He also cautioned that the improved structures for limit events has meaningful poker being played from the start, so don’t sleep in too late.
Steury pointed out that the early levels of mixed games are important because they allow a player to get back into the groove of games he or she is a bit rusty at while at the same time getting reads for low stakes.
Once play gets rolling, stack sizes begin to fluctuate. Differing stack sizes create radically different approaches to hands. For example, in no-limit hold’em top pair might be a hand you’re looking to get stacks in with at shallow depths but looking to pot control when deeper-stacked. The same two cards in no-limit hold’em might be played three different ways with 10 big blinds, 30 big blinds, and 100 big blinds.
The stack-size dynamics come into play mainly when stacks get shorter in limit. Yu broke it down:
“For the most part, I am just playing as I would in a cash game, until I have 7-8 big bets left. At this point, I count out how much ‘L’ I have, which I define to be the amount equal to a raise preflop and a bet on every street. This comes out to be 3.5 big bets in blind games and 4 in stud. This represents the maximum amount another player can force you to risk to see a showdown. This can be very important on the bubble, as having 1.1 ‘L’ as opposed to 1 ‘L’ means that a single player cannot either force you to fold or eliminate you from the tournament without you contributing a bet or raise of your own.” Read Full Article