Raymer shares tournament strategy

By Raymond T. Akers

Greg “The Fossilman” Raymer came to sudden prominence in the poker world when he seemed to come out of nowhere to win the Main Event at the World Series of Poker in 2004.

He didn’t come out of nowhere, of course, as he had played the WSOP several times before he claimed the big one. Over the last 15 years he has remained a fixture in the poker world (currently boasting over $8 million in tournament cashes). He has been successful in tournaments, cash games, online, and as an instructor.

In his new book “Fossilman’s Winning Tournament Strategies” (D&B Poker), Raymer takes the many complex elements of tournament poker and simplifies them by breaking them down, defining key terms, and giving excellent examples that illustrate his points.

Raymer starts off with the concept of expected value (EV), and from there discusses the importance of the independent chip model (ICM) in tournaments, followed by game theory optimal (GTO) and game theory exploitative (GTE) strategies.

The most discussed of these ideas is easily EV. Raymer loves himself some EV … and with good reason. He continually suggests that you make decisions based on what will most increase your value in tournaments. In fact, he says, “Forget completely about survival …. Focus instead on EV.”

In one of his many observations on game theory, Raymer says, “Since we don’t know exactly the correct GTO strategy for poker then why does Game Theory matter at all? Because it reinforces the need to develop a strong basic strategy, and to understand that you should only diverge from that basic strategy when conditions are right to use GTE strategy.”

In its 42 chapters, the book covers a wide range of tournament concepts. Some of these are pot odds, bet sizing, board texture, stack size, continuation betting, bluffing, and manipulating opponents.

While “Fossilman’s Winning Tournament Strategies” may not offer a whole lot to the upper tiers of the poker universe (but the vast majority of us don’t reside there anyway). This book is an excellent resource for beginning tournament players as well as those who are more experienced but wish to tighten up and focus their strategy.

He summed things up well when he said, “In any game, you have to make decisions. If you’re playing to win, you will make the best decision you can. But win or lose, all you can do is make that decision, and live with the results. Poker is the same. Simply make the best decision you can, and live with the result.”

“Fossilman’s Winning Tournament Stategies” is published by D&B Poker (wwwdandbpoker.com) and is available through all good retailers.