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Old 05-13-2009, 10:19 AM   #1
jackwilcox
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Post ***What should a beginner play - Sit an Go, or cash games????***

There is a tonne of threads started by new players wanting to ‘know’ whether they should play sit and go’s or cash games. The problem is there is not an answer set in stone as to what you should or should not do. Poker is a game whereby you can’t just press buttons and end up winning over the long term. You need to be able to enjoy the game, and critically assess your mistakes so you can learn from them. Furthermore, you need to be able to see where you are going right in order to build upon your skills and take your game to a new level. If you don’t enjoy the game you are playing, this isn’t going to happen and you will find yourself stuck in a rut that you can’t get out of when it comes to trying to improve.

If you have tried both cash and sit and go, you will find that you will feel more comfortable playing one over the other. This natural enjoyment and comfort within the game will go a long way to developing the skills that you need in order to move up the levels within no limit hold’em, and it is probably this one which you should pursue.

Some people struggle a lot when starting with cash games due to the fact that each pot could potentially cost them $x if they lose it. To them, this outweighs the element of being able to win $x when they take the pot down. Therefore the psychological barrier of losing will greatly affect their play and mean that they can’t play their best game. Also, in terms of the micro limit games where calling a pre flop raise might only be $0.06, some people again view the money as an absolute factor rather than a relative one and say to themselves “ahh what the hell, 6 cents is nothing, I call”. Obviously, this is the wrong way to think about things. If you find yourself thinking this way in cash games, then they probably aren’t for you. This was something I found when I first moved to cash games, and I know from reading a lot of posts that a lot of beginners also experience this psychological effect when playing too.

With sit and go’s, once you have paid the buy-in, you are able to forget about the money on each hand, as you have tournament chips instead. The motivational factor for winning comes from looking at the prize pool and being able to be a definitive ‘winner’ of a tournament. Again, for the people who enjoy sit and go’s, the element of seeing themselves with a 1st place next to their name outweighs the potential risk of losing their buy in when they place 4th. When I first started playing sit and go, I know this is what motivated me, knowing I could by regarded as the official winner and I had a pokerstars e-mail to confirm it!

In terms of game play, the main difference between the 2 is essentially that cash games have no set of correct plays and are very player dependant whereby you need to work out what each player is doing. Obviously there are standard plays in each spot, and there are some plays that will never make you money, but the possibility to manipulate opponents and make plays based on what their hands look like is a lot more apparent.

In sit and go’s, there are essentially correct and incorrect plays. Once the blinds increase so that you have less than 20 big blinds, there are fundamentally right and wrong ways to play. Your edge in these games come purely through learning the endgame strategies and very little else. Obviously there is room to make plays based on certain players (if you know the small blind is always attempting to steal you can start jamming a wider range from the big blind), but by and large, you can learn a strategy to beat $2 sit and go’s which will still be able to beat $20 sit and go’s too.


Ok so profit potential...

Well obviously if you get up to playing like NL1000 then there is extreme scope for profit in terms of actual $$$. In fact, being able to beat NL100, or possibly even NL50 can generate $50 an hour depending on number of tables and win rate. For those of you don’t use poker tracker/ hold’em manager, I certainly recommend it. For those of you who do, you will probably know that 10ptbb/100 (20bb) is extremely good, and 5ptbb/100 (10bb) is still a very good win rate, which probably a more realistic and sustainable win rate for the majority of people. At .01/0.2, a 5ptbb/100 win rate equates to 20 cents per 100 hands. Assuming you can play 5 tables; this is about $0.80 an hour (each table will play roughly 80 hands and hour). As you can see, the profit potential isn’t great for cash games at the micros unless you can mass table (12+) however, if you mass table you won’t be improving your skills, which should be your primary aim if u chose to pursue cash.

