My 1,500 micro/low SNG's odyssey - Results and advice
To the mods: If this belongs somewhere else feel free to move it, I wasn't sure if it was a brag, strategy, or general, but either way general seemed to be a decent fit.
I recently played my 1500th PokerStars
Sit-and-Go (according to SharkScope
) today. I have been pretty successful, starting with $1.50 about a year and a half ago. Although my account has been augmented my some cash game play (up about $100-150 from micro stakes) most of my earnings have been from low and micro stakes sit and goes. I truly believe that anyone who takes the time to study the game can be successful in the long run at these levels, keeping a few things in mind.
You need to understand bankroll management. Plenty of forum posts and articles have been written on the subject, and are pretty easy to understand. Variance happens and you will take bad beats with good hands. With proper bankroll management, you can minimize the effect that these have on your bankroll. Whether you follow a set of guidelines religiously or somewhat loose, you should tell yourself to never have more that a certain percentage of your bankroll on the table at one time.. it can have disastrous effects. There are exceptions, especially if you start out winning a small amount on a freeroll as I did, but once you build it up over a certain amount, these rules should be followed and it does of course take self-discipline.
You need to understand tilt and the effect it can have on your play. Everyone goes on tilt, if they play enough poker. You will make bad calls, you will make bad bets, you will overplay marginal hands, etc. The key is knowing when to say when, or basically when to STOP PLAYING. Find an activity to take out your aggression or at least calm you down that does not cost anything.
Find good advice from good players! Whether its on a forum like Cardschat, TwoplusTwo, Railbirds, or some of the more well-known poker books
that are on the market, there is plenty of good advice on demand for just about anyone. It is impossible to know everything there is to know about poker, and anyone who tells
you otherwise is full of shit. If you want to improve your game, study how the winners win. My ROI improved significantly when I started to visit CardsChat ( I also visit 2+2 although I don’t have an account) and read some of what Harrington and other pros had to say. Besides books and forum posts there are tons of strategy articles available on the internet, most of which I would recommend at least looking over. Sitandgoplanet.com is a great one for this.
It is very important to have some sort of starting requirements for different positions at different blind levels. The general idea in most sng’s is to start very tight, and end much more loose as the blinds increase. Table loose/tightness can be taken into effect and this game-plan can always be modified accordingly. Also, understanding your M-zone and push/fold requirements is VERY important in sng’s. The gap concept, ICM and EV are just a few other concepts people should try to understand before going into a lot of these tourneys. Blinds raise pretty fast and you’ll need to make a move before getting blinded out, it’s inevitable. Some people just push with any ace or PP from any position when their stack is smaller than everyone else’s, but choosing the right/proper time to make your move can depend on a lot of different factors. People who do not know how to switch gears will probably not be very successful in the long run, maybe just breaking even. Loosening up can be difficult for some at first (and for some it can come far too naturally) but at some point you’re going to have to play outside your comfort zone and normal style.
Figure out what games make you money! Sounds simple and redundant, but its important. If you’re losing consistently at single table 9 man regular speed try a 2 table 18 man or 3 table 27 man, maybe try the 6-max turbos. If you’re losing consistently at the 5-10$ level, try the 1-3$ level. The best website I have found for this info (for those of us poor folk who don’t have PokerTracker or Holdem Manager) is pokerprolabs.com TopShark service. When you search for your screen name and click the Sit and Go button, you can search under different parameters to find out what your avg profit, avg. ROI, and total profit is for different types of games. Want to know your ROI for 27 man games compared to 9 man? Turbo vs. Regular speed? 5$ buy ins vs 3$? This can all be done on this site, and without a fee, subscription, or registration. I used it to discover turbos and Double-or-Nothings were actually hurting my bankroll in a big way, and that the regular speed single and multi tables are my bread and butter. Once you figure this out over a decent sample size you can focus on playing the ones you’re successful at, fixing leaks that prevent success at other games, or both. Here is what the search page looks like on TopShark, I couldn't fit it all in due to size requirements, but you can kind've see the applied filters on the right side. (first is all games in the last year, after that theyre broken down by speed and amount of entrants)
Understand that the caliber of player at the 1-3$ level are not the types you see playing on TV, but some of them are good! Yes, you’ll see people stack off with middle pair for absolutely no reason, but then you’ll also see some sneaky value betting from someone with bottom set a few hands later. If you ever think it’s time to move up levels, be prepared for stiffer competition. I am poor, so I have to cashout 50-100$ every time my account reaches a certain point for some supplemental income. Had I been able to leave it all in there, who knows what I would have now? Maybe I’d have $10k or maybe I would’ve gone busto, getting in way over my head. Either way, priorities are priorities, and I need cash in hand when it’s available to me. This is a personal decision that everyone will need to make after getting a big win or hot streak.
Some of these principles apply to poker in general, but sit and goes are a different animal than cash game altogether. I am not a great player, but I do think I’m better than the average player at these levels and my stats agree. For anyone looking to build up a small bankroll, who may have a hard time with cash game and doesn’t have the time for the long grind of MTT’s, do a little reading and give SNG’s a shot. You might surprise yourself.
Thanks to all contributing members of CardsChat for making me a better player.
The mandatory Scope graph