I further put my MTS (Modified Tournament Strategy) to the test last night at Casino Malaysia Tavern APL. It worked extremely well in the early rounds. Limping in with hands like 9 10 and 5 6, if I hit nothing – fold of course. But in two cases I hit a straight draw and either had to only call a small raise or got to see a free card. Both times the straight hit, and was so well disguised my all-in on the river looked like an attempt to buy the pot. Having my opponents hit top pair also helped.

Limping in with A K suited and lots of callers, the flop came 10 A A. A short stack went all in, and there was one other caller. I called also and checked the turn. Limping had disguised my hand enough that my small value bet on the river was paid off.

In other hands of similar pre-flop strength where nothing hit, or I was most likely beat after the flop, I was able to get away from the hand or see further cards as cheaply as possible. One hand with pocket threes hit trips on the turn, but rather than betting I called to the river (because I didn’t have a lock). As it turned out, my hand was beaten by someone slow playing trip eights on the flop – so I managed to lose the least possible on the hand.

I ended up going to the break with 6,200 chips.

I continued to apply the MTS for the first round after the break with blinds at 100/200, since I had the stack size to support it. Unfortunately nothing panned out, or I was pushed of good draws by more desperate people going all-in.

By the next level of 200/400 I was down to 4,500. Fortunately I was getting hands like A Q and K Q. Unfortunately nothing hit, and seeing the flop was expensive. I bluffed one pot with four callers from the BB, and one a small-ish pot with A 9 by taking a risk on the button by calling an all-in who had A 8.

With the blinds at 500/1000 I had just 5,500. The end came when I was moved to a new table and went all-in UTG with J 10 suited, running into the button who had A A.

I heard a comment by Phil Hellmuth yesterday too; who said “[tournament] play is so bad now, I hardly want to put any money into the pot anymore”. This seems to validate MTS from another prospective as well – no one dislikes a bad beat more than Mr Hellmuth, and (in his opinion) bad players will deliver bad beats, so don’t commit chips where that might happen.

What I do need to do though is figure out the right point to switch gears away from MTS as the blinds get bigger. There must be some critical inflection point where the stack to blind ratio dictates changing from MTS-lose/passive to tight aggressive.

It’s going to take a little more work.