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A Glimpse Of The Sng Grind: $6-$55


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#1 rdtedm

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Posted 07 August 2007 - 01:48 PM

Some of you will disagree with what I have to say, some of you won't care, but for those of you who like to grind the turbo 9-man SNG's on stars like I do, here's a few things I've noticed at different levels of play.In 2005, started with an eager mind and a short BR, looking to make my hundreds (who knows, thousands??) playing online poker. I couldn't find enough live tournaments in my poker-dry city, so of course, I deposited online. $50 every other friday, which would usually turn into $100, maybe more, but always resulted in the $0 by the time next friday came. Obviously people were sucking out on me, because my play was stalwart and my opponents or donkeys.Or not.I went busto a lot due to bad BR management and lack of discipline. Who can resist calling a raise OOP with suited connectors and one gappers, or making a hero call with a pocket pair when the board brings an overcard? I know I couldn't!I started with $6+$.50 turbo 9-man SNG's. These always pay 50% to the winner, and the top three pay, but the number one finish is obviously what you want to shoot for, especially if you're multitabling (we'll get to that later). In this (guide?), I will examine different levels of turbo SNG's, and things I've noticed and adapted to after playing damn near a thousand or so of these at the $6, $15, $25, and $55 level.**DISCLAIMER**I in no way claim to be an "expert" at these (yet). I do know that SNG grind can be profitable and less risky than middle-stakes cash games. Everything I've said is open to discussion, and I in know way am claiming that these ideas/insights are 100% true.Bankroll ManagementSomething I suck at, but will offer insight anyways. If you plan on playing only tournaments, try to have at least twenty buy-ins of the respective stake. Etc, if you play $6+$.50 SNG's, have $130 to play comfortably. Why twenty? Well, twenty is enough that, if you should lose 5-6 in a row plus, you can still have enough money to move down a level and work your BR up. Too many times did I get cocky and start playing $25 SNG's with $100-$150 in my account, looking to make a quick profit. It takes time to build up your BR, that's what a lot of fresh players don't realize. If you get bored playing smaller stakes, but don't have the BR to move up, you should still stay. If you can't handle that, well, SNG grind isn't for you.And trust me, losing 5-6 in a row will happen, no matter how good you are. Although "notorious" for terrible suckouts, PS is just like any poker room; there will be variance, there will be sets over sets, there will be aces vs. your kings. it's part of poker, and you need to be ready for it (a little whining in the Bad Beat forum might help vent :D). Just don't play over your head, even if you are crushing the games you're in. It's -EV in the long run, even if you try out a few and make some cash.That having been said, let's move ontoThe $6 levelIf you have discipline and a good approach to tournament poker, this level can be profitable for almost anyone. I'm not saying that everyone at this level is below average, but the play is especially loose PF. Don't be surpised when people call huge bets with J-10 off, suited connectors, low PP's, etc. You'll notice that people overplay AK, AQ, AJ, KQ, etc, and often. Wait for good hands, and punish the loosey gooseys.This isn't to say that a TAG approach is the only approach. You can play loose too, but don't get a ton of chips in the middle with marginal hands. Look to limp a lot, and fold if you don't hit. Don't overplay top pair type hands, but be wary that lots of people won't fold AQ/AK after the flop, even if they don't hit. Look for these people and exploit that. Limping in the early levels is way more effective than say, when the blinds are 100-200++.As the blinds increase, be aggressive with decent hands. Blind stealing becomes crucial, especially if you have a medium/short stack. Look for people who play way conservative, and try and get their blinds. This is the same for pretty much any level.All in all, the $6 level has a lot of fish, but also players that know it's flooded with fish and are there to profit. Loose and bad play are common. Spot it and profit :club:.The $25 levelThis is the level where you start seeing regulars, and more often than not, they're regulars for a reason. This is the level where players can start to make a living with the right approach. First place is a whopping $112.50, which isn't bad for 30-40minutes of work. The play is a lot better, but you will still see the people who don't belong at this level; playing too many pots, raising too many hands, calling too many bets - the donkeys, if you will. It's usually pretty obvious who these are. This is the level where I started using Sharkscope and PokerTracker to keep track of opponents. For example, a guy named Adolf03 was playing in one of my games, 99% of pots, calling re-raises and all-ins with things like 10-4 off, 5-6, etc, sucking out, and getting paid off. It's easy to deal with these guys; tighten up, and then overshove a good hand PF. Works like magic.At this level you'll see play tighten more. The $15 level is still very loose (from what I've noticed), but at this level you'll see the methodical approaches I'll describe.1) Holy freaking cow, that's a big bet.