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Tournament chips aren't dollars

By: baud2death @ 09:56 (EDT) / 305 / Comment ( 0 )

This seems like an obvious one but we are tricked by the fact Pokerstars labels them with the currency of the event (typically USD$)

But they aren't - technically they are a fraction of your buyin, say it was $1 buyin and you are given 1000 chips, those chips are worth 1/10th of a cent each.

Different when you think about it like that!

The reason I advise to steer clear of thinking of them as dollars is that when you start a tournament, you are usually 100BB+ deep. There is the temptation for some to see AA in front of them and shove, or throw a 10BB bet into the pot. This is poor judgement and will lead you to lose more than win.

Yes, its frustrating to have the nuts when you are that deep with $1500 and all you get back is $150, but with 100BB, you just got 10BB which is a nice win and increased your stack by 10%.

Now say you are deeper into the event, you win $300 but its only 1BB, its a fraction of your stack and really whilst it is x2 the amount you won way earlier -- its almost something you wouldn't miss if it rolled down your pant leg!

This is why it is important to think of your chips as blinds, not dollars - you almost want to ignore the $dollar amount and convert it into BB whenever possible.


I have seen some FTs or late game play where players catch a hand like AA with 25BB and they shove, everyone folds and they score a few blinds. They didn't get any value from that hand at all - had they put in a nice raise, it gets called (or hopefully re-raised) then at least when your opponent folds his cards, you have more money out of him than you did by shoving.


I feel that if you play right, you want to only be shoving if you are desperate (12BB< typically) or if you want your opponent to call --you can of course be looking to bluff with a shove but im talking more about proper tight play rather than loose bluff strategy.


I feel that it is only when you start thinking of your chips as blinds and not even thinking of the dollar amount do you give yourself the focus to make sure your bet sizing is smart, avoids giving off tells and makes sure that when you have an unpaired hand like AK, you use proper pot control to give yourself a release if you don't hit the flop.


The decisions I make for my stack when I am at 5/10/25/50/100BB+ is typically the same no matter how many dollars of chips I have.

If i have a short handed table and my opponents are tight, I am stealing proving that my stack and their stack sizes meet my criteria based on Big Blind amounts. I don't care if they have $1,000, $10,000 or $5,000,000 in front of them, I don't look at that, I just look at the BB figure and the rest is just flavor

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