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My Double or Nothing strategy guide (long read with vids) My Double or Nothing strategy guide (long read with vids)

07-30-2010 , 04:36 PM
Guide to playing double or nothings.

Since i turned away from double or nothings due to the colluding troubles in the high stakes i figured it would not be too bad to share some of my thoughts on double or nothings with you guys.

Introduction

I am (was) a long time regular on the high stakes double or nothings on stars. Played that for the last year and a half.

The game of double or nothing was introduces about two years ago on pokerstars. It is a game format offered in both turbo and normal speed games. We start the sng with ten players, top 5 double their buyin. Besides pokerstars this game is also offered on Cake poker and on the ongame network. Traffic is absolutely the best on pokerstars though. In this article i refer to the diffirent positions on the table as follow:

Seat 1 to 3 = early position
Seat 4 to 7 = middle position
Seat 8 to 10 = late position
Hijack = position 8
Cutoff = position 9
Button = position 10



Early game tactics (levels 10/20, 15/30)

This is the easy part of dons, it consists of basicly doing nothing. The general nature of double or nothings are is surviving. We do not need to accumulate chips early on, so that is what our tactic will be. But we are also not gonna let +EV spots pass on us.

Another very important concept is keeping your ďsteal stackĒ. Preserving your stack (around 1500) is very valuable when we get to later levels. This also why we sometimes want to set a little more pace if we lost a few chips and see ourselves sitting with a 1200 stack at these small levels. When that happens, try and find spots to accumulate a few extra chips so we can get out stack ďsteal readyĒ for the 25/50 and 50/100 levels. Because everybody is playing so tight you would be surprised how easy it is to steal a few times to get that stack to around 1500. It is the difference between being able to accumulate chips later on and having to wait for a push spot. We will get to that later. Minimum risk and keeping your stack healthy are the main goals in these levels.

I am gonna break this level down with you by explaining how to play the diffirent types of hands.

Playing small pairs from early and mid position

From early position we fold all non paired hands with the exception of AK (which we will discuss later). With these blindlevels, limping small pocket pairs is pretty +EV. Especially at the lower limits you might get a few callers behind you giving you nice odds to setmine those small pairs. With small pairs i mean everything below QQ. You might be surprised by this, but raising JJ and getting called will almost always get you in an awkward spot preflop. Because overs will flop appx. 40% of the time. The main goal in these low levels when playing small pocket pairs is to hit big while risking the minimum number of chips. As a general rule of thumb i call with small pairs if someone 3xís me, but wit no other callers i fold preflop if someone isolates me with a bigger raise. Example: i limp 88 from early position in 10/20 level and the button reraises me to 80 then i fold. When we have multiple callers and the button raises, i call the 80 raise hoping others come along. Basicly i only setmine. If you do hit on the flop you can play it fast. Just take a bet/bet/bet or checkraise/bet/bet line. Limping these hands from early position is basicly playing you hand face-up but you would be surprised how many people canít let go of their overpair (Be sure that you are a player who is willing to let go off their overpair!!).

Playing small pairs from late position

From late position i always raise any pair. This basicly has two reasons: first, against the regulars you want to play the pairs the same as you would play QQ, KK, AA (which you 3x also from any position) and if you do get called your hand is better disguised. When you face a reraise, just fold. You are not getting the odds to setmine, and you do very bad against their range. Be happy to take down the pot uncontested.

Playing small pairs against a raise

Basicly there is a simple rule for this: if there is a raise in front of you and there are no caller you fold ALL your pairs smaller then QQ. Yes, i know folding JJ seems weak but think about the raising range of your opponent. There are not that many hands in his raising range that we have good equity against. Is he raising TT? Because that is the only hand in villains range that we can do well against. Yes we are about 50/50 against AK/AQ hands. But remember, our main goal in these early levels is to stay out of troubles way and JJ in a raised pot is very hard postflop.

Playing big hands from any position

When we have the pleasure of getting dealt a premium hand (QQ/KK/AA) we have a very simple decision at these early levels. When we open the action we 3x raise. Most of the times we get one caller and we will play the hand out of position which has an impact on how we want to play the hand. If we reraise a limper then we are basicly crushing his range AND we will be playing in position for most of the time. I will give some little extra info on the diffirent situations we encounter when playing our premiums.

