Sunday, April 30, 2006


Another Tricky Month

Lost about $550 this month, although I shouldn't really complain as it's only the second losing month in ten. Following on from an indifferent March it means I haven't really made anything since I decided to quit work :-/. If it hadn't been for winning $1600 in a 3-minute crapshoot this month would have been pretty bad ... then again if it wasn't for all the bad beats, cold decks and complete inability to win coin flips ... alright I'll shut up.

As tends to happen during a bad spell, I've been trying some different moves, some I like and will incorporate from now, some I'm still not sure about. The real problem this year is that I haven't closed any deals for 1st place, and I don't think I'm playing well 3/4 handed. But I've also found some new games to play : the $50 10-table jobs on Stars are nice, 2 finals in only 3 attempts and overall play is noticeably worse than in the standard $50 comps ; and Full Tilt have a double stack tournament at 7pm every night which is FULL of fish. It's not too hard to make the ante stage in either (about 90 minutes in) and that's where the game gets fun.

Hi Andy,

With regard to your recent form and what your were saying about playing 3/4 handed at the end of SnG's i have heard all sorts of advice. But i have found that ensuring you are in the money by playing risk averse poker when down to the final 4 is vital. I know that in a 5/3/2 SnG payout structure many good players advocate aggression and hitting the top spot regularly. But for good bankroll management and steady profit, getting in the £ 1st and then making top spot after (SnG-NOT MTT strat) are the keys to sustained success in my opinion.

good luck enfieldian.

P.S have you ever had a break from poker when things were not running well?

The chip stacks would have to be exceptionally skewed before I could go along with that.

Shooting for first will give you some extra volatility, but it will give unquestionably better returns, particularly when up against players that are concentrating on third to begin with.
You have three factors in play here:

1) The chip stacks
2) The prize distribution
3) The way other players are playing.

Empirically, you tend to get a better return by playing aggressively when it gets down to four-handed, because you have a lot of fold equity. However, if you are obviously at a table where the other three players are manic aggressors who don't know the meaning of the word "fold", then there is nothing wrong with waiting a couple of hands or so for the madmen to knock each other out. But that's a rare situation.

More frequently you will get two players looking to get in the money and one player looking for first, and you. Identify the players just looking to get in the money and exploit them.

My major error in these games has tended to be to be too willing to shoot it out with the other guy going for first. This just plays into the hands of the tight players looking to get into the money. Sometimes there is no shame in laying a hand down pre-flop even though you suspect that you are in front. His raise is right, your fold is right. You'll get back that money you have just lost by folding by stealing the weak-tight blinds next hand.

"Shooting for first" is a bit misleading term IMO. In many cases going for the first price play is equivalent to trying to get in the money play.

Let me give a simple (and incomplete) example.

5-3-2 pay out $100SNG, 4players left with 5k,2k,2k,1k. Blinds 200-400.

2k stacks are in the blinds others have folded. Now the common wisdom says that SB should push with any two. How close it is? Not very, my estimate is that folding 32o here is about -$25 mistake. In reality it may be less, as I did not discount the value of sure non-blind hands, but I doubt that it makes a big enough difference.

Pushing is right because BB will need a quite big hand to call you down with K9o/QTo/JTs/44 (even when he knows that you have a random hand) so he will call about 28% of the time. Now the true "going for first" strategy would mean calling with very thin here when in BB, which is obviously -EV.

If anyone has time and energy I would like to know is the SBs pushing range same if the payout sructure is flat ie satellite type. I bet it's the same. (Would have done this myself but I've lost the Andy's equity evaluator and cannot be arsed to use my own ones cos they are not very handy).

I'm retracting that bullshit i wrote in my 1st comment. It was written in a moment of madness where my positivity had been polarised. Go for Gold.
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