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Old 09-25-2007, 02:22 PM   #1
Collin Moshman
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Basic Sit \'n Go Questions Answered Here

Hi Guys,

A lot of the discussion on the 2+2 Sit 'n Go forum is fairly advanced, so if anyone here has basic questions on SNGs -- no matter how simple, I would be happy to answer. We can discuss odds, basic strategy, sample hands, anything you guys want

Best Regards,
Collin
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Old 09-25-2007, 02:31 PM   #2
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Re: Basic Sit \'n Go Questions Answered Here

What's the basic strategy for the 6man SNGs?
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Old 09-25-2007, 04:42 PM   #3
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Re: Basic Sit \'n Go Questions Answered Here

Quote:
Hi Guys,

A lot of the discussion on the 2+2 Sit 'n Go forum is fairly advanced, so if anyone here has basic questions on SNGs -- no matter how simple, I would be happy to answer. We can discuss odds, basic strategy, sample hands, anything you guys want

Best Regards,
Collin
There have been discussions in this forum regarding whether you make the best move for the tournament you're in, or whether you go with the pot odds, which might hurt you in the tournament, but make you more money over time.

How do you feel about this? For example, one table, three players cash, four left, you are the #2 stack--do you call an all-in by the big stack when you estimate your are about 52% to win the hand?
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Old 09-25-2007, 05:19 PM   #4
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Re: Basic Sit \'n Go Questions Answered Here

Hi Collin, congrats on getting your book published, I read the review in Cardplayer. I have a question about bankroll. After lurking in the STT forum all winter in 2006, I started playing SNGs on Full Tilt before or after work. It was a great way for me to get my poker fix for the day with a limited amount of time. I seemed to do all right but have had real success with mixed games live and on a few other sites. Never one to enjoy waiting for a hand, SNGs appeal to me since I can play numerous tables at once and not have it have the same negative impact on ROI as when I multitable different limit games at, say, 3/6-10/20; I tend to break about even or maybe earn a few BBs. If I plan on 4 tabling $10 & $20 regular speed SNGs on Pokerstars, what would you believe to be a proper bankroll figure? Thanks
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Old 09-25-2007, 05:31 PM   #5
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Re: Basic Sit \'n Go Questions Answered Here

My SnG question is home game related. When I am playing in a weekly Donk filled 6-10 man game, I play tight while others seem to call with any 2 cards. I try to play aces & kings with a good kicker, raise with any pocket pair higher than 8s and call with lower looking to flop. I do try and make moves in this game with Jack crap, but I get beat by Crap off suit because some nit calls with Ocho Cinco and it hits. What is the best strategy for playing in this game where they play rags and call bluffs? My cards don't come often or quick enough for me to build a stack. A typical 8 man lasts about 45 minutes. We play with markers, 40, and the blinds go up only when someone is knocked out.
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Old 09-25-2007, 05:37 PM   #6
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Re: Basic Sit \'n Go Questions Answered Here

Quote:
My SnG question is home game related. When I am playing in a weekly Donk filled 6-10 man game, I play tight while others seem to call with any 2 cards. I try to play aces & kings with a good kicker, raise with any pocket pair higher than 8s and call with lower looking to flop. I do try and make moves in this game with Jack crap, but I get beat by Crap off suit because some nit calls with Ocho Cinco and it hits. What is the best strategy for playing in this game where they play rags and call bluffs? My cards don't come often or quick enough for me to build a stack. A typical 8 man lasts about 45 minutes. We play with markers, 40, and the blinds go up only when someone is knocked out.
Can I come? I'd love to play in this game! Profit
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Old 09-25-2007, 05:45 PM   #7
Collin Moshman
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Re: Basic Sit \'n Go Questions Answered Here

Scuba, while you're playing more hands, you still basically want to play a tighter game early (relative to cash NL 6-max), open up with more steals during mid blinds, and revert to hyper-aggressive mode late. The bubble now occurs with 3 players left, so this is where you can really accumulate your chips when other players are tightening.

Poker Clif, you should decline slight chip edges such as the example you give. In fact, I give a much more extreme example of the situation you're talking about in the chapter on bubble play in Sit n Go Strategy (the infamous Hand 3-9). The basic reason is that while you are winning chips, you are losing equity (the $ value of those chips).

Danastasio, the conventional answer is around 50 buyins, so you'd want a balance of ~ $1000 to be playing the $20's. Mixed games are great, what's your favorite in the HORSE rotation? Mine's probably razz. I think most SNG players could definitely help their game by trying some other variations of poker ... gets you thinking more analytically.

Great questions so far!