Playing QQ/KK with one or more callers

If we get multiple callers we have to play the hand very cautiously, because we do not want to get in big trouble with one pair hands. If we get one caller, which is most likely to happen, itís a different scenario. Let say we have QQ/KK and we get one caller and flop comes A83. For some odd reason that A always flops doesnít it?? From this point on our goal is to get to showdown as cheap as possible. The check/call line seems very weak, but it is the best way to keep the pot small. When oop check calling the flop is an OK move, we can then check the turn and reevaluate. If villain puts in a second bet on that Axxx board we are gonna have to give him credit for the A or the set. My general rule is that in early levels i want to have 1 bet in the pot with that QQ/KK underpair on a A high board. If the opponent checks the turn behind we can hope to go to showdown, based on your read you can check/call a modest River bet from villain, but thatís really opponent dependent. If he is loose you might get away with that. But remember, opponents hardly ever bluff in donís.

If we 3x, get one caller and we flop the overpair, the hand basicly plays itself. We bet flop big (around pot), when the oponent stays in the hand we can then fire a second bet on the turn when the blank hits, or we can check the hand on the turn. I like the check on the turn for two reasons: 1) keeps the pot smaller 2) we might extract some more on the river from a weaker hand. However, we are gonna play this cautiously because we are almost always out of position. When we have this overpair and villain calls our bet, we have to be carefull. As a rule of thumb you can set your Ďbets goalí at 2. Which means we will be happy to get a second bet in, but more then that could be troublesome. So letís say we can bet the turn and we get checkraised. Eventhough it seems weak to fold KK or QQ there it is something you should get used to doing. Lets break this down a little more with a hand example:

Preflop: Hero raise 60, villain calls 60. pot = 150 (including the blinds)
Flop: Hero bets 120, villain calls 120. pot = 390
Turn: Hero bets 250, villain raises to 800, HERO?????

Do you see why we get in trouble here? That pot is getting wayyyy too big for us know. In later levels this is a nobrainer push obviously, but not in early levels! This why i recommend to slow down with overpairs when you are called on the flop. Als see the great advantage we have here when we are in position. But you will play most big hands oop in these dons.

When there are more callers then you should play your hand very cauiously, keeping the two bets rule in mind.


Playing AK

AK is actually a very easy hand to play. If we flop top pair, top kicker we will be aiming at two bets. If we flop something like a flushdraw with two overs play it passively. Just check/call. Do not risk more then needed. Bluffraising is just spewy at these early levels, because if our bluff works we win a small pot and if we get called we are up against a hand that beats us a lot of the time. Just take the passive route and be safe. All in all we want to win a small to medium sized pot with AK. If we are I position we can take a stab when itís checked to you on the flop.


Playing AA

Playing Aces basicly is the same, when you 3x this and get raised be happy to fourbet. People hardly ever bluff so you have to give them credit for a legitimate hand. Which is great for us, most players canít lay down QQ and KK and only some can lay down AK. So take your chances and 4 bet the crap out of those 3bets!

When you get called just play it fast on the flop and the turn. If you play against a tight mofo and he reraises you allin on a pretty dry board, you are gonna have to call it off. I basicly only fold AA on 4-to-flush or 4-to-straight turns.


Medium levels (25/50, 50/100)

At these levels we are going to try and accumelate chips by playing tight and playing our position occasionaly. This means we will still be waiting for premiums but setmining drops in value. All the hands we would limp in 10/20 and 15/30 level we are going to fold now. From late position we keep raising all pairs. We raise JJ+ from any position.

I will break these medium levels down by giving a little extra insight on the diffirent positions. Playing your hands starts becoming less important and your position is increasingly important. In these levels we donít want to take to much risk, but we want to keep our stack around 1500 and possible improve it.
My Double or Nothing strategy guide (long read with vids) Quote
07-30-2010 , 04:37 PM
Early and Middle position
At 25/50 we donít limp anymore. We only raise our premiums from early position, but we include JJ in that range. In general you can make 2.5x raises (to 125). In the microís you see people start openpushing hands in these blindlevels. Donít be inclined to do so. Itís just not worth the risk. My experience with these openpushes is that is almost always an AK/AQ or pairs smaller then QQ that openpush in these levels. So donít be afraid to call those allins with QQ/KK/AA.

