12/19/07 Single Table SnG’s

A pretty successful day.  I played in several single table SnG’s.  $10 and $20 buy-ins.  I also played in several heads-up battles ($5 and $2 buy-ins).  For the single table games there was only one match where I didn’t place in the money.  In the heads-up battles – same thing.  So in (at least) 75% of the total matches I cashed…bueno! 

4 things I think added up to the day’s success: 
1)  I stuck with my low % of flops seen mantra. 
2) Observance of opponent chip-stacks.
3) Fold-Fold-Fold
4) Choice commentary towards some of the fishies

By seeing a low % of flops I build the right image with the good players.  The crappy ones are unobservant anyway – so by being tight, I hope to give them some rope to hang themselves as the match goes on.  The loose players seem to get chips early and donk them off later.  They see 35%-55% of flops early on, and they make me salivate!  I’m willing to fold until I’m down to just 3 BB’s if I have to because I know that I’ll catch something and begin to double-up through these loose players.  My pre-match profiling will tell me who the loose players are likely to be as well as my other in-game profiling methods.  This willingness to fold forever may not be the best for live tourneys, but online players tend to be really loose and as a result this has worked for me SEVERAL times recently.  It goes somewhat against what the books will say in terms of “sometimes you just gotta pick any two cards and stuff it in there and hope for the best”.  Nothing wrong with that, but when you do that, you need to have the right image so that you can induce a fold when you really don’t want action and are just trying to steal the blinds.  My decision to be so patient and fold-fold-fold is highly influenced by the general nature of online play and actual observation of how loose the other players are.  If they seem eager to stuff everything they’ve got into the pot, then I’ll kick back and wait for the implosion and cash…just by being an observer.  Folding  your way to 3rd without taking any major risks is better than getting busted out by taking wacky risks against loose players…until I figure out another strategy anyway.

The thing I’ve been looking for in relation to chip-stacks is planning my committment for the entire hand.  It really helps me to avoid some tough decisions after the flop.  I start thinking about committment as soon as 10% of the shortest stack at the table is the pre-flop bet size.   Once someone has committed 10% of their stack to the pot, the possibility of them getting all-in during the course of the hand becomes a reasonable outcome.  Say the short-stack has $100 and I’ve got him covered.   He bets $10 and I call.  Everyone else folds.  There’s $20 in the pot.  After the flop he likes what he sees and bets the pot and I call.  There’s now $60 in the pot and we each have $70 remaining.  After the turn he still likes what he sees.  Any additional betting on his part is pretty much guaranteed to be for all of his remaining chips as a pot-sized bet pretty much puts him all-in.  So – if I don’t think my pre-flop holdings have much chance of flopping top-pair or an overpair, I’d tread cautiously before the flop…and VERY cautiously after the flop.  Amazing to me that just 10% of the smallest stack involved in the hand is the magic number for a possible all-in by the time the river card is shown.  Accellerate the arrival of the all-in bet if there are multiple callers before the flop! 

Sorta touched on fold-fold-fold earlier.  ‘Nuff said.

As far as choice commentary towards the fish:  Sometimes those loose players get a good chip-stack and catch a lucky card when they’ve got K7 or something vs your JJ that you raised with (after folding the last 10 hands pre-flop).  Luckily it’s not for all of your chips, but it pisses you off nonetheless.  A tactic that I employed 2X recently was to gently say, “Nice catch – a bit risky though against an out-of-position raiser who’s folded 10 hands in a row.”  You’ll get the usual, “oh – so you’re  a pro” comments – which is fine.  My hope was to get that loose player to respect me and say to themselves, “ah yeah – this guy doesn’t play many hands – and when he does, he means business”.  It’s not to critique someone’s play or get them to improve.  It’s to get them to fear me and demonstrate that I’m paying attention to all the numbers and am extremely selective about when I get involved in a pot.  It can pay dividends later when you want to steal his blinds or get him to slow-down by check-raising, etc.  Sometimes other good players at the table who have their sights on this guy will be frustrated that you may slow the loose player down.  That rarely happens in my opinion.  They just slow down when I’m in the pot.  I end up with a better opportunity to pursue my drawing hands because they’ll check more, I can also employ some check-raises, and other rope-a-dope techniques vs this player.    I particularly like it when they act after me – they’ll eventually hang themselves.

I really really really wish I had more time to play larger fields 45 to 90 players would be ideal.  The 6 and 9 player single tables are great, but the bigger fields are where I want to be.  It’s tough to block off that kind of time when I’m trying to run a business and take care of a sick dog.  Perhaps over the holidays I’ll have some time to engage in those tourneys.  Wish me luck!

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2 Responses

  1. Well done man! If you play solid poker you’ll finish ITM most of the time. These donks don’t know what hit them. You’re right on the ball when it comes to analyzing the table player by player. Just remember to change gears when the “feel” of the table changes. For example, if the table gets tight all of sudden that’s your cue to steal more blinds (also beware of the minimum raises and the limp ins from really conservative players). If the table continues to be loose then tighten up or go all in when you have monster hands, they’ll call you down with garbage. When it gets down to 5 or 4 players that’s when I usually shift gears b/c those that are left usually turning into turtles and looking to sneak into the money, meanwhile you’re playing to win.

    Keep up the good work. Looking forward to your next post.

  2. Hang in there bud. You’re playing well and have a good strategy going into the SNGs so keep up the good work and stay disciplined!

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