• July 30, 2021

Tips for Turbo Tournaments

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Everything is happening faster in turbo tournaments. You have less time to make adjustments, to recover from mistakes, and to wait for the perfect hand or spot from which to make a move.
Those are some tips to get you started with turbo tourneys. Something else to keep in mind is that the faster-paced tourneys tend to attract a lot of inexperienced and lesser-skilled players. In other words, employing some strategic know-how can give you a significant edge in the turbos, one that over time can overcome the increased variance such tournaments invite.
Don’t change style during early levels
Wth such a deep stack with which to start, you can approach the first couple of levels of a turbo tournament the same way you would regular MTTs. The blinds and antes are too small to be worth stealing, and in fact you’ll likely benefit more later on by demonstrating a tight image early. That will earn you folds in later levels when you do open up your range and go for blind steals and bluffs.
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Develop reads on opponents during early levels
Just as in a regular MTT, you should always be watching the tendencies of your opponents in order to figure out who is loose, who is tight, who seems to be more savvy with their plays, and who appears to be making mistakes. The difference is you have less time to develop these reads, and a smaller sample size of hands in which to do so.
Be ready for the “middle stage”
In those “Hot” tourneys you’re already edging into what might be considered the “middle stage” of a tournament even before the antes kick after a half-hour. You should still be selective but can start looking to open more often from late position with a wider range, especially after the antes are introduced and there is more dead money to be claimed.
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Don’t snooze
Players accustomed to regular MTTs are used to the slow pace allowing them to register late, to sit out hands, or if online to surf around and let their attention be divided during the early levels. Such is not the case in a turbo, where you’re much better off being present and focused on every hand from the very start.
Widen your range
Dovetailing on the advice to start looking for spots to steal more often, once you get past the opening levels of a turbo tournament you’ll want to open up your ranges for other actions, too, including reraising others’ preflop opens, calling raises (preferably with position), and making postflop continuation bets/raises. Again, don’t become irrationally loose with your decision-making, but be aware that the rapidly rising blinds and antes necessitate you remain in action frequently. You might well mostly fold through the first couple of levels of a turbo, but after that you can ill afford to do so.
Be aware of impending level changes
Depending on how fast players are acting, you’ll usually only be getting through about an orbit or a little more at a nine-handed table during five minutes of online play. That means that often each level will find you playing from all of the positions at the table just once (the blinds, early position, middle position, late position). If you are getting short yourself, you may find it necessary to reraise-shove or make other aggressive moves before the level changes and your stack becomes less able to elicit folds because your fold equity has decreased.
Pay attention to changing stack sizes
Players can quickly slip from having comfortable stacks to having 20 BBs or less in turbos, with the change in level sometimes suddenly affecting a player’s status. Understand that players with such stacks will be more likely to push all-in should you raise or reraise them, meaning you’ll want to anticipate that possibility when making such moves.
Consider isolating short stacks
As in regular MTTs, players slipping to 10-15 BBs will be looking for spots to double-up in turbos and you’ll see many open-raising all in when given the opportunity. Picking up good hands (medium-to-big pocket pairs, big aces) behind these players may mean reraise-shoving in order to clear the field and set up heads-up showdowns against these short stacks. Weigh the risk carefully and don’t enter into such showdowns without worthwhile hands, but be ready to seize opportunities to gobble up the shorter stacks when they come.
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Steve Carr

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