For sit and go’s, I’m not entirely sure how ROI is calculated, and I’m certainly not going to try and explain here. However, from experience, I estimate that you could make a profit per game of roughly 10% of the buy in quite easily (if u play $20 buy-ins you could make $2 per game on average pretty easily in my opinion). Therefore if you buy in to a sit and go for $2 you could probably make an average of $0.20 per game pretty quickly. The interesting thing with sit and go’s is that you can mass table them easily, and once u learn a set strategy you can move up the stakes very quickly, as play at higher levels is pretty similar to the lower ones. So therefore you could be 10 tabling $2 sit and go’s, for roughly $2 an hour, making over double what you would be at cash games, whilst still playing correctly/ unexploitably for the most part.
The only problem in terms of sit and go’s is that they get to a stage where you literally won’t have an edge because everyone is playing a correct strategy. This will occur at like the $100 buy in’s though so if you are starting at $10< you probably don’t need to worry. Just bear in mind that if you want to start making $50+ an hour, you will probably have to switch to cash games at some point.

So in terms of what games to play, it depends on what you want from poker. If you are looking to build a roll quickly and have a problem psychologically with playing for small amount of money (e.g. you chase draws because “its only 20 cents” without thinking about pot odds) then sit and go’s are probably going to be best.

If you are looking grind up a bankroll and you don’t really mind how long it takes, but you want to be able to beat higher stakes games and potentially go pro in the future, then I would certainly recommend cash games. Whilst you might not make a great hourly in the beginning, once you get the ball rolling and move up you will have a massive edge in cash games over someone who has built a roll from sit and go’s and is just switching over to cash.

As an end note, I certainly would not recommend switching between the 2 when you are learning. Once you become a winner at both games you will recognise there is a huge difference between the 2. Playing with 100 big blinds or more is a lot different to playing with 30 big blinds, and you will get into such tricky spots if you try taking a sit and go strategy to a cash table. for example, when your AK gets raised on an AJ8 flop you will have a really harder time playing with 150 big blind stacks, even though by this time in a sit and go when u have 20 big blinds you will effectively be all in.
You will also find your play is affected in sit and go’s where you will never really have the implied odds to call or float a flop bet like you would in a cash game, and therefore get yourself into trouble just draining away chips trying to hit draws

Last edited by jackwilcox; 05-13-2009 at 10:33 AM.
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Old 05-13-2009, 11:23 AM   #2
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Re: ***What should a beginner play - Sit an Go, or cash games????***

This should be a sticky since this question comes up 3x a day in a new thread
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Old 05-13-2009, 11:27 AM   #3
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Re: ***What should a beginner play - Sit an Go, or cash games????***

I think you forgot the variance of each
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Old 05-13-2009, 11:47 AM   #4
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Re: ***What should a beginner play - Sit an Go, or cash games????***

T-up
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Old 05-13-2009, 11:53 AM   #5
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Re: ***What should a beginner play - Sit an Go, or cash games????***

wow, nice thread, thx, i am switching between SNG and cash game, SNG is mainly for my BR building cus i don't want to grind 2NL or 5NL, i need a roll that is good enough for 50NL or higher.
i know if you play x amount of hand that on micro lvl, you will have better understanding the basic and your actual game play and winrate, if you build from grund up then you will have bigger edge than those who just jump to the higher lvl.
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Old 05-13-2009, 12:28 PM   #6
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Re: ***What should a beginner play - Sit an Go, or cash games????***

as for variance, well thats a hard thing to quantify as it depends on the player and playing style. i dont know enough to accurately attempt to answer expectations of variance unfortunately



Last edited by Cry Me A River; 05-13-2009 at 07:57 PM.
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Old 05-13-2009, 12:32 PM   #7
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Re: ***What should a beginner play - Sit an Go, or cash games????***

nice thread, worth a sticky so all the numbnut newbies stop asking "SHOULD I GO CASH R SIT N GO OMG"



Last edited by Cry Me A River; 05-13-2009 at 07:57 PM.
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Old 05-13-2009, 12:48 PM   #8
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Re: ***What should a beginner play - Sit an Go, or cash games????***

Quote:
Originally Posted by jackwilcox View Post
what is anyone gaining from that?? if u werent interested in it u would have stopped after the first paragraph.

as for variance, well thats a hard thing to quantify as it depends on the player and playing style. i dont know enough to accurately attempt to answer expectations of variance unfortunately
Just the basics; SNGs have a ton and the swings are very swingy, Cash not so much

