SNG Wizard: Is it costing you money?
Hey guys, I haven't made many posts in the past few weeks. I have been un-godly busy with coaching and starting my new staking business.
But, I wanted to start this thread because, recently, I have been getting a lot of questions about SNG Wizard in terms of its effectiveness, how to use it, and if it is worth buying. To answer those questions briefly, SNG Wiz can be effective and it is worth buying. BUT, I think SNG Wizard could actually be costing people money, rather than helping them. The main reason is because many do not know HOW to use it.
SNG Wiz can be a very effective tool, especially if you are learning the game and trying to understand ICM and push/fold scenarios. However, before you can effectively use Wiz, you need to understand its flaws and how to use it. These are two simple, yet very import issues to address. You cannot just buy the software, import hands, and think that Wiz is going to give you the best recommendations in every scenario without doing your own due diligence
First, understanding its flaws. Maybe flaw is the wrong word to use, but we need to know how to interpret Wiz results and how to adjust certain variables to get truly accurate results. Let me use an example to illustrate a key variable that we need to adjust.
18 man SNG, 5 players left (bubble). Blinds 300/600 ante 50. UTG (4700) shoves all in. We are UTG+1 with 5500 chips. What should our calling range be (I know there are other factors such as other stack sizes, table dynamcis, etc...but for sake of arguement, everyone has an average range and average chip stack)? Let's say you want to evaluate this hand in SNG Wiz to figure out what our calling range should be. If you give the player who shoves all in a 20% shove range, SNG Wiz will tell you that you can call profitably with A10+, 88+. If you do not know any better, you take this info and apply it to future games. Let me say, if you are calling this wide on the bubble in this situation, you are going to be losing money.
So why did SNG Wiz give us that range? It's because of the stack sizes. If we lose this hand, we will have 800 chips left. So we are technically not out. But let's be honest, with 800 chips left, we might as well be knocked out. We are going to have to get extrememly lucky to get back in the game. But SNG Wiz overvalues the fact that we are still "alive" thus giving us that A10+, 88+ range. To fix this flaw, you can get a more appropriate calling range by equalizing the stacks, such that, if we lose, we are out. So, if you make the villain's stack size 5500 like ours, we get a range now of AK, 1010+, which is much more appropriate. If you are not aware of this, you are going to be way to loose in these critical push/fold scenarios, which can make or break your overall profitability.
Another issue with SNG Wiz is simply how to use it. As many of you know, when you are reviewing your games, you will see a list of your hands with a check mark or red X. Please do not treat these indicators as 100% correct and move on. You need to be able to adjust opponent hand ranges according to the situation. Wiz is not always correct with their range assessment and without knowing how to assign proper ranges, you cannot get a correct +/- EV calculation. I do not want to go into every scenario to describe ranges. This will come with time, as you start to learn more about ICM and play a lot of games.
Along the lines of understanding how to use Wiz, you need to adjust your Edge. Edge is that number which calculates the difference in equity between going all in and folding. Let's say your on the button and you make a shove. After reviewing this shove with Wiz, based on our estimate of our opponents' calling range, our Edge is .01%. Technically, you may consider this a +EV play. But what if your estimate of your opponents range is off? Depending on whether they are tighter or looser than you estimate, this could actually be a negative or more positive shove. The point is, we don't know. So we need to give ourselves a cushion when trying to evaluate if a play is truly + or - EV. As a general rule of thumb, I like to set the edge to .3, or maybe even higher when making SB or Button shoves. We know that many times when we are in push/fold mode, we can shove very wide from these positions. Since we are committing chips with very marginal or even poor hands, we need to have this Edge cushion just in case we are off in our oppnent's range estimate. Our Edge does not need to be set to .3 if we are shoving, for example, 10BB from UTG, because we are most likely shoving a quality hand in this scenario. But on average, the wider you shove, the larger you should set your Edge, and .3 is a good Edge.
There are certainly other features to SNG Wiz that you need to be aware of, especially when playing different types of SNGs (ie. $ EV vs cEV), but I just wanted to address these common issues that I am seeing pop up frequently. SNG Wiz can be very helpful to your game, but only if you know how to effectively use it and adjust the variables, otherwise, you may actually be costing yourself money.
I hope this helps.