Late position
This is where the fun starts. We now have established a image at the table as a supertight nit. The other players have seen that correctly and itís true, but now we are gonna try and steal some chips. If you have Holdem manager, the [small blind fold to steal] and [big blind fold to steal] percentages should be in your HUD. From the tight players we are going to try and steal a few chips. Remember, that with the turbo structure, the ten handed play and the occasions someone in front of you raises the steal spots donít come around that often. As in any game we donít want to wait for cards that donít come so when we get the chance to steal we are going to try it. I always like to make stealraises from the hijack and cutoff. Try stealing with hands that contain blockers for the repush range of the blinds. Hands like Ax, QK and Kx are very good steal hands, but also hands that flop well like JQs and 9Ts. Donít overdo it, but try to pick your spots. If you know you have three nit regulars on your left you can basicly open wider (like top 30%). Donít look at your cards too much, keep the table dynamics and player tendencies in mind. At this stage there is basicly no diffirence between getting dealt 88 or getting dealt 73. You are bluffing with both hands because you are gonna fold to a reraise anyway. If you make a steal donít be inclined to overplay it. Play 99 the same you would play 73o. because the main goal of the steals at 25/50 is to keep your ďsteal stackĒ in good shape.

The steal stack
What i call the steal stack is in my opinion a very valuable concept. We want to keep our stack at a level in which it is possible to make steals in later levels while being able to fold to action. A lot of the players start overpushing wayyyy to early in dons. Donít be one of them.

There is a huge diffirense in having a 1200 stack (which nits have when arriving at 50/100 level) and having a 1650 stack. With a 1650 stack we can make two steals in the 50/100 level and get away from the hand if we are repopped. Only after those two steals we have a 10bb stack and are gonna have to push. However, with a 12bb stack there is basicly no room to make bluffs because a simple steal of 250 would give us a 9.5bb stack.

So our tactic in the 25/50 level is to gain chips to set up our stack to be a ďsteal stackĒ rathert hen an ďall in stackĒ. Which it will be when we donít steal in earlier levels.

Playing from the blinds
In the 10/20 and 15/30 levels we just openfolded our crap from the small blind. In the later levels, you cannot pass on these spots anymore. Again it is very player dependend on how you are gonna play your hand. We can open very wide against most players and i would recomment to do so. Just 3x raises in the 25/50 level will tell you what kindoff player is on your left. If he repushes you light, we just fold. And see if he does it again. A lot of players just fold to your raises from the big blind, so itís way better then going allin. When your stack is smaller then 8bb (<900 chips effective) you can start shipping it in from the small blind.

There is also the situation where you are in the BB people start stealing from you. How tempting shipping it in light seems, donít be to aggressive. Offcourse if villain tryís it for the third time you can make a stand, but play tight from the blinds. Just donít make too much fancy moves. If you have holdem manager you can use the [steal from cutoff], [steal from button] and [steal from SB] percentages to see if villain raises a high percentage. Use those stats to your advantage, but remember: accumalating chips with steals is much more affective then repushing someone allin. Eventhough people start stealing, they are very tight in general so donít protect your blind too much.

Late levels (75/150 and 100/200)
So if we followed the guide and nothing really strange happens we either have a healthy stack now, or we are at around 8-10bb. The size of your stack plays a huge role in the strategy we are gonna use now, so i will break it down according to the size of our stack.

Around 10bb stack
At the 75/150 level with a 10bb stack we can make one steal and get off the hand we get reraised. Say we can steal with a raise to 400 in 75/150 level, and get away wit hit. If we have a < ten BB stack, this kind off steals are getting nearly impossible. This is the main reason we want that stack up to at least 1800 by the time we are at 75/150. Always try and pinpoint your opponents to steal from. If there are 4 or 5 tight players on your left donít be afraid to make that steal with hands like KQ. Remember that with the average stacksize the only move fort hem to play back at you is with a reraise allin, which is very ĖEV to do in a double or nothing. While making these steals always keep an eye out on the stacksizes of the players between you obviously. If some tight player with like 800 left is in the blinds and you find JQ on the button itís generally better to just openshove. I like that better than raise calling, because you put so much more pressure on them. And in fact it is correct fort hem to fold 90% of their hands there.

When you drop to a <8bb stack on 75/150 level there is really not much more you can do but wait for good spots to ship it in. Remember, donít wait for good cards! Wait for good SPOTS. A commenly made mistake amongs many regulars is that they wait to long. It doesnít happen often enough that you get in a late position spot where it is folded to you to wait for a good spot to shove. Also remember that you have HUGE fold equity in these levels. Try and attack the medium stacks if you have a 8bb stack. Because when you shove your 800 in a opponent with a 1600 stack itís gonna be damn hard for them to call you without a premium hand. Also try and attack the regulars with stacks a little over 2k at the 75/150 and 100/200 level. If you wait longer your Fold Equity will be gone.