- 5 limpers in a pot, so someone makes it 300 to go with blinds at 10-20. WTF, right? No. Althought it seems like a huge overbet looking to take it down now, it often isn't. Taking it down right there still yields profit, but if you think you should call this with a hand like A-J, A-10, or a low pocket pair, think again. This is a good bet for several reasons:-Dead money. A hundred or so chips already in the pot, which may not seem like a lot, but it's almost free money.-It's usually done with a hand that doesn't mind a call or a re-raise PF, aka, a good one. Don't mess with it unless you've got a big hand.-When used effectively, this makes people want to raise your blinds less, and also stops people from limping/catching more often than you'd think. It's a good early-game play that transitions into late-game play in a similar manner. Bringing me to my next point:2) The Rocks of GibraltarThis is the approach I've been using lately, and it's showing some profit. Hopefully after revealing this you won't hunt me down on stars and take advantage of it, but who cares.I often play between 15%-20% of hands before blinds reach 100-200. This, according to some, is too tight, but here's why I don't think so:- There's not usually a ton of chips to be made in the early levels, unless two monsters collide preflop, or on the flop. 15%-20% of hands means the premium hands. I'll fold A-J/A-10 in EP, but raise it from the button. I'll put in a big raise with QQ+ from EP and LP. In the early levels, don't play mediocre hands (like weak aces) from early position. I don't mind a MP/LP limp with suited connectors in an unraised pot, but don't get married to them. Look to put in big bets and big 3-bets with the top hands, but don't get married to AQ/AJ when you get 3-bet. Following these rules will put your %of hands seeing a flop somewhere in that range, usually.- Once blinds get to 100-200, you'll start to see play change a lot. Middle/Short stacks will be making overshoves with a wide range of hands (usually any ace), and you'll see less limping. During this level, if you have a larger stack, don't be raising with trash trying to pick up the blinds, because you'll likely get shoved into and you'll be in a tough spot. Play conservative, but play your good hands aggressively. If you have a middle/shortstack, don't be limping or flat calling with suited connector type hands. Look to shove when you pick up a decent ace or two good brodway cards, as these will have a better chance of being a favorite to something that calls you. Really no play left for you except fold/shove situations.You'll notice both "approaches", rather, strategies have one thing in common: Tight early, aggresive later. It makes sense right? Why fight for a small pot early when you have a better chance of making more chips later? Easy enough.In short, don't be gambling a ton with low pocketpairs or average/weak hands. The late game is where most of your plays should be made, because its a ton easier to win a 300-500 sized pot by shoving than it is to try and be sneaky in the early game. Try chipping up at these levels; and remember, playing to win will yield more profit in the long run than playing to place. Bubble play is very easy to exploit, no one wants to go out fourth. If you're a chipleader, look to take advantage of this to gain some extra chips going into the money.The $55 levelI haven't played enough of these to give too much information on, but I'm just going to touch briefly on a few things.Players at this level are here for a reason, and you should not attempt to frequent these without a good bankroll and a good understanding of what the play is like. This level, as of today, is unprofitable for me. The play is just better, that's all there is to say. Everytime I make a raise, it seems like I get 3-bet; but only when my raise is with a hand like A-Q/A-J. When I do decide to call, they usually have me beat. I have picked off maybe one 3-bet bluff preflop.There are many regulars at this level, and they are all very good. The standard approach seems to be extremely TAG early game, and extremely aggressive when the blinds get to a profitable stealing amount. You won't see good players get their money in bad when they shove preflop frequently, and the players at this level are good at creating an image and using it well. They're also good at picking out people who don't defend their blinds, and who will fold to big bets. Gooood players, trust me. I'll add to this section when I have more experience.About this level, poker superstar whatarunaa says:The $55 levelI have played a ton at this level and honestly.. if you play tag you will do just fine... players make so many bubble errors at this level its not even funny... don't be too concerned about 3 bet bluffs because its really not happening at this level. This is strictly playing solid poker.. deviating from solid poker will probably make you a losing player at this level... play tight early and become a shove bot late.. thats all it is... its assigning ranges to hands and going with it.Hope this was a good read. Keep in mind it is targeted for those who haven't already been playing SNG's frequently and as a result, haven't developed their own style of profitable play. Everything here is open to discussion, I am merely trying to provide a glimpse into the similarities and differences at the different levels of the internet phenomenon, the turbo SNG.- Ted

#2 Money022

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Posted 07 August 2007 - 03:01 PM

Pretty ABC stuff. Good reminders.
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#3 rdtedm

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Posted 07 August 2007 - 04:22 PM

View PostMoney022, on Tuesday, August 7th, 2007, 5:01 PM, said:

Pretty ABC stuff. Good reminders.
In no way supposed to be advanced, just something for people looking to play SNG's to glance over.

