8 Tips for a Smoother Ride
In this series we have waded through tomes of pre-flop ranges. We have learned about very wide big blind defence and how to jam aggressively for bounty hunting purposes. I would like to wrap up by imparting some more general advice now about how to approach Grand Tour as a format of the game.
1. Have Around 100 Buy-Ins in your Bankroll
Bankroll requirements for Grand Tour are nowhere near as extreme as they are for large field MTTs because the bounties you pick up along the way can keep you afloat even when you’re going through a dry spell and not winning races. Just winning a sprint is likely to give you back close to the entrance fee for that sprint in bounties, allowing you to freeroll into the next stage. 100 buy-ins is a small roll by MTT standards but should be fine for winning players in Grand Tour. Of course, if you are not playing optimal, you might expect to burn through more buy-ins than this while you work on your game.
2. Join the Race Between $5 and $12
This might not be possible due to bankroll considerations but as soon as it becomes viable to start at these stakes, it makes sense to bypass the first two levels. Assuming that you have a solid sprint win-rate of 30% (this is a solid achievement in a 4-player match) you will win finals and hit the big money 1/27 times that you register a $12 sprint. If you start at $5 level, this number drops to 1/81. These numbers are not unreasonable. The variance is manageable, and your hourly can be good, especially if you become familiar enough to multi-table. If you start at $60 finals, the variance is insane. You will swing many buy-ins up and down and will often start without the chip lead due to not accumulating bounties earlier in the race, which is a huge disadvantage. If you start at the $1 dollar level with a 30% win-rate then you will complete the race just 1/729. This is insane. Since Grand Tour is a top-heavy pay out structure, playing form the one level is a bit like grinding massive field MTTs – a very volatile choice of game. Us cash pros feel sick just thinking about it!
3. Avoid Marginal Spots on Soft Tables
When your opponents are making mistakes left right and centre, it hardly makes sense to risk everything in a spot that is only microscopically in your favour. One of the most impactful adjustments you can make for your win-rate is to pass up these spots in favour of being handed a much bigger gift further down the road. We can’t take this concept too far as time is limited and nitty play gets punished severely in Grand Tour, but if a hand is on the very outskirts of a jamming range, do not jam all-in against the guy who is folding every button in the heads-up encounter.
4. Take Break Even Spots Against Tough Opponents
If you think a shove or call-off is close to break-even, this is a spot you should gladly accept when you are at a skill disadvantage. The idea here is that some future spots are going to be -EV for you due to Villain’s superior ability level. It takes a special kind of humbleness that is rare among poker players but being able to admit when you are outclassed and adapt accordingly is a powerful weapon for any player. Coloured labels are a great tool for being able to look up the skill level of an opponent. I have about 12 different coloured tags for this format of the game. While most of these refer to a type of mistake a weaker opponent is likely to make there is a label for strong opposition too. It is always good to know the skill level of your foes.
5. Be Stoic. Be Light-Hearted.
Grand Tour will throw you around a bit. Some days you will barely get off the ground, losing the vast majority of your entry level sprints. Other days, you will crush your way to a bunch of finals and take down a few to boot. During the dry spells, it is imperative that you keep your head. Variance does not hand out wins and losses in a controlled or methodical way. It will throw bursts of run good at you between droughts of losing. The idea in Grand Tour is to play well enough throughout the bad times to stay afloat by being hungry for bounties and accepting extra risk when they are up for grabs. Taking it so seriously that you become angry during bad days will truly cripple your chances at a good win-rate.
Unless you are willing to put in a few hours off the tables every now and then, it will be difficult to reach a decent level of accuracy in Grand Tour. This series of articles should be enough to get you started, but it may well be worth investing in some software to use out of game to compute where you should be going with it due to the bounty position and when you just need to fold. Size of bounty, stack size distribution, and who covers whom are all important factors. The best way to get good at figuring these things out is by repetition and pattern recognition. Having a program that you can run a hand through afterwards is a valuable asset and having a few friends who also play the format to discuss spots with will not hurt either.
7. Play Multiple Tables but Not at First
When you first dip your feet into Grand Tour you should almost certainly play one table at a time, whoever you are. The game is just far too alien and complex to start off by multi-tabling and you will miss a lot of the key details that affect whether you should get your chips in unless you focus on one table at a time. Eventually when your pattern recognition skills have ramped up a bit, it will be time to increase that hourly by adding a second table and in the distant future, a third table.
8. Watch the Hands you are not Involved in
There are so many different types of player in Grand Tour that it really pays to identify your opponents early on; before you have tangled with them personally. If a player jams for 20 big blinds with Q9o in the CO and you miss it because you were watching a video, well, you have just missed out on a profitable call later when you make what you think is a routine fold against this player’s shove. Stay alert and be an avid note taker. Having a reliable colour coding system for the different types of mistakes your opponents are making will gain you a lot of extra EV.
Well that’s it for now, guys. Thanks for reading this series and I’ll see you at the Grand Tour tables!
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