Defending during 75/150 Ė 100/200 level
Defending in double or nothings is pretty hard. But we have statistics to help us. As you will see later, calling ranges in donís are extremely tight because it doesnít matter whether you finish first or fifth. Basicly only reraise with your premium hands. Just be ultra tight when someone opens. If you see someone trying to run over the table you can try to make a stand and reraise from the blinds or late position. But only do that with premiums and when you have a stack that can spare it. Try to avoid allins against other bigstacks and try to put pressure on smaller stacks, by reraising allin with your premiums. Donít try to defend light, because itís ĖEV. If you do want to make a stand make sure they have high steal stats and make sure their fold to 3bet percentage is high. Those two combined are signals for players who often steal with crappy hands.

Late levels > 100/200
During these later levels we either have a healthy stack or we are in shove/fold mode. If we have a bigstack we can play tight, but keep focus on the table and keep making a steal every once in while to keep your stack OK. You would be surprised how fast you blind from a 3k stack to 1800 stack at these blindlevels. Always maintain your healthy stack by putting pressure on medium stacks, or make the small stacks decide for their tournament life. But donít overdo it, keep the balance. During these levels itís mostly seven handed so you can pretty easy see which stacks donít want to get in trouble. Thatís also the way to go when you are one of the medium stacks, put the pressure on other medium stacks, when you are in position. If we are even with other stacks and we are in a fight for fifth or sixth, donít wait around, being the agressor with a smaller stack is way better then blinding out, as you see some players do.



Wrap up
So here i end my guide for playing double or nothings. I have had a great timing playing them and eventhough i stopped playing them i want to thank all the regulars i had so much fun with playing.

As a conclusion i also have a instruction video where you can see these tactics put to practice. Some of you might agree or disagree with some of the advice i gave. That is not important, take from it what works for you and what helps you improve!

Letís teach those chinese ****ers how double or nothings are played!!!


And last, the icing on the cake:

50$ Multitable video (sound not that good, use headphones and itís fine):
xhttp://www.megaupload.com/?d=SH9XOAS9

50$ Hand reviewer analyses:
xhttp://www.megaupload.com/?d=WSO10KLB

Enjoy, Kind Regards,

DQS
My Double or Nothing strategy guide (long read with vids) Quote
07-30-2010 , 05:16 PM
Nice guide.
My Double or Nothing strategy guide (long read with vids) Quote
07-30-2010 , 07:26 PM
Let's try this again, guys, before I have to hand out any serious infractions.
My Double or Nothing strategy guide (long read with vids) Quote
07-30-2010 , 07:48 PM
Looks good. Will read later.

Thanks
My Double or Nothing strategy guide (long read with vids) Quote
07-30-2010 , 10:51 PM
Thank you very much for your time and effort.
My Double or Nothing strategy guide (long read with vids) Quote
07-31-2010 , 12:25 AM
Thanks for the guide. It was extremely thorough and well thought out. I like it I wanted to watch the video, but it did not work for me.
My Double or Nothing strategy guide (long read with vids) Quote
07-31-2010 , 02:07 AM
nice work DQS
My Double or Nothing strategy guide (long read with vids) Quote
07-31-2010 , 05:30 AM
Nice post DQS, enjoyed reading it like a gr8 movie

Always some things here and there that's done different, but concepts are same same. I like that you stress SPOTS not HANDS (cannot be done enough). Jason Kobe is the **** for a "how-to" here.

Be nice to add a section for high blinds/ full table (9-10 left), as dons today seem to last longer with more players late. 7 handed at 100/200 is not the standard anymore, imo. Playing those kind of table set ups good --> great, has become more and more important.
My Double or Nothing strategy guide (long read with vids) Quote
07-31-2010 , 05:40 AM
what are you playing now?
My Double or Nothing strategy guide (long read with vids) Quote
07-31-2010 , 05:44 AM
extremely kind of you to spend so long on this

wp
My Double or Nothing strategy guide (long read with vids) Quote
07-31-2010 , 06:29 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by rizeagainst
what are you playing now?
HU sng's. i suck at those obviously lol
My Double or Nothing strategy guide (long read with vids) Quote
07-31-2010 , 06:31 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alexnorge
Nice post DQS, enjoyed reading it like a gr8 movie

Always some things here and there that's done different, but concepts are same same. I like that you stress SPOTS not HANDS (cannot be done enough). Jason Kobe is the **** for a "how-to" here.

