Just my thoughts:
1. What’s the status of the tournament?
Everyone should pay attention to this, whether they do or not is one thing. In the under $20 MTT you don’t see this at all, first hand when 3-4 people go AI then you know your in for a donk fest. As you get close to the bubble, I agree with Mr. Harrington people TIGHTEN up just to get in the money. I was the same way, but have come to realize that you have to open up here and steal blinds, basically change your game to the aggressive. If I spend $10 to get in a tournament, what is the big stink about making $14.78 for 4 hours of play. I learned this the hard way but by reading books and this forum it has helped my game alot, but I by no means am a world class player!
2. How many players are at your table?
Yes this is important, if your at a full table 9-10 people, if your in EP or MP - A T offsuit is not playable, but the later you get in a tournament and your in MP at a 6-7 handed table A T offsuit is very playable.
3. Who are the players at your table?
IMO very hard to do at a small buy in MTT. That’s why I don’t like to play alot of hands early in a MTT, just to try to get a read on some of the players and see what there tendencies are. But it is still hard to do with players being moved all the time!
4. How does your stack compare to the blinds and antes?
Early in a tournament I don’t look at this alot I look at what the avg. chips are in the tournament, if I can stay in par with that for the first 3 hours I should be OK. But as the tournament progresses you have to look at your M (thats book 2 right) and every other M at your table.
5. How big are the other stacks at your table?
Again I don’t look at this very early in a tournament, mainly because 80% of the time these are just donks that tripled up with Q T offsuit with an all in call. But this is very important later in the tournament. You have to try to get involved with the smaller than you stacks or the middle stacks but if you can stay away from the big stacks (unless you have monster) than you should be ok. If your raising with AJ and the BB is the big stack your asking for trouble, because when he comes back and pushes, you will have to fold.
6. Where do you sit in relation to the aggressive and passive players?
Again tough to do early but hopefully you have the bullies on your right and the softies on your left. When you min raise from the BB with K9s and the 2-3 people that called you all fold put that in the memory bank, but if someone comes over the top with a reraise put that in the memory bank also.
7. What bets have been made in front of you?
This is definitely a big one, the gap concept applies here (for me anyway) especially early in a MTT. I like Harringtons example I think it is TT, it looks good when you have 5 folders in front of you, but if your facing bet-raise-reraise that puppy is trash!
8. How many active players are left after you act?
Early on this doesn’t apply to me, I generally play very tight in a MTT the first hour, sometimes 2. I may try to limp with suited connectors or small pairs but if it is raised behind me than I am folding, I want to see a cheap flop with the hopes of doubling up. You have to watch what kind of cards people are showing down too, In small buy-ins (MTT) you will see all kind of crap being played and you just have to put that in the memory bank or take a note or two. Later in a tournament again I try to stay away from messing with the bigstack unless I want to mess with him/her, because I want that reraise - because vie picked up KK.
9. What is your position at the table after the flop?
IMO this is the main one, how many articles can you read that talk about position in a MTT, so I won’t even elaborate on this one. But again this is the most important one to me!
10. What are your cards?
This is big one to me also. Where there are times like Harrington says that you can play virtually any 2 cards at any given time - when the time is right. If the tourney is near the bubble and you have 2 limpers in front of you - they asked for it by limping so raise 5X the blind or push it. 90% of the time you will take down the pot right there!
This one for me was really hard to grasp at first, playing to many hands and playing hands out of position. MTT is about patience, if you play in a MTT and don’t have the 4-6 hours to play in it DONT PLAY!! I don’t know how many times I would get in a tournament starting at 9:00 est and look at the clock and it is 1:00am and there still is 100 people involved and I have to get up in 4-5 hours. Than I would say I’m pushing with the next hand only to be going to bed about 3 minutes later wondering why I spent $10-25 bucks on that tournament and do something that @#$% stupid. Heck the 180 person MTT on stars take 3-4 hours to play, so what do you expect when 1200 are in it, granted 1/2 will be gone after the first hour and half of those after the 2nd hour but that is still 300 people left.
Fire away with the criticism!!
I’m a newbie,