The Games have changed.
Players are better and more aggressive and the good players have read Dan Harrington's book as well as others. They are getting smarter and more cunning.
Here are Harrington's Inflection Points or Zones.Harrington's Zones
Green Zone 20+ Big Blinds
Yellow Zone 10-20 Big Blinds
Orange Zone 10 Big Blinds
Red Zone 5 Big Blinds
Dead Zone 3 Big Blinds
Blue Zone 50+ Big Blinds
Green Zone 40-50 Big Blinds
Yellow Zone 30-40 Big Blinds
Orange Zone 20-30 Big Blinds
Red Zone 10-20 Big Blinds
Dead Zone 10 or less Big Blinds
Look at what it takes to make any meaningful bet and we aren't talking about rebuy phases in tournaments.
Poker players are more aggressive now, thanks to the internet and poker on TV. If you have a decent hand and even slow play the flop, you are likely to have to call one raise, which means you have at least 3 BB bets in the pot. If your hand holds up after the flop, and you want action, the pot now has 6 to 8, or more, BB bets in the pot. If you check, it's unlikely to be checked all around, you hope, so at least half the pot will be bet, which means another 5 to 6 bets, so now you are into the pot for 8 to 10 bets before the turn.
If your hand is still the top hand or you have a great draw and you want to stop others from betting, you are going to at least bet the pot, so that's another 10 bets, more if you get called by someone who hit something or is also on a draw to one of the nuts, then you have to look at their stack size relative to yours.
Are you already down to half your stack, or even 25% of your stack?
If they are the Loose Aggressive type and still have lots of chips, like 2 to 3 times what you have, they could push and catch their card on the flop, because at this time, most are playing anything if they have a 3:1 or better chance of winning. If they are Selective Aggressive, then they must have something or they wouldn't have gone this far and if they are Passive Aggressive or a Calling Station, you may really be the underdog and way behind.
Harrington's Red Zone @ 5x BB and Dead Zone at 3x BB are really both the same. You have to go All-In to bet and are likely to be called. You can't wait for the blinds because the BB is 1 bet the SB is really 1 bet, so you are easily down to 3x BB or only 1 bet left in either case.
If you have less then 10 times the BB, you are going to be all-in the next time you get a half way decent hand. So 10 times the BB is my Dead Zone. 10 to 20 times the BB is my Red Zone because all you have are enough chips for 2 decent hands and not enough for any marginal hands.
Harrington's Orange Zone @ 10 times the BB is critical, you're really on life support at this time. No one will take any bet seriously if you had a decent hand, You would have to bet at least 3x BB on the flop to limit the field, so you are down to possibly half your stack preflop. On the flop, if you made a hand, top pair or better and have to slow play it and are likely to have to bet 25% to 50% of the pot if anyone bets, so you are All-In now, because on the turn if you have to fold, you end up at the Dead Zone anyway.
20 to 30 times the BB is my Orange Zone because you can play a little or wait a little, but you only have 15 to 20 rounds left if you never bet, before being blinded out. In some tournaments, that's the starting point.
Harrington's Yellow Zone @ 10 to 20 times the Big Blind only gives you at the most 15 rounds to get a decent hand and any marginal hands played, and folded, leave you in the Dead Zone.
You need 30 to 40 times the BB to really have a chance to use any skill, so that would be my Yellow Zone. However, if 40 times the BB is on the low end of the stack size for the table you're at, your bets may not be able to put any pressure on the bigger stacks, especially if they are the Loose Aggressive types.
You must have some sort of aggressive posture to play poker and win. A Loose Aggressive player may need to have more than 40 times the BB to be effective. Almost any table you are at will have a fairly high percentage of weak or poor players and likely to have at least one Mental Midget, someone who will go all-in with 8-2 on a bluff ,when they aren't even close to being short stacked.
I have a Blue Zone. It's 50 or more times the Big Blind. This means you are likely to be one of the chip leaders and can kind of bully your way around the table if you want to. You can switch gears when you want to and be more Loose Aggressive when you want to. It's still 'All Things in Moderation' when switching gears.
One of my favorite ways to switch gears is randomly. Probably the most important thing I learned from reading Dan Harrington's books, using the clock or a watch with a second hand. If you normally raise in certain situations, look at your watch, or your neighbors watch, and when the second hand is at around 12 or less seconds to the hour, do the opposite or make more or less of a bet. That means 20% of the time you are doing something different than you normally do. You could use that switch to remain in the same playing style for a certain number of hands, just don't end up being predictable. There are many ways to introduce randomness into your game, be creative.
These Zones are dependent on how your stack compares to other stacks at the table and even the overall chip count for the tournament. You could be in the Yellow Zone and be the chip leader at the table or the short stack at the table. Either one is going to affect your playing style. These zones could change radically when there is an Ante involved.
I Never Bluff