-- Collin
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Old 09-25-2007, 07:00 PM   #8
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Re: Basic Sit \'n Go Questions Answered Here

Quote:
Danastasio, the conventional answer is around 50 buyins, so you'd want a balance of ~ $1000 to be playing the $20's. Mixed games are great, what's your favorite in the HORSE rotation? Mine's probably razz. I think most SNG players could definitely help their game by trying some other variations of poker ... gets you thinking more analytically.
I am a Stud hi low fan for the moment. If you get your implied odds down, your average opponent becomes your ATM, being as most tend to reveal their "direction" quite early on.
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Old 09-26-2007, 02:48 AM   #9
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Re: Basic Sit \'n Go Questions Answered Here

What's the best-size raise in SNG's?

In the Early stages I just play normal poker, raise 3x/4x the BB. In the middle stages about 3x the BB. When it becomes 3/4 handed I raise about 2,5x the BB, if people get to easily call my raises because they are not too big, I raise to 3x BB.

When it's HU I raise between 2.1 to 2.5 x the BB. If the bet-size isn't working, I adapt. You have to steal a lot (mainly in position), but if you get reraised and you have to lay it down, then you haven't had much invested in the pot. What's your opinion on bet-sizes Collin? (I play 9-man SNG's.)
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Old 09-26-2007, 03:00 AM   #10
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Re: Basic Sit \'n Go Questions Answered Here

Based upon your experience, is it more profitable to play 6-man, 9-man, or 18-man SnGs (NL Hold 'Em) and why?

BTW, Razz (and Omaha H/L) are my favorite games in mixed game format, Razz because everyone else hates it, and Omaha h/l because I like the deception that comes naturally with a split-pot game.
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Old 09-26-2007, 03:59 AM   #11
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Re: Basic Sit \'n Go Questions Answered Here

Sorry about the back-to-back posts, but I forgot to add in HU SnGs to my question above.

So yeah, it should read, based upon your experience, is it more profitable to play HU, 6-man, 9-man, or 18-man SnGs (NL Hold 'Em) and why?

Further, would you advocate playing turbos or regular if one is trying to maximize $$/hr? Are there cases of the above where playing turbos actually increases your ROI? This last question is based on my suspicion that in HU SnGs an exceptional player's ROI might actually increase slightly versus his opponents on the naive assumption that the blind pressure would affect his average opponent more adversely than himself, and due to the faster structure, affect them more quickly, thus lower their expectation and increasing said exceptional player's expectation.
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Old 09-26-2007, 07:33 AM   #12
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Re: Basic Sit \'n Go Questions Answered Here

Quote:

Danastasio, the conventional answer is around 50 buyins, so you'd want a balance of ~ $1000 to be playing the $20's.

Please forgive me for asking some questions that are not all basic.

Do you agree with that conventional answer, and if so, how would you justify it? Is that amount for turbo SNGs or regular ones, and at which stake levels, or do you believe 50 buy-ins is just good everywhere?

What ROIs do you feel are attainable at each level of non-turbo SNGs? How about live SNGs?

How much of the ROI or first place probability edge do you feel can be earned at each blind level?
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Old 09-26-2007, 12:56 PM   #13
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Re: Basic Sit \'n Go Questions Answered Here

CaptainSubText, pre-flop raise-sizing really depends on the table. As a general answer though, I tend to prefer smaller raises of around 2.5 BB unless I have 10 BB or fewer -- in which case I'll just shove. The main reason I like smaller raises is that I usually like to keep pre-flop pots small so that I can get away when I think I'm beat post-flop. The less comfortable you feel playing post-flop, the more inclined you should be to make larger 4 BB raises so as to keep the game more pre-flop (where you have the edge). One exception is low blinds where you are often correct to raise bigger at tables where a 2.5 BB raise is treated like a pot-sweetener (i.e., no one is likely to fold for a few extra chips) and you have a solid hand and don't want multiple players to see a flop.

Nsight, your first question is empirical -- that is, a good response would require the same player to play a large number of each type of SNG and compare winrates. Turbos will generally increase your $/hr, but since more pros often congregate at these games, your ROI will usually be higher in non-turbos. One exception would be if you were very good at late-game ICM-based decisions (when to shove, call an allin, resteal) but your low and mid-blind play was lacking. Then you'd usually have a higher ROI in the turbos.

pzhon, I do indeed think there are exceptions to the 50 buyin rule (although it is generally a decent answer) -- I go into this much more detail in the section on SNG Business Concepts in my book. STTF debates your remaining questions pretty vigorously ... the only thing I'll add is that I just played some live games in Vegas (mainly Mirage), and while live games certainly have softer competition than online, the astronomical rake (15-20%) and very shallow structure (starting stacks usually 20-40 BB) probably make it tough to make much of an income off these.

