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Q&A: Turbo MTT Strategies; Harrington’s M, Folding Strong Hands and March Goals | Episode 182


Sky Matsuhashi

on April 6, 2018

I answer multiple Q's about turbo MTT's, Harrington's M, folding strong hands and more.

Download and listen to this episode as you follow along below.


Q1: Turbo and Super Turbo MTT Strategy (2:50)

From Tushar:

Q: Thanks for all your content which helps me develop my skills and improve my game. It also motivates me to study more and use it in games.

I have a question about turbo and super turbo tourneys where blinds increase faster and we have to make quick decisions. Please help me with some strategies.


First, always be cognizant of stack sizes. Your opponents are willing to get it in very quickly with sub 20bb stacks, so be ready for that before you decide to open raise.

The 3bet rejam is an effective way to add chips to your stack, so your opponents use it quite often. Of course, you can use this same strategy against players who raise a lot, and especially when they raise/fold a lot. Try to do so with hands that have at least a bit of equity or a good chance at connecting with lots of flops. Suited Aces are good, as are pairs, sc's and suited-gappers. Try not to make this play with random Kx or off-suit hands as it's a quick way to burn chips when called.

Most of your play will be pre-flop and flop-centric, so work to understand your ranges, and work to improve your flop v board understanding.

A critical thing for these tourneys is to accept that you're putting your tourney life at risk more often than reg speeds. The blinds go up so quickly and everyone else is short-stacked, so this is a necessary part.

Tourney Stages

In the early stages, let your opponents go crazy and just play a tight game. You'll be doing a ton of folding and that's okay.

In the middle stage your stack is going to drop, but don't concern yourself with “chip average”. The # of BB's in your stack is what matters.

The late stage is the final 2 tables. Be aggressive and push around players who are likely to fold. Pick on the medium stacks and beware of all the short stack, sub 10bb's, that will be very quick to rejam over your open-raises.

The “Stop & Go”

Use a play first introduced in ‘Harrington on Holdem' called the Stop and Go. In this play, you call pre-flop OOP (instead of 3betting or 3bet rejamming) and when the flop hits, you move all-in before your opponent has the chance to act. This puts them to the test.  Your opponents are folding a ton of their hands.  You can make this play when calling or betting on the flop would commit you to the hand (small SPR). Somewhere from 8-12bb starting stacks or even greater if you choose.

Q2: Harrington’s M (7:25)

From Tim:

Q: Say you have 20K and blinds are 500/1000 with 100 ante. How would you calculate your stack size and does that change your push/fold chart a little?


Calculating your BB's is just your stack divided by the big blind amount, you don’t take antes into consideration. So, at 500/1000/100, if you have 20,000, then you've got a 20bb stack. You would just use your push/fold charts exactly.

If you want to be more conservative, maybe your table is full of super loose callers, then use tighter ranges by looking at the higher BB charts. For example, at 12bb’s, use the 13, 14 or 15bb charts.

If you want to be more aggressive because you think your table is over-folding, then at 12bb’s, use the 11 or 10bb charts.

Harrington introduced the M in volume 2 of ‘Harrington on Holdem’, and that takes into account the ante. M is the number of rounds you can play before your stack just blinds/antes off. So, with the previous example, each round at a full ring costs you 1,000 + 500 + 900 (ante x 9 hands in a round) = 2,400. Your M in this is 20,000/2,400 = 8.3. You can just blind down (assuming blinds aren't going up anytime soon) for 8.3 rounds, or 75 hands.

The Zone System:

M = 20+ >> the Green Zone. You're free to play as you choose, no need to get it in light. Conservative play is okay.

M = 10-20 >> the Yellow Zone. You lose the ability to play conservative poker as it gets lower and lower. You need to start taking chances to accumulate chips in an effort to stay ahead of the increasing blinds/antes

M = 5-10 >> the Orange Zone. Most of your play will be pre-flop and flop focused, with anything getting to the turn probably committing you to the pot. Ramp up the aggression even more.

M = 1-5 >> The Red Zone. If you involve yourself in a pot, you're most likely committed to going all-in. This is where the rejam lies. Opening and folding pre will cost you a lot of chips, but it could still be a good play against the right players remaining.

