Posted by Dr Fro 9:21 AM
After being busy for most of March running my basketball pool, I am back to poker and blogging.
For the past few weeks, I have been (almost) exclusively playing small buy-in SNGs. The buyin is typcially between $5 and $10, and I either play 6-man or 2-man tournaments. I have done well.
Out of 23 2-man tournaments, I have won 14 for a profit of $22.25.
Out of 11 6-man tournaments, I have won 1st place 5 times and 2nd place once for a profit of $89.70.
This is a far stretch from playing $10-$20 NLHE with Phil Laak in Vegas, no doubt, but I have neve been comfortable playing for high stakes on the internet for a variety of reasons discussed ad naseum here in the past. But (I haven't done the math) it seems that I can do much better per hour at these tiny SNGs than I can at higher stakes ring games. So, I will keep at it.
My strategy on the 6-man SNGs has been as follows:
In the early stages, the maniacs will be trying to get all their money in and double up. Even though my hand may be very good and even though I know that theirs likely is not, I just fold and let the field narrow. Typically we get down to 4 guys pretty quickly.
In the middle rounds, I play like a cash game, but fairly passive. I don't bother raising to protect my hand. If a guy draws out on me, fine, I just fold. I am just looking to survive and maybe pick up some small pots along the way. I never call another man's all-in bet with anything short of the nuts.
In the late stages, it is typically risk-averse guys still around, so I become hyper-aggressive. The blinds are so high that if there is betting on every street, the players will end up all in anyway, so I figure I might as well get it all in pre-flop. I watch these guys get blinded to death and we often end up with me and one other player. At that point, it is a coin toss, and we are both in the money. Getting past the bubble often makes the other player loosen up, so I slow down a bit and just play poker.
This has worked well for me. Probably the overriding theme to my approach is to, until the late stages, avoid volatility in my stack - even if I think I am ahead. By surviving to the late stages, I can take advantage of both my image of being tight and the risk-aversion of my opponents by getting aggressive.
I used to think the juice was too high on SNGs. Not any more. Consider that in a $10 heads-up SNG, you pay $1 juice. That sounds high, but consider this:
I recently sat down at a 2-man ring game and both of us were in for $11.50. It took me about 30 minutes to get all of his money which is about as long as a SNG would have taken. My gross cash out was $19.42. Subtract $11.50 and that is $7.92 in winnings. Compare that to his $11.50 buy-in and the juice taken out of the table was $3.58. In a SNG, it would have been 2x$1=$2. So, based on this experiment, the juice seems better in a SNG. Combine that with an apparent higher RPH and EV, and you (CCM) know where to find me from now on. At least for now.