(BTW Nsight and Danastasio, I may be hitting you guys up for some split-pot tips -- these games are not my strongest...)
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Old 09-26-2007, 02:45 PM   #14
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Re: Basic Sit \'n Go Questions Answered Here

Quote:

pzhon, I do indeed think there are exceptions to the 50 buyin rule (although it is generally a decent answer)

I don't think it is a decent answer. It's hard to reconcile a fixed guess like that with the mathematical models unless you feel the ROI is constant across a wide variety of situations, which would be a very surprising assertion. It's like saying that the time is generally about 4:00, but there are exceptions.

If you feel it is right to have 50 buy-ins for $20 SNGs, then fewer should be right for $5 SNGs, and more should be required for $100 SNGs, unless you feel $5 and $100 SNGs should give you the same ROI, or that typical winning players at those levels have the same ROI.

If you accept the figures for turbo SNGs in the SNG FAQ (I don't), then you should need about 4.5 times as many buy-ins when you play $3.40 SNGs as when you play $335 SNGs.

I can appreciate the idea that when a model says you are safe, you might need more buy-ins due to unmodelled considerations. However, do you feel that it is ok for nonmathematical reasons to use a bankroll that the mathematical models say is unsafe? Perhaps low stakes players mistake balances for bankrolls, but it is at higher levels where the 50 buy-in guess fails most spectacularly.

Quote:

-- I go into this much more detail in the section on SNG Business Concepts in my book.
Ok. I haven't read your book. Can you describe the scope and depth of that section?

Quote:

STTF debates your remaining questions pretty vigorously ...

I was hoping that you could say something authoritative based on your careful study of SNGs. Much of the STTF discussion is quite shallow, which is why I no longer contribute to that forum.

One common idea in the STTF is that you might as well sit out in early levels and let the maniacs knock each other out. This disagrees with my impressions, but I haven't tracked my average chip count at the end of each level while using my style of tackling maniacs, much less my ICM-estimated equity. Are you aware of any such analysis?
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Old 09-26-2007, 07:13 PM   #15
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Re: Basic Sit \'n Go Questions Answered Here

Quote:
(BTW Nsight and Danastasio, I may be hitting you guys up for some split-pot tips -- these games are not my strongest...)
By all means.
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Old 09-26-2007, 10:32 PM   #16
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Re: Basic Sit \'n Go Questions Answered Here

If your just starting out with sng's how many should you get in before you explore playing multiple sng's at once?

Would 100 games give us a good idea if we understand the various concepts that will allow us earn a positive ROI?
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Old 09-27-2007, 06:18 PM   #17
Sir Folds A Lot
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Re: Basic Sit \'n Go Questions Answered Here

Quote:
Quote:

Can I come? I'd love to play in this game! Profit
Sure man, but we already have a Scuba Steve who loves to push with anything suited when he is short stacked. It is a real donk fest, but when the cards are dry, you can't do anything to win. Rarely can you push someone off the pot because they're too ignorant to fold mid pair. Their ignorance is partly because they have seen others like Scub' play with any two suitors. I took a game last night, but it has been awhile. I think I am going to drop my $20 on internet gaming.
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Old 09-29-2007, 12:15 AM   #18
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Re: Basic Sit \'n Go Questions Answered Here

I read with interest your section on sng as a business, especially the part on rake. So far after 28 sng and 5 mtt I have won $111.60 and paid $90.50 in buyins and $10.10 in fees for a profit of $11.00.
The tournaments on the site I play are usually at least 10%. The worst are the $1.00 + .20 so I don't play them even though I have a very small deposit. Where are the rake deals that are less than 10% fees?
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Old 09-29-2007, 01:15 AM   #19
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Re: Basic Sit \'n Go Questions Answered Here

When you are fairly certain a shortstacked person is pushing all in with atc, what would your minimum calling hand be on the bubble? For example, I am in the BB with 1000 chips, the sb is going to push if its folded around to him. He has 500 so if I call and lose it will cripple me. The blinds are 100/200 so folding the bb would cost 20% of my chips and just about make me tie for short stack.
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Old 09-29-2007, 02:42 AM   #20
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Re: Basic Sit \'n Go Questions Answered Here

I noticed the book focuses on the 50/30/20 model. I play on Bodog sometimes and was wondering what opinion and adjustment you make on the 30/25/20/15/10 model (Bodog Beginner tournaments)?
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Old 09-29-2007, 02:54 AM   #21
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Re: Basic Sit \'n Go Questions Answered Here

Quote:
I noticed the book focuses on the 50/30/20 model. I play on Bodog sometimes and was wondering what opinion and adjustment you make on the 30/25/20/15/10 model (Bodog Beginner tournaments)?
Related to the above, the 18-player $1.20 SNG on PokerStars pays out 4 places: 4th $1.80, 3rd $3.60, 2nd $5.40, 1st $7.20.

