Al works hard for us, doesn't he?
I have a few more thoughts on some trends I've noticed playing in just a handful of the BBT5 events so far.
Firstly, some very aggressive players have really put a beating on the tournament fields so far in the BBT5. They apply maximum pressure preflop with any two cards and, frankly, avoid playing postflop poker whenever possible -- this is especially true in the later stages of the tournaments, even when stacks are 20+ bbs. I even saw one particular player open-shove a 25 bb stack once an orbit four consecutive times in the middle stages of last night's Mookie! Each time I woke up with a fairly good hand - usually AJ, AQ, AK - on the button and reluctantly folded since I didn't want to blindly gamble it up. I'd have to say this is pretty frustrating for me, coming from a cash game background where the effective stacks are usually much deeper, and I don't have tournament survival as an overriding concern. After all, in a cash game I can simply rebuy and plan to take all of a target's money in a subsequent hand; I can't do that in a tournament. I like to see a flop with significant money behind as it gives me more room to maneuver; their tactics effectively minimize the skill factor in the game and maximize the luck factor. Obviously, this does mean that they get paid off when they have big hands because they are going to generate action when other players have a medium-to-good hand to fight back with; what I don't like about this style of play is when I see the questionable calls preflop with a lot of dominated ace-rag hands in hopes they will get lucky. All that said, if you can adapt to deal with this style, don't fear getting it in with a hand like the mighty jack-ace; they are going to call with many worse aces and you will have the best of it. Above all, I would try not to give them the opportunity to put in the last raise. Either apply pressure yourself, by making them decide to call off their chips. Or best of all, if you do have a premium hand, put out a normal raise and pray that they get frisky. You can even try the ol' limp re-raise or limp-call from early position with a big pair since they won't be able to resist jamming from late position on you a lot of the time. More than anything, plan your hand out in advance once you've adjusted to the presence of a loose aggressive player.
More than anything I regret not being able to amass a 25+ bb stack at the final table of last night's Mookie. That would have given me enough ammunition to play back at the aggressive players, or to force them to play postflop by calling their raises in position in an attempt to maneuver myself into a situation where I think I have an advantage.