Finding more value in the bargain bin
Just a few days ago, PokerStars announced the schedule for this year edition of SCOOP. It'll start on May 6 and finish on May 20. In that time, there will be 40 events split in three levels of buy-in (small, medium and high) with $30 million in guaranteed prize money. That's great, no? No matter what your stake is, you'll definitely find the right event for you.
Now, I'd like to share some of my experience with you. I played quite a lot last year in SCOOP. I played somewhere around 30 events, and I'm glad that I managed a few times not only to get in the money, but actually to reach a pretty good position (the best, a 6th place for around $20k). I hope this year will be profitable too.
Let's talk a bit about the low buy-in tournaments. I played in some of them last year and I can tell you that in these kind of tournaments, due to the small buy-in and the big guaranteed prizepool, players come in thousands. For example I remember that a $16.50 NL Hold'em event I played in gathered more than 11,000 players, while a $11 NL Hold'em tourney drew more than 20,000! So, it's not an easy job. Luckily, the structure PokerStars offers in these tourneys is really good. You play pretty deep, and levels are long enough for you to have an advantage over the less-experienced players.
But don't fool yourself: these are tournaments that stretch over many hours, so it's important that you get good rest before you sitat the tables. Otherwise you won't last until the end of the marathon. Once at the table, be patient; don't put your chips in the play too soon, especially at the beginning of the game. This is the moment when you play against a lot of newbies and many are more aggressive than they should be. You may find yourself in a dangerous situation. So, don't get involved in too many pots with marginal hands, or you'll be in a pretty difficult spot. I myself prefer to play some PL Omaha cash games at the same time, so I can be sure I control the number of hands I play in the tournaments. This is a safe alternative.
Another important aspect is confidence. Be positive even when you lose a pot, a thing that's very likely to occur in a tournament with so many people. Just move on, go on playing, and don't let what happened to affect your game. Confidence is the decisive factor that allows you to grow as a player.
But if you stay alert, think about your actions before you make them, and you weigh your steps, you may find yourself going deep in the tourney. And who knows? Maybe you'll even get to the top place.
So, be prepared and don't waste your efforts. Good luck!