IN a situation like this where the jumps in income do not get bigger as you go up the ladder, is it best to try to move up one place at a time, rather than take risks to jump up more than one spot?

Specifically, is it often true that you can be 5th of 5, avoid any all-ins, play conservatively, and move up at least one spot with little risk because someone will be knocked out before I get under 10bb.
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Old 09-29-2007, 08:46 AM   #22
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Re: Basic Sit \'n Go Questions Answered Here

Okay! I have one question.

I've been playing a very slow structure SNG. How should I adjust my play?

Most of the time the blinds are less than 50/100 when there's only 3 players left and it's almost never raised before the flop (sometives they will just go all in).

Now, I don't know what to do. Should I play more speculative hands and try to flop a big hand or should I play tighter?

I'm playing a very tight game, just waiting my opponents bust out and trying to get some chips with good hands.

Also, I have no idea how should I play hands like AJs from early position. If I raise, everyone will call anyway and its annoying to play OOP.

Thanks!
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Old 09-29-2007, 01:22 PM   #23
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Re: Basic Sit \'n Go Questions Answered Here

Art, before multi-tabling, you should: (a) Be confident you are indeed a winning player (otherwise you'll just be losing more per hour!), and (b) Be able to play your game almost as well while making decisions more rapidly. What I recommend when starting to multi-table is wait until your first game reach mid-high blind play, then starting a 2nd table. This approach allows you to build tables at a comfortable pace.

youbobaa, one excellent low-stakes rake deal right now is the Stars $15+$1 turbos. You don't get such a nice rake again until you hit the $215s.

DMC0627, specific hands like that are good ones to analyze with ICM-based programs like SNGWizard. But in general, if you are getting 2:1 odds or better you need a very compelling reason not to call an allin. (I go into this in much more detail in pp. 168-175 of SNG Strategy.) In the case you give above, you're getting 8:3 on your money, and if you decline this manifestly chip-winning gamble, you could easily bubble out anyway. So while it depends on your hand and how widely you think your opponent will shove, most likely you've got a call there.


MrX and Poker Clif, regardless of payout structure, there are certain absolutes. The most important of these is that players will tighten up right before the money, since everyone wants to cash. Solid long-term winning strategy is to exploit this tendency by becoming super-aggressive and accumulating as many chips as possible during these bubble situations, be they with 4 players left or 6. You rarely want to adapt a "cruise-into-the-money" strategy because of the enormous potential for chip accumulation when nobody wants to call raises near the money.

Kav, you should play an aggressive style with 3 players left, regardless of the blinds. Raise your button widely, and if called, tend to make a continuation bet of roughly 2/3 the pot if your opponent checks, even if you miss the flop. Wait for a hand with decent value before getting involved in pots out of position. AJs is a monster during 3-way play, but earlier on you are not looking to play large pots with AJs or AQ. Consider folding or limping UTG during 9-handed play, and make a standard 3BB or so raise from mid-late position.

Keep up the good work at the tables guys!
-- Collin
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Old 09-29-2007, 03:27 PM   #24
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Re: Basic Sit \'n Go Questions Answered Here

Great book! My winnings have started going up from day 1. We just need to keep this book a secret . What is a good rate of return when playing SNG's. I'm not multitabeling yet and my rate of return is about 20% playing low SNG's.
I have no idea if that is good, or not. I know its better than negative.
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Old 09-29-2007, 04:09 PM   #25
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Re: Basic Sit \'n Go Questions Answered Here

Question about turbo reads -

If we are on a site that doesn't allow HUDs, what should we be looking out for primarily in terms on reads. I try and keep track of how many hands a player is playing, and how aggressively they play them (Well I don't try, it's second nature.) I also obviously notice if someone shows down J2o in a raised pot etc...

The problem is, in a turbo, you change through the stages of a tourney, and stacks are shifting around so fast that it's hard to know how reliable a particular aspect of my read is etc.

Do you have any general rules of thumb in this regard? Are there certain types of things to look out for that are more reliable, or more likely to be indivative of how a player is going to play through the whole tourney etc.

Just a couple of examples to clarify.

EG1. 1st hand of tourney UTG raises to 3XBB, 1 caller to the C/O who calls. He shows down trash. But he may not be playing so loose in level 3/4 as the blinds are much higher in comparison to his stack.

EH2. Player has folded all but 1 hand in first 4 levels which he never showed down. In levels 5/6 he starts by raising 3 out of the first 10 pots. (Obviously I would tag him as likely a good player at this point.) Now his VPIP is still low, how much credibility do we give his next raise?

TY.
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