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nice thread, worth a sticky so all the numbnut newbies stop asking "SHOULD I GO CASH R SIT N GO OMG"
IM SORRY



Last edited by Cry Me A River; 05-13-2009 at 07:58 PM.
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Old 05-13-2009, 06:41 PM   #9
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Re: ***What should a beginner play - Sit an Go, or cash games????***

outstanding post, as usual Jack. ty
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Old 05-14-2009, 03:03 AM   #10
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Re: ***What should a beginner play - Sit an Go, or cash games????***

ahhh I see what you're trying to pull. You're trying to make it to the Beginners Stickies if you do make it to the micro NL stickies I'll read it again xD Good post though but I already asked the question and you answered muahahaha
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Old 05-14-2009, 03:31 AM   #11
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Re: ***What should a beginner play - Sit an Go, or cash games????***

I've always wondered what hourly i could make playing cash as opposed to sng's. I don't even know which is more profitable assuming similar level of play at each. But since I virtually never play cash I have no idea of the answer.

The 10% ROI you mention in sng's is hugely dependent on the field size. 10% at STT's is pretty good , 10% at MTT's is nothing special, 10% at HU (which I totally suck at) would be very good I imagine.

At the moment I'm focussing on DoN's to grind out a decent hourly. I believe I can make in the order of $50/hr playing 20's and 50's but I need a much larger sample to see if I'm really doing this. To date I've probably played about 4000 of them but have been mainly mucking around and not concentrating for most of those and have only started really taking them seriously in the last month or so.

I'd like to know what you need to be playing to make $50/hr playing cash. i have no idea. Looking at turbo DoN's for example the numbers seem fairly straightforward to me. If you're 12-tabling say a combo of $20 and $50 in sets of 12 (taking 45-55 minutes total) you need to win 7 or 8 out of 12 to make about $50/hr. I think this is sustainable though not necessarily easily given how simple the formula for these are and the fact that most people know how to play them.
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Old 05-14-2009, 03:49 AM   #12
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Re: ***What should a beginner play - Sit an Go, or cash games????***

I also generally recommend cash games, though I'm a sit'n'go junky myself.

However, I think the people who mechanically try to grind sit'n'gos are VASTLY underrating the complexity of the game and strategy. There is no such phenomenon as a table full of perfect unexploitable players playing exactly "correct" strategy. Rather, there are players who are *not exploiting one another* because they're using the *same robotic strategy.* They find the strategy unexploitable because they personally are not exploiting it, and it's resistant to their own approach. The problem with rising to higher stakes in sitn'gos is the same as the problem of rising in cash games: the play is tougher. Some can hack it in the lower stakes, but not the higher. Some conclude that if their usual approach doesn't beat the higher stakes, the higher stakes are unbeatable. But they're merely harder.

I've never encountered an unexploitable player. The biggest problem with sitn'gos, as I see it, is that you're paying about 9% on your action, and it can be tough to overcome the higher stakes players by enough of an edge to overcome the takeout, plus keep enough for yourself.

I've seen some mega-multi-table sit'n'go players who "beat" the game by getting a 1-2% ROI and expect that to pay decently just through mass volume. I personally have seen that I can't play my best game even on two tables, though I can still play reasonably effectively on up to three tables... I just think, especially beginners, you must strive to be more than "reasonably effective." Striving to be your best is an impossible goal if you plunge into multi-tabling too early, or follow a forumlaic, mechanical approach to the game.
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Old 05-14-2009, 07:30 AM   #13
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Re: ***What should a beginner play - Sit an Go, or cash games????***

good post
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Old 05-14-2009, 08:30 AM   #14
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Re: ***What should a beginner play - Sit an Go, or cash games????***

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Originally Posted by sqwerty12 View Post

The 10% ROI you mention in sng's is hugely dependent on the field size. 10% at STT's is pretty good , 10% at MTT's is nothing special, 10% at HU (which I totally suck at) would be very good I imagine.

At the moment I'm focussing on DoN's to grind out a decent hourly. I believe I can make in the order of $50/hr playing 20's and 50's but I need a much larger sample to see if I'm really doing this. To date I've probably played about 4000 of them but have been mainly mucking around and not concentrating for most of those and have only started really taking them seriously in the last month or so.