#4 Zach6668

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Posted 07 August 2007 - 05:11 PM

Good post Ted.Gonna move it to Tourney Strat though, for better exposure.
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#5 WhatArunAA

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Posted 07 August 2007 - 08:36 PM

The $55 levelI have played a ton at this level and honestly.. if you play tag you will do just fine... players make so many bubble errors at this level its not even funny... don't be too concerned about 3 bet bluffs because its really not happening at this level. This is strictly playing solid poker.. deviating from solid poker will probably make you a losing player at this level... play tight early and become a shove bot late.. thats all it is... its assigning ranges to hands and going with it.

#6 rdtedm

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Posted 08 August 2007 - 09:32 AM

View Postwhatarunaa, on Tuesday, August 7th, 2007, 10:36 PM, said:

The $55 levelI have played a ton at this level and honestly.. if you play tag you will do just fine... players make so many bubble errors at this level its not even funny... don't be too concerned about 3 bet bluffs because its really not happening at this level. This is strictly playing solid poker.. deviating from solid poker will probably make you a losing player at this level... play tight early and become a shove bot late.. thats all it is... its assigning ranges to hands and going with it.
That's what I was trying to get at, but I'm sure you know better. Will add to OP, thanks!

#7 Cappy37

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Posted 10 November 2007 - 09:50 AM

bump, good read.
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#8 copernicus

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Posted 10 November 2007 - 11:40 AM

It doesnt matter whether you are single tabling, 6 tabling or 16 tabling. "Playing for first" (as most people interpret that phrase) is wrong in a 50/30/20 payoff structure.
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#9 Pras

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Posted 12 November 2007 - 10:30 PM

Hey Ted just wanted to thank you for your very helpful tips on STT strategy. It definitely helped me greatly improve my STT strategy.On a side note, I played with you in a $16 STT about 2 hrs ago. You probably don't even remember, but my nick was 'PrasF'. I know I kinda sucked there, but I cashed in the other one I was playing. Anyway, thank you again for some very useful advice.One quick question though (for anyone): When it gets down to 4-handed, what is the best way to play? I know that it's pretty much fold or shove, but what range of hands tend to work best? I ask this because in the recent STT I cashed in, it got REALLY tight 4-handed and I just got confused. I was the dominating chip leader at the start of shorthanded but I think I gave away a lot of chips by playing too passive, which resulted in me not only losing the chip lead, but also being at a horrible disadvantage heads-up, which is a very undesirable position.This is a question that only recently came up because all of the other times I was in this position, I was able to maintain my chip stack because I was being dealt decent hands and also I was able to trap players in a couple pots. Seeing that that obviously won't happen everytime, what do you suggest when the game gets really hard to break?Thank you for everything,Pras

#10 copernicus

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Posted 13 November 2007 - 09:34 AM

View PostPras, on Tuesday, November 13th, 2007, 2:30 AM, said:

Hey Ted just wanted to thank you for your very helpful tips on STT strategy. It definitely helped me greatly improve my STT strategy.On a side note, I played with you in a $16 STT about 2 hrs ago. You probably don't even remember, but my nick was 'PrasF'. I know I kinda sucked there, but I cashed in the other one I was playing. Anyway, thank you again for some very useful advice.One quick question though (for anyone): When it gets down to 4-handed, what is the best way to play? I know that it's pretty much fold or shove, but what range of hands tend to work best? I ask this because in the recent STT I cashed in, it got REALLY tight 4-handed and I just got confused. I was the dominating chip leader at the start of shorthanded but I think I gave away a lot of chips by playing too passive, which resulted in me not only losing the chip lead, but also being at a horrible disadvantage heads-up, which is a very undesirable position.This is a question that only recently came up because all of the other times I was in this position, I was able to maintain my chip stack because I was being dealt decent hands and also I was able to trap players in a couple pots. Seeing that that obviously won't happen everytime, what do you suggest when the game gets really hard to break?Thank you for everything,Pras
Its not "push or fold" on the bubble. It is highly dependent on stacks and blinds. If youre going to play SnGs seriously and want to learn bubble play, SitnGo Power tools (or a similar sit and go ICM analyzer) is worth the investment.
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