My June PRO video outlines the way to beat the STT. There are a lot of charts that need to be used or memorized in the push/fold part of the game. I am pretty shameless in having them out at the table, but you could easily put them on your phone for easy access. Lets look at a sample chart and understand how and when to use it.
Looking in the upper left corner, this chart applies when the effective stacks are five big blinds. Sometimes you have four or six big blinds and there is no chart, but this will be close enough. When you have this few big blinds, there is only one choice: push or fold. To make this decision, you look for your hand and then see the number associated with it. So for instance, with 5 BB and holding J8s you find a “2” on the chart. This means that if no one has entered the pot, and there is two or less players left to act you ship it all in.
If there is no number, you always fold. Normally, there is five or less people at the table, so there is an entry for every seat at the table. If by some miracle there are still six or more players at the table, from the earliest positions I would tighten up a little bit and use my judgement. These situations are rare though. I would still only be shipping or folding though.
The second question is what do you do about limpers? The question is do you think they are likely to be limp-callers or limp-folders. Limp-folders are great, it is free money. Since you can never know for sure, I would tighten up with any limper already in. This is a judgement call. Maybe count them as one more player to act so that on the button with one limper, you would not look for hands that you can play against two players, but actually hands you can play against three.
What if someone has already shoved or made a solid raise before you? In that case, I would refer to the 10BB chart:
If someone in front of you has already raised or shoved in, you should avoid conflict mostly. It takes a much better hand to call a shove than to make a shove. Look at the ten BB chart, you can defend with the three’s and often the two’s. The tighter the player, the less eager you should be to defend.
The push fold part of the STT is very important and it is where the winner is decided. Getting to the 50-100 level with a 10 BB stack will always leave you in a position to win. A few successful steals at this level and beyond can easily make you chip leader. One double up often will. Do not get involved in squabbles in the early levels. People make such big mistakes in this part of the tournament that playing properly with aggression will pay off.
The next part of the tournament is the deal making phase. This is an important part since virtually every one of these STT ends with a chop. Since there is only one winner, the Independent Chip Model (ICM) does not apply: every chip is worth the same amount. Because of the chop though, the play of the tourney can use some concepts of ICM. This is why we say that doubling up does not double your chances of winning. A fair chop (a “chip chop”) at the end would be to chop according to the percentages of chips in each stack.
Do not go for a fair chop
Often, people that are playing these STT are only playing one or two of them and are quite happy to just book a win. If they have 60% of the chips, offer them to chop it down the middle. Look at this chart for a $525.
With his 18000 chips to your 12000 chips, the math says he should get $3072 to your $2048. An offer to chop down the middle for $2560 gets you an extra $512. With the blinds as big as they are, even if you think you have a skill advantage in the long run, locking up a +$512 deal is likely better than playing it out, even in the long run.
If you happen to be ahead in chips when it comes to the deal making phase, look up what a fair chop is, and round up a bit for yourself. When making a deal, don’t forget to include the dealer tip in the chop. If you have 11000 in chips in the end of a $525, your equity is $2816. Since the payout is in $500 lammers, offer that you will take six of the lammers and the other player gets four and the $120 in cash along with the duty to leave the tip. Even if you negotiate to each pay half the tip, you will be making a good deal here. Lamers do not equate to cash in people’s minds and because they can not be broken up, people are very willing to round up or down.
I would not make it apparent there is any math behind this, just know what your goal is for fair chop and try and do better. Some people do understand the math, and will whip out a calculator. In those cases, you are unlikely to negotiate anything beyond a fair chop anyways. Just cut it up and play the next one.
Deals can happen at an point. They can have different forms. In one very contentious three way $525, we all agreed to take “insurance” when we got to three people so we all got our buy-in back no matter what. Once the third guy was out, I was head’s-up with a skilled player. He wanted a chip chop plus $100 for him. I told him no. We then proceeded to do battle for a few hands. He figured out that even with his 3:1 chip advantage that he was going to have to work for it.
We actually did see a flop and I ship on him with a huge draw and over cards. As he is contemplating his call he says “I guarantee I am going to call you. Do you want to insure for an extra $1000?” I readily accepted, then I binked my hand and we were at even chips. With $2000 and three buyins locked up from the $5120 pool, there was not much left to fight for and we chopped down the middle.
The dealer will stop the hand at any point to allow you to deal, be creative in your deals and timing. Play well, and cut yourself some great deals!