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STT Strategy Discussion about the play of single table tournaments.

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Old 12-10-2007, 06:41 PM   #1
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Join Date: Jul 2005
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Single Table Tournament Forum - FAQ (New, Under Construction) ***READ BEFORE POSTING*

Single Table Tournament Forum FAQ

  • Posting hands (Titles and hand converters)
  • Auto-importing Stars hand histories into Poker Tracker
  • Bankroll requirements
  • Multitabling
  • Play in sets or continuously?
  • Variance, downswings, and sample size
  • ICM
  • Attainable ROI
  • Turbos or Regular SNGs? (Coming Soon)
  • Where to play SNGs? (Coming Soon)
  • What not to post in STTF (Coming Soon)
  • Internet Gambling FAQ (Coming Soon)
  • Policies: Web sites & screen names (Coming Soon)
  • Features: Notify moderator & Private messages (Coming Soon)
  • Using the search function (Coming Soon)
  • Rakeback (Coming Soon)
  • Definitions of common terms (Coming Soon)

1. Off topic posts should begin with OT. For example,
OT: WSOP trip report
2. Low content posts should begin with LC. For example,
LC: Handling downswings
3. For online and live casino SNGs, post the buyin in the subject. For example,
$225 - flop decision with big draw
4. For home games, put the word "home" or the phrase "home game" in the subject. For example,
Home game - how to adjust to bizarre structure?
5. Convert your hands. There are several links to hand converters:
2p2 Converted by DeucesCracked
Prego Poker (compliments of Pergesu)
Flop Turn River
Leggo Poker
note: Make sure to select 2+2 from the Format dropdown lists.

6. Post as much relevant info as possible. Posting a converted hand with relevant PaHud statistics and/or reads will get you FAR more useful responses than "I flopped top pair in the first level and got raised on the flop, should I go broke?"
Read this tutorial.
If you are playing SNGs for a living, you should have as an absolute minimum, 100 buyins in your account. 200 would be preferable. For all serious players, 100 buyins is the standard, although there is nothing wrong with taking shots at a higher level with less. You can make adjustments for this depending on how willing you are to move down in stakes after a downswing. If you don't mind jumping around stakes, as few as 30-50 buyins might be enough. However, it is preferable to only move up once you have 100 buyins at a given level so if you DO happen to go on a bad run, you won't have to move down to recover. The reason is simple... assuming you're beating a given level, you will recover quicker playing the same stakes as opposed to attempting to recover at smaller stakes.
MULTI-TABLING (courtesy of Josem)
  • Multitabling
For a winning player, playing more tables simultaneously increases hourly profit. Obviously, if you win, on average, $1 per tournament, and you are able to play 12 tournaments an hour, you will win $12/hr. Maximising $/hr is a key goal for many players, especially those who play for a living.

The best way to learn to play on multiple tables at once is to start with just one table, and then to add extra tables when you feel comfortable. If you add tables too quickly, you are likely to make more mistakes, and thus, you may go from being a winning player to a losing player.

A large number of "solid" players tend to find playing between four and eight tables simultaneously is best for them. Some people can play over 20 tables (either by playing on PokerStars, or having multiple accounts and computers with PartyPoker) and some have trouble playing more than one table. It really is a matter of personal preference.

A large number of players find that playing a high quality SNG strategy is easier when multitabling. As you will wish to get involved in less post-flop pots (due to actions being needed on other tables), you will play a naturally tighter game.
  • Multitablehelper/MTH
Multitablehelper (often referred to as MTH) is a piece of software written by 2p2er OrcaDK that allows a user to use the keyboard to control PartyPoker.

Many people find that this is a significant help when playing on many tables simultaneously. By using a keyboard rather than a mouse, you reduce the likelihood of being struck by repetitive strain injury, improve the speed with which you are able to give computer commands, and reduce misclicks.

Due to the unstable nature of the PartyPoker software, a number of players use earlier version of MTH which can be accessed here.

Many players use MTH to bind directional arrow keys, while some use an external USB numeric keypad.
Playing in sets refers to opening a handful of SNGs at the same time, and waiting for all SNGs to be finished before opening new games. Playing continuously refers to consistently maintaining a steady number of SNGs open at all time.

Reasons for playing in sets:

Reasons for playing continuously:
SNGs are, by nature, a high variance game. There are a lot of showdowns in any one game, so you are involved in a large number of situations where you are no more than a 70% or so favorite and are playing for all your chips. At times, the swings you'll go through seem unnatural and almost sickening. To compound the problem, a lot of players are continuously trying to get better and bad players often go broke. This brings the average level of competition up and therefore lowers a winning player's advantage over the field.