M = 0-1 >> the Dead Zone. Nothing to do but go all-in and hope to quadruple up then double-up, then double-up again.

Want detailed tourney instruction? Check out Road to Success: MTT Poker Course

Q3: Folding Strong Hands (13:30)

From Tim:


1. I see you lay down some good hands. What kind of stats do you look for to fold a straight vs a flush or pair board to a jam?

2. Best ways to study your hands.  Flopzilla? I have poker cruncher. Do you use a solver?

3. Any courses you recommend? The Core? Upswing? Run It Once?

4. What are the best things to study from your database?


1. When it comes to folding good hands, it’s simple, you fold them when you know you’re beat. The type of opponent you’re up against, their stats, their bet sizing, their pre-flop range and the board will all tell you if you’re beat or not. I also trust my gut a lot more now than ever before, and I think that’s really saved me tons of money.

For stats, use stats that relate to the bet they're making.  If they check-raised, I'll look at their Fold to Cbet and their Check-raise stats.

2. Just Flopzilla and a calculator. I don’t use any solvers.

3. I haven’t taken any of those courses, so I can't recommend them. But, I expect them all to be great because of the creators behind them. The only course I recommend is Splitsuit's ‘The Hand Reading Lab’ (offer code SMART for a free 3bet video series). I recommend any and all of Alex Fitzgerald’s webinars as well. I bought a recent course of his called ‘Master Tournament Poker in One Class’ but haven’t studied it yet.

4. Tagged Hands and filtered hands related to your current studies.

My 2018 SMARTER Goals Progress (17:15)

Goal 1: SPS Brand

Publish all 3 volumes of my Dominoes of Poker books: Volume 1 by the end of April, Volume 2 in July and Volume 3 in October.

Progress: on track to publish in April now. Third draft almost done.  The final round of editing will be another read aloud edit starting Saturday.  The cover art is finished.

Goal 2: Poker Play

Move up from 25nl to 50nl by June 1st, then up to 100nl by October 1st while following a 40x Bankroll Rule.


· January: +$104.36 at +4.52bb/100 hands and 9,237 hands played

· February: -$105.11 at -5.48bb/100 hands and 7,677 hands played

· March: +$208.48 at +6.6bb/100 hands and 12,643 hands played

· YTD: +$207.73 at +2.81bb/100 hands and 29,557 hands played

· Poker for me is all about learning over earning. A buy-product of improving my game and making great decisions is making money, so a profitable month is an indicator that I’m playing well and improving.

· I don’t think I’ll hit the goal of $2,000 by June 1st to move up to 50nl, but that’s okay. At the rate I’m playing and studying, I’ll still get there this year at some point, and I’m good with that.  Shoot for the stars, land on the moon.

Goal 3: Physical Health

Get down to 170 lbs (from 180) and complete 3 sets of 10 muscle-ups by June 1st.


· January 1st at 180.0

· February 1st at 180.8 (a gain of .8 pounds)

· March 1st at 178.8 (a loss of 2 pounds)

· April 1st at 174.4 (a loss of 4.4 pounds); doing 4 sets of 10 pull-ups; leg lift swings 4 sets of <10 but improving

· Loving this challenge. I can tell that I’m getting stronger and I think I’ll accomplish my first muscle-up this month.

Challenge (21:50)

Here’s my challenge to you for this episode:   Fold more of your good hands. Too many of us make the fishy, stationy play of calling when we know we’re beat. When all signs point toward your overpair being crushed by your opponent, your TPWK or even TPTK being beat, mouse over to the FOLD button and click it. Trust your gut and save yourself some chips.

Now it’s your turn to take action and do something positive for your poker game.

Support the Show

Daniel Kent and Danilo Sato both got the Smart HUD for PokerTracker 4.  Get 'em, guys!  Get the Smart HUD here.

Doug Schomaker also supported this past week by picking up a copy of PokerTracker 4.  Go here to learn more and get your own copy.  PokerTracker 4 affiliate link.


Sky Matsuhashi

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