mehh once saw a few videos from jasonkobe. i was not impressed, if someone can tell you how to wait for good HANDS it's him.
My Double or Nothing strategy guide (long read with vids) Quote
07-31-2010 , 07:14 AM
May I ask wot ur ROI was in the DoN's and why don't u go back now the cheating's sorted?
My Double or Nothing strategy guide (long read with vids) Quote
07-31-2010 , 07:20 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by DQS
mehh once saw a few videos from jasonkobe. i was not impressed, if someone can tell you how to wait for good HANDS it's him.
wait. what? I gotta watch your vids now.. sigh
My Double or Nothing strategy guide (long read with vids) Quote
07-31-2010 , 08:48 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by RagzToRiches
now the cheating's sorted?
you serious?
ps you could better things than watch them mate
My Double or Nothing strategy guide (long read with vids) Quote
07-31-2010 , 09:10 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by RagzToRiches
May I ask wot ur ROI was in the DoN's and why don't u go back now the cheating's sorted?
it is not sorted, and ps can't sort it. i have around 8% roi on $52 turbo's on large sample.
My Double or Nothing strategy guide (long read with vids) Quote
07-31-2010 , 11:02 AM
It's not sorted? Oh thought the chinese were banned. 8% is very good at that stake.
My Double or Nothing strategy guide (long read with vids) Quote
07-31-2010 , 12:38 PM
OP, thanks for taking the time to compile and post this. I'm sure there's a lot of people who will find this valuable.

Last edited by TruFloridaGator; 07-31-2010 at 02:57 PM.
My Double or Nothing strategy guide (long read with vids) Quote
07-31-2010 , 03:53 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by DQS
... i have around 8% roi on $52 turbo's on large sample.
8% ROI at the $52 DoNs? That's hard to believe, to be honest, at least from what I read about the toughness of the higher-limit games in the past year or so. But then your advice also seems to imply pretty soft games, so perhaps both ROI and advice are a little outdated?
My Double or Nothing strategy guide (long read with vids) Quote
07-31-2010 , 04:12 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by micha1100
8% ROI at the $52 DoNs? That's hard to believe, to be honest, at least from what I read about the toughness of the higher-limit games in the past year or so. But then your advice also seems to imply pretty soft games, so perhaps both ROI and advice are a little outdated?
over 2009 it was 8% dropped when the cheating started around januari, i then dropped to a mere 3% ROI. Video is also from 2009. It is true that games were softer then, but the same principals apply.
My Double or Nothing strategy guide (long read with vids) Quote
08-01-2010 , 05:45 PM
do you ever go back to the occasional DoN DQS?

just to see how they are playing, for old time's sake, see a few of the familiar boys and girls? were you a turbo/non-turbo face? i couldnt tell one way or t'other in your post (though i may be blind) and assume that if i watched the video i would know. but like a previous poster, i haven't been able to watch it yet. i have joined megaupload.com, but putting SH9XOAS9 into it doesnt seem to... yeah, i aint that computer savy

have you considered playing DoN's on the so-called softer sites?

if not, just somehow seems a shame to waste a wealth of knowledge/experience on those HU sng's
My Double or Nothing strategy guide (long read with vids) Quote
08-01-2010 , 07:15 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by TvSa
do you ever go back to the occasional DoN DQS?

just to see how they are playing, for old time's sake, see a few of the familiar boys and girls? were you a turbo/non-turbo face? i couldnt tell one way or t'other in your post (though i may be blind) and assume that if i watched the video i would know. but like a previous poster, i haven't been able to watch it yet. i have joined megaupload.com, but putting SH9XOAS9 into it doesnt seem to... yeah, i aint that computer savy

have you considered playing DoN's on the so-called softer sites?

if not, just somehow seems a shame to waste a wealth of knowledge/experience on those HU sng's

i played turbo's and have played on softer sites, but those are hard to multitable for me.
My Double or Nothing strategy guide (long read with vids) Quote
08-02-2010 , 09:36 AM
Great guide....some very helpful stuff here...thank you for sharing.

But I'm relatively a new player (about 9 months)...play mainly at Full Tilt....but am thinking about making a deposit at PokerStars....primarly for the DoN SNGs....so I was pleased to find this information at this time.

But what is all the talk about cheating?? That's new to me. I heard, awhile back about some "robots" getting caught over at UB.net....but that's about it. Never heard anything about cheating at PS. Can you tell me more.....before I invest there????

Also....I'd be playing at the $10 DoN level.....does this strategy work well at that level??
My Double or Nothing strategy guide (long read with vids) Quote
08-02-2010 , 10:57 AM
the videos work, just copy the link in the browser and wait 45 second for the free download button to appear.... gl.
My Double or Nothing strategy guide (long read with vids) Quote

      
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