Breakeven stretches and downswings can last well over 1,000 games if you are playing at the highest levels. Even if you are playing lower stakes, swings can last hundreds of games. This means that to have an idea of your true win rate, you may need thousands of games. This sometimes makes it difficult for new players to know whether or not they are really beating the games. Unfortunately, that's the nature of the game we play. The best thing to do is constantly try to improve, play as your skill and bankroll allow, and simply not worry too much about swings or what your ROI is. It takes so long for numbers to normalize that your game will often change or you will move up in stakes before they've had a chance to. So it's almost futile to spend too much time worrying about how many games you've broken even over or what your ROI is. Of course this advice is more pertinent the higher you play, since higher stakes are where skill advantages are the smallest, and thusly, swings are the largest.

STT Simulations: a graphical look into variance
A small FAQ on variance
RVG's ROI simulator
ICM (courtesy of DevinLake)
  • What is ICM?
ICM models your equity in the tournament based a stack sizes, where your equity is a representation of your share of the prize pool. So, if you stack relates to 50% equity. It means you should win, on average (assuming equal skill), 50% of the prize pool. Here is a basic description of ICM by Microbet.

ICM uses the various stacks sizes at the table to determine the probability of you having a given finish distribution. Based on that distribution, your equity in the tournament can be calculated. So, for a single table tournament with a 50/30/20 payout structure, ICM is used to determine the probability of you coming 1/2/3 or out of the money. With these probabilities, a dollar value can be associated with your stack size.

If you are really inclined, here's the math:

P^m_i = prob. of mth place for ith player
P^m_i = sum_{k!=i} P^1_k*P^m-1_i(S_~k)
where S_~k is the stacks after removing the k'th stack.

The recursion is closed with:
P^1_i = S_i/sum_k S_k
  • How do you use ICM to make decisions at the table?
Well, most people use software like SNGPT and other programs, which uses ICM as part of the analysis. After a session, you can review all your hands, or hands that gave you trouble, to determine if you were making +$EV decisions.
So, when deciding if a 'move' at the table is +$EV you have to determine the equity you have based on the different scenarios that occur from that 'move'.

Looking at the simplest case where you open raise all-in, the following scenarios can occur:

- Everyone folds;
- You get called and win; or
- You get called and lose.

Programs like SNGPT assume only one person will call. Each of these scenarios results in a distinct chip distribution. So, ICM must be used for each scenario to determine your equity for each.

You then use calling ranges to determine the percentage of the time everyone folds or someone calls. Those hand ranges are then used to determine how often hero wins or loses the hand.

So, hand ranges are used in conjunction with ICM to determine the $EV of a given 'move'. Dethgrind gives a more detailed example here (archives down at the moment).

There is also some good discussion in this thread, as well as this thread of the content that you just read.
It's difficult to determine exactly what the maximum obtainable ROI is at any given level. The reason for this is pretty simple to understand. Imagine you were the BEST $5 SNG player in the world. Your ROI is higher than any other $5 regular's. You would soon realize, though, that your hourly rate would actually go up if you played $10 SNGs with a slightly lower ROI. In short, most people play whatever stakes let them maximize their hourly rate. So there's no way we'll ever know what's really obtainable at any one level since typically the players that could get that magical number move up from that level.

Having said that, we can still speculate what a very good player at a given level could maintain over a significant sample size. We can find this out by observing good players and through tracking sites such as sharkscope. So without further ado, a very good player could probably expect to have the following ROIs:

$3.40s - 18%
$6s - 16%
$16s - 14%
$27s - 12%
$60s - 10%
$114s - 8%
$225s - 6%
$335s+ - 4%

A few notes should be made on these numbers. These are based on Stars turbos. If you play a non-turbo structure, generally your ROI might increase a few points (due to the slower structure), but at the expense of your hourly rate (again, due to the slower structure). These numbers are quite applicable to major sites besides Stars. Perhaps at a smaller site with a generally worse player pool, you might find you can get a couple of points higher ROI, but again, the games fill slower at smaller sites so this increase in ROI will come at the expense of hourly rate. These numbers are also based on 9-man SNGs. Typically players find that the competition is a slight bit softer in 18-man and likewise, in 6-man SNGs. And finally, it should be stated that ROIs above these figures are possible at each level. However again, if you are capable of maintaining these figures over a large number of games, it's safe to say you are a talented SNG player.

Last edited by DevinLake; 02-15-2008 at 12:18 AM.
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