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Showing posts with label sng. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sng. Show all posts

Saturday, April 24, 2010

You people suck at poker. I mean that in a nice way.

Over the last few days I’ve been playing micro limit sit-n-go single table tournaments at PokerStars and have encountered some pretty horrible play.  Stuff like people calling off half their stacks with small pocket pairs when the blinds are low or seeing four or five people all-in preflop where there isn’t immediate pressure to play. 

On some level you’d expect this.  I mean, the stakes are very low and that is enticing to new players who want to get their feet wet and play some poker bingo.  The thing is nowadays with people multi-tabling ring games and sit-n-gos 10, 20 or even more tables at a time, there is profit to be made at the very low levels and so I also expect to see a fair number of average to good players sitting as well and so far I’m not seeing it.

One no limit hand happened recently that illustrates what I’m talking about.  This is early in the sng, blinds are $20-$40 and everyone is still within +-$200 of their initial $1500 in chips.  The UTG player and UTG+1 limp and I look down at KK and make a large raise to $150.  MP2 and the CO calls and the button raises all in (!).  I call (I have the button covered by about $100 chips) and MP2 and the CO both also call the all-in.  The cards are shown and MP2 shows A5o, the CO shows Jh 8h and the Dealer shows Ad 9d.  I’m still feeling pretty good until the flop comes 799.  A ten on the river gives the CO the best hand and he takes down half the chips on the table.  Why anyone was in that hand after I raised is a mystery but if you find yourself at a table like that it’s important to make a couple of adjustments.

Plan on being called

When you have a good hand bet it or better yet, overbet it.  You are playing against people who might check down to the river but who will also call off their entire stack to see what cards are coming.  A great time to make a big bet is on the turn when they only have one card to come on their draws.

Don’t get fancy

Connected to the above point, your fancy play isn’t going to work.  Don’t try a squeeze play against people who won’t lay down their hands!

Make value bets

Don’t give away free cards on any street and that includes the river.  If they are passively calling they may have your second pair beaten but there’s a very good chance that they are on a draw/holding an underpair.  They will pay off a river bet if there’s any way they can imagine you don’t have a hand.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Just in case going out on the bubble didn’t irritate you enough…

… After every sit and go tournament at Full Tilt Poker:

FT_sng_annoy

Personally I couldn’t find any way to turn this dialog off.  (checking the box on the dialog merely causes the tournament window to close after you are knocked out).  Anyone else have luck with getting rid of this rat bastard message?

Saturday, June 04, 2005

The problem with Steps and more...

When last we spoke... Oh yes, step tournaments at Party Poker. Well it is an intriguing idea, but there is a flaw and the flaw is this. The last couple levels (especially the step higher) tournament are very hard to fill and so you find yourself sitting and waiting... I'm not talk about waiting for the water to boil waiting, I'm talking about waiting for your kids to complete college waiting. And it's also not waiting that you can do away from your computer because when you're starting a $3,000 buy in SnG you don't want to be out watering the lawn.

I believe for this structure to work the last two steps should be scheduled single table tournaments (where you can chose a date and time for a list of options). Since I know the Party Poker folks read this blog maybe they'll do something about that.

Along those lines of pickiness, in a NL tournament before it is your turn to act there is a checkbox where you can select "bet pot", however when it's actually your turn to act there's no such option... Hello? McFly?!

Having said all that the mini-step versions don't have the same issue, and you can buy into the lowest level of those for $5+$1 so it's an inexpensive way to spend a couple of hours.

On the website (http://www.lowlimitholdem.com/) we've moved things around a little putting the discussion forum and of course this blog closer to the top on our left hand navigation pane, and also clearing out some of the older "what's hot" items (they were more leukwarm at this point). Definitely visit and say hello on the discussion forum--there's a few crazy people posting up a storm right now and I think they want company.

In low limit holdem I've been playing a lot at the live cardrooms lately at the $3-$6 and $6-$12 limits. The live game is changing a bit perhaps as a result of all the TV poker and, if not tightening up at least including more tight players. Some people even fold before the flop now! Don't worry--not a lot of them and the games are still great. The larger rooms are now all using electronic shuffling machines to keep the games going pretty quickly. If you haven't visited your live cardroom lately you might want to take a look--they are booming too.

A live hand After you've been playing for a while there are certain sequences of events that happen on the poker table that you grow to almost subconsciously expect. Case in point a hand I was involved in yesterday...

