Stay Playing To Cash - Play To Win

Published on January 22nd, 2005, 1:10 am EST

How many times have I been playing in a single table SNG when there are four people left, and the two people with the smallest stacks are frantically folding every single hand, hoping that the other small stack will get knocked out first, just so that they can finish in the money? How many times have I been playing in a multi-table tournament, when the play slows to a halt because people are stalling, hoping that they can finish just barely in the money?

Stop playing just to finish in the money, and start playing to win. If there are 4 people left in a SNG and the top 3 are paid, and you are the big stack, bully the small stacks around. They are not going to call any raises unless they have an absolute premium hand, like AA or KK. If you are the number two stack, you should be just as aggressive with the smaller stacks, especially if the big stack is not in the hand.

If you are one of the smaller stacks, don't play timidly and fold almost every hand, just hoping to make the money. Do you want to win, or do you want to finish third? At a full table, a hand like A/9 is not a hand you can push in on, but with 4 people left, it is. If I look down at this hand, I'm pushing all in. Sure, I may get busted out, but it's a pretty good hand with 4 people left.

You will bust out of more games being more aggressive when it's down to 4 or 5, but you will win much more too, I guarantee you. I have been the small stack, say 900 chips left with 50/100 blinds and have come back to win many a time, just by being aggressive. Try it.