Battle of The Planet: Good for Micro SNG Grinders
Battle of Planet (BOP) is, in my opinion, one of the best ongoing promotions that PokerStars' offers it's members. This is especially true for those with smaller bankrolls who, if they follow proper Bankroll Management (BRM), are forced to play smaller buy-in games that have pretty big rakes. I will be covering the benefits of the Mercury BOP division @ $1-$2.99 buy-in SNGs. Keep in mind that the higher the division you compete at, the bigger the prizes.
Let's take a look at PokerStars' micro-stakes Sit-and-Gos (SNG). The smallest one they offer are the $1 + .20. That is an insane 20% rake that will eat up anyones profit in the long run. On top of that, the next limit after are the $3 + .40 tables. While the rake has dropped from 20% to 13%, it's still pretty high for the stakes. Also, they completely skip the $2 limit and if you're planning on grinding the $1 SNGs on up, you should prepare to do a lot of work before you move up.
Imagine you follow a strict BRM plan of 100 buy-ins for a certain limit before moving up. If you start off at the $1 + .20 tables, we will need a bankroll(BR) of $120. If you want to move up to the $3 + .40 limit, you will need a BR of $340. That means you need a profit of $220 playing at the $1 + .20 tables. Imagine you run super good and it takes you 500 games before you make enough to move up. 500 x .20 = $100 you're paying in rake to reach this point.
While PokerStars does not offer a rakeback deal, the BOP can be the next best thing for micro-stakes SNG players. BOP is broken down into 2 parts: the Low Orbit and the High Orbit. Both are attainable at the same time and both are perfect to suit the type of player you are and what your goals may be. In both orbits of the BOP, you are competing against other players. You earn points for your ITM finish. Then at the end of the weekly low/high orbit period, the player with the most points wins the biggest prize. You get the most points for finishing 1st in a game, but the amount of points differ depending on how many other players were involved. For example, while it may be easier to finish 1st in a 9 seat SNG, you will not gain as many points as you would if you finished 1st in an 18-seat or 27-seat SNG.
The Low Orbits are broken down into 20-game blocks. The points you earn during these 20 games will go toward your Low Orbit leaderboard score. You can play 5 Low Orbit blocks and it will always be your best 20-block score used. The High Orbits score is taken from 100 games blocks. If possible, I suggest going for the high orbit leader boards each week since it gives you many chances to do well. You can do well in the High Orbit (100 games) and by going for the High Orbit, you're also playing 5 (20) Low Orbit games. This gives you 6 chances to finish big per week.
My suggested tips for playing the Low Orbits:
-These are perfect for those who cannot get a lot of volume of games in a week. You only have to get in 20 games/week, which is very doable.
-Aim to play 18-seat SNGs if you're only aiming for the Low Orbit boards. While you may have more better finishes playing 9-seat SNGs, you'll have to do extremely well to place high on the leader boards. Finishing 1st in 18-seats may be less frequent, but the added points will give you a better
My suggested tips for playing the High Orbits:
-If possible, it's more beneficial to try for the High Orbit leaderboards. This way you are giving yourself a chance to not only do will in the High Orbits, but give yourself multiple chances to do well in the Low Orbits as well.
-Again, I suggest playing the 18-seat SNGs since you'll earn more points while still being a tad bit easier to cash than a 27 seat SNG. However, if you're more comfortable or better at 9-seat SNGs, these are good as well if you can cash in them consistently. You may not do well in the Low Orbit, but if you can score high enough over a 100 game block in the High Orbit, then it could make up for it.
Now, lets look at pay-outs. Top prize for both Low/High Orbits in the Mercury Division is $150. Prizes are divided up among the top 100 players, from $5 - $150. While you want to reach top prize every time, it'll be good if you can make it into the money prize, no matter how small.
*I play the $1.50 + .25, 18-seat SNGs so I'll use these games as an example*
-If you play 20 games for the low orbit, you're paying $5 in rake. So, even if you make the bottom prize pool for $5, you're getting 100% rake back.
-If you play 100 games for the high oribt, you're paying $25 in rake. If you make $5 in prizes, you're making 20% back.
-If you play 100 games for the high orbit, you pay $25 in rake. If you make $5 in prizes for both high and low orbits, you make $10 in prizes or 40% in rake. This is potentially better than Full Tilt's rake back if we're playing the same number of games and same rake. I say potentially because even though 40% is much better than Full Tilt's 27%, FTP's rake back is consistent.
-If we look at a perfect month where we take down both the High/Low Orbits every week. That'll be $150(HO) + 150(LO) (x4) = $1200 in prize money - $100(Monthly rake) . That's 100% rake back and an $1100 bonus on top for just play Low Limit SNGs. That is too crazy.
A great thing to keep in mind is the BOP is a weekly competition and not a monthly. This means you have many, many chances to do well. If you play 100 games a week, you're giving yourself 4 chances/month to finish in the top High Orbit leaderboards. At the same time, you're giving yourself 5 chances/week or 20 chances/month to do well in the Low Orbits.
If you play the High Orbits, the rake for the 100 games = same rake for 5 x 20 Low Orbit games. That's $25 in rake/$100 in rake for the month. You will need to finish in the top High/Low Orbit once for $150 to not only make 100% rake back and $50 bonus on top of that. If you can make it into the money prizes in each orbit for the month, you can still benefit. Even if you don't make the top prize. Let's say you make $10 in each orbit for the month. That's 8 orbits x $10 = $80 prizes. That's 80% rake back.
And if all these great prizes, bonuses, and rake back back you could potentially earning isn't enough for you-they also offer a monthly $50K freeroll for the top 10 finishers in each orbit.
So, as you can see it can be very beneficial to go for the Battle of the Planet Leaderboards. Especially if you're planning on grinding out SNGs and starting at the micro-limits. While the rake at the lower games can be killer, they don't have to eat away at your profits if you take advantage of the BOP promotion. It'll be foolish to not to take advantage of it. Please keep in mind that, while all of this sounds nice and easy, it isn't and takes a lot of hard work and determination. I've tried this many times and have had a number of small finishes in the Low Orbits that were nice. After a lot of hard work, I finally took to the top Low Orbit prize for $150 which was a huge boost to the BR. So, lots of grinding and hard work to reach the top in these, but when your hard work pays off, you should be rewarded for it...right?