I'd like to know what you need to be playing to make $50/hr playing cash. i have no idea. .
i was talking about 6 man sit and go's i think i put that in brackets next to the ROI i mentioned. of course that is not crushing, that is just beating the game well. i never really focused that much into SnG because i just switched over to cash once i had built my roll to 2k.

thats really good with the DoN's, the problem is that people are getting better at them all the time, and i think if u have a table of 8 regs and 2 fish its going to be extremely hard to continually cash in them.

i used to make $50 an hour playing 50NL when i was 12 tabling. dont know/ care if that was sustainable cos i just moved up to 100NL when i was rolled. 100NL is pretty easy to make $50 an hour if u can beat it pretty well. obv from there on up, its just more and more
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Old 05-14-2009, 09:23 AM   #15
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Re: ***What should a beginner play - Sit an Go, or cash games????***

great post
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Old 05-14-2009, 10:45 AM   #16
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Re: ***What should a beginner play - Sit an Go, or cash games????***

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nice thread, worth a sticky so all the numbnut newbies stop asking "SHOULD I GO CASH R SIT N GO OMG"

Why u gotta be callin newbies numbnuts?
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Old 05-14-2009, 12:03 PM   #17
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Re: ***What should a beginner play - Sit an Go, or cash games????***

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Why u gotta be callin newbies numbnuts?
B/c your a newb, numbnuts. Good day sir, you lose!
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Old 05-14-2009, 12:14 PM   #18
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Re: ***What should a beginner play - Sit an Go, or cash games????***

id prefer sngs bc online cash games r tougher nowadays..
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Old 05-14-2009, 12:16 PM   #19
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Re: ***What should a beginner play - Sit an Go, or cash games????***

Nice post, Jack, as per usual a help to all beginners and no doubt this'll be a lot of help to the masses of players who ask the same question ~34 times per week .
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Old 05-14-2009, 12:20 PM   #20
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Re: ***What should a beginner play - Sit an Go, or cash games????***

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Originally Posted by grindin my way up! View Post
id prefer sngs bc online cash games r tougher nowadays..
o yea for sure cash games are always getting more difficult. my thread wasnt intended to sway people one way of the other. all i was describing is the difference between the 2 and the profit potential of both.

fwiw, i started with SnG and found them much easier than cash. but that doesnt mean if i was starting out i would play SnG... i much prefer cash, and tbh wish i had played it from the beginning because it wud make me a much better player now
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Old 05-14-2009, 02:49 PM   #21
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Re: ***What should a beginner play - Sit an Go, or cash games????***

Bump
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Old 05-31-2009, 08:04 PM   #22
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Re: ***What should a beginner play - Sit an Go, or cash games????***

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nice thread, worth a sticky so all the numbnut newbies stop asking "SHOULD I GO CASH R SIT N GO OMG"

Join date: Feb 09....

I'd probably say you're still a "numbnut newbie"
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Old 05-31-2009, 08:11 PM   #23
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Re: ***What should a beginner play - Sit an Go, or cash games????***

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Originally Posted by OllyPrior89 View Post
Join date: Feb 09....

I'd probably say you're still a "numbnut newbie"
join date February not when I started playing dumbass, but then again someone as stupid as you to bump a thread from 2 weeks ago just to post a 10 word useless piece of **** garbage comment on a side remark that I made jokingly directed at one person who I am freinds with, this simple concept is probably above your head.

With your retarded reasoning your telling me that you have only started playing in April, 09 which I bet you isn't the case.

Shoot, swish, score, owned your face, go smoke another joint you dumbass pothead

gooday

Last edited by Timmex; 05-31-2009 at 08:19 PM.
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Old 05-31-2009, 08:43 PM   #24
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Re: ***What should a beginner play - Sit an Go, or cash games????***

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go smoke another joint you dumbass pothead

gooday
that did actually make me laugh, i take it that statement was aimed at my avatar...

anyway, "numbnut newbie" was referring to them being new to the forums, not new to poker
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Old 05-31-2009, 11:23 PM   #25
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Re: ***What should a beginner play - Sit an Go, or cash games????***

righteous post.
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