Originally Posted by internetpokerdonk
I don't think that is a relevant distinction.
It's absolutely a relevant distinction if you want your argument to make even a tiny lick of sense
Here's the thing:
Wherever you're getting your live winner figures from, be it 10%, 15%, 20% of players, whatever the figure is - I promise you those "noted poker authorities" weren't talking solely about SnGs. They're just far too small a part of the live poker market for that to be plausible. You've gotta compare apples with apples.
Winning players could include players who lucked out and won a big tournament - I'd be 99.9% certain Jerry Yang is a winning player over his 'career', for example. Reckon Jerry Yang would be a winning player if you sat him in a $5/$10 live game for a year though? I don't.
There's equivalent online examples as well, naturally. People that freeroll their way into huge online tournaments and win big aren't unheard of, it happened at the latest Stars WCOOP main event. Point is though, your live figures include these kind of winners, and your online figures exclude them. Immediately we have a flaw in the data set.
As for cash games and whether we should expect the win rates at them to be different to SnGs, I've never seen data. Nor are any of us ever likely to, because that's not the way cash games work. But a difference in the win rates wouldn't surprise me in the least.
Why? You've said it yourself: you're a winning SnG player who's lucky to break even at $25NL online. Think you're the only one?
I won't argue that SnGs require specific skills - we could argue all day over whether those skills make you "better" than a cash game or MTT player, but in the end it really doesn't matter.
What I will
argue, however, is that SnGs can be much more forgiving than cash games or MTTs. You mentioned "working the structure" and you're correct to - it's a big part of SnG play. I think therein lies your explanation though. There's no such thing as limping over the bubble and into the money in a cash game, and while the same thing can happen in MTTs you've got to play a lot longer to get there.
That, I put it to you, is the reason you can expect higher win rates in SnGs than you can in cash games. You might work the structure to put pressure on people at key moments, but others work the structure to grind out constant strings of third places. Take that safety net away from them in a cash game, however, and that player becomes a long term loser.