I'm in late position with AhAc and the UTG player raises the pot preflop and gets two callers before me. I 3 bet (which the big blind calls!) and he caps the pot (everyone invested calls). I'm thinking KK. The flop is Td 3h Ts and UTG bets, gets a caller before me, I call and the BB calls. The turn is the 8h and UTG bets again.

At this point the subconscious expectation is that one of the other two players who called the flop bet is going to raise (holding a T)... After all, what are they calling the flop with? I call the bet and the the BB just calls again. That's four players in on both the flop and turn.

The river is the Js and the UTG once again bets and gets the same caller before me. I call again and the BB finally folds. I win the hand with aces and tens. UTG had exactly KK and the middle player at QJ offsuit.

Now this was an especially passive hand because of the way I played it, so it's one I'm thinking about. Definitely that "waiting for the hammer to fall" aspect played into my play, and yet how did it affect the final outcome? Had I raised on the flop it would have been heads up between myself and KK, none of the other players had a threatening draw (perhaps the BB caught a 3 on the flop, but didn't have enough to call on a fairly large pot at the end) so raising definitely would have cost money with the players having the cards they did. What if someone did have a T? With two players having overpairs (which was definitely a strong possibility based on the preflop action) they may very well call hoping to get in the middle of a raising war between myself and the KK that we each only have two outs to win. The only question to me is the river play--should I have raised on the river? I knew KK would call a raise on the river and there was a chance the other caller would call with a hand like Jx that hit on the river (like this case!). In retrospect if I'm losing to someone slow playing a ten or better I'll lose one or two bets by raising on the river (depending on if they reraise). If I'm winning I will be paid off one or two bets.

I think based on the action that not raising on the end was a mistake, but not a giant mistake and it was based on that subconscious expectation of someone slowplaying trips.

Friday, April 29, 2005

Watch Your Step

Party Poker started running what they call single and double table "Step Tournaments" some time ago and recently added a new flavor called "Step Higher" which has a higher initial buy in games ($33+3).

All three types of the step tournaments (Step Higher, Original Steps and Mini Steps) have five levels. You can start at the bottom level or buy into any of the higher levels directly if you want. You progress to the next Step by placing high in your current step (For Step Higher you must win the single table to progress to the next Step, but on Original Steps which is a double table tournament structure the top four players move to the next step). The next few places are granted a freeroll to "do over" the current step, the next few places after that are either awarded a small cash prize or a freeroll to the previous step. In all cases the main cash prizes are awarded at the Level 5 Step (and unlike the previous steps there are no "do over" prizes awarded at this level).

The Step Prize breakdown at Level 5 is as follows:

Step Higher: 1st-$100,000 2nd-$30,000 3rd-$20,000
Original Steps: 1st-$9,000 2nd-$5,000 3rd-$3,600 4th-$2,400
Mini Steps: 1st-$2,000 2nd-$1,000 3rd-$500 4th-$300 5th-$200

Buy ins for the first level are Step Higher - $33+$3, Original Steps - $11+1, Mini Steps - $5+1, so even for the much more difficult "Step Higher" version (more difficult because you must win to progress to the next level) you can take a chance at $100,000 for only $33+$3. In general if you are a solid single/double table tournament player you can get a lot of play out of your initial buy in.

I wanted to mention all that factual stuff for those who are interested in trying this tournament structure and who might not be aware of it. More information on these steps tournaments can be found at http://www.partypoker.com/news/events/steps-challenge-04.html

Right now I am working on the "Step Higher" tournaments and am on Level 2 (My first SnG at level two left me at 4th place which was a rebuy to play Level 2 again). I'll keep this blog updated with my progress through the "Step Higher" steps, but it could be some time before I reach level 5 :)

I do have a few tips for those of you who are interested in playing these tournaments (or really for anyone who plays sit and go tournaments)...

1. Play very very tight in the beginning rounds. Many people, especially at Party Poker, take incredible risks when the blinds are only $15. You can often guarantee yourself a step replay simply but not playing during the first couple blind increases and letting the other players eat each other.

2. Play looser at the end. Once you have a rebuy locked up it's time to take some chances and gamble a little. Now that the blinds are very high you should be willing to gamble a little and apply more pressure to the blinds. This doesn't mean throwing your money away on horrible bluffs but it does mean being willing to put all your chips at risk when you believe you have the best of it.

3. Avoid tilt after a bad hand. One very common thing in single table play is that after a losing hand many players will throw all their remaining chips into the pot with almost no value. Don't do this. You have a chance to win with a chip and a (virtual) chair, so make the most of it and sit out a hand or two if you have to to avoid throwing your money away after a beat.