HOH3: Bubble play in SnGs

NineLions

NineLions

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I just finished HOH3, which is a book of examples analyzed by Harringington, with choices, scoring for your answers, and explanation of why the scoring is as it is.

One of the interesting things to me was the importance of conservative play on the bubble in 9 player SnGs.


Harrington talks about why bubble play is not so important in big MTTs because the difference between the bubble and first place is huge, but he goes through calculations to show why the bubble in a SnG is huge. Essentially, it's due to the big edge between nothing for 4th place, and 20% for 3rd, as well as the small difference between 1st (50%) and 3rd. He gives examples of situations where a player is all-in and has you covered. If your opponenet's range does not seem to take into consideration the need to be conservative on the bubble, then you have to have a monster hand to call; in some cases only AA/KK, in some cases only AA! Only when your M gets in the red zone, and you are the lowest stack, do the hand requirements get appreciably lower (66+, ATs, AJo)

He doesn't go into detail about if you are a big stack calling a small stack all-in, other than to say your requirements are normal; a pair or reasonably high cards.


Useful reading for me. Apparently I've been too aggressive short stacked on the bubble.
 
Emperor IX

Emperor IX

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I finished Super/System 2 (all sections) and am just getting started on the Theory of Poker, so I've got some heavy reading coming my way, but the HOH series is definitely on my list. That man is an amazing MTT player.
 
mrrigel

mrrigel

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I might go buy that tonight....I have been getting killed with a ton of 4th place finished in the 9 player sngo's....i play super tight, then the all in fest commences, i refuse to call....my chips dwindle....then i have to eventually call...this has been the area of my game I have been focusing on improving more then anything.
 
J

jeffred1111

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He doesn't go into detail about if you are a big stack calling a small stack all-in, other than to say your requirements are normal; a pair or reasonably high cards.

True, but how often, when a shortstack goes all-in do we root for the big stack to call and throw him out so we can place ? Very often indeed and this is another area where we need to be conservative if we're the BIG stack.

Let's say we are the big stack and look at 88 in the BB. Blinds are 300/600 and will increase in 5 minutes. SB goes all-in with 1000 chips, we have 6000 and the other two guys have 2300 and 1700 respectively ? Do we call and burst the bubble, or do we let him thieve our blinds and go back to thieving the other blinds/antes ? Our hand is probably best right now, but we stand to gain 200 chips more than if we just steal the next hand... By keeping the bubble, we, as a big stack, can have the other players go at each others throat and probably force them to go all-in later with crappier hands (and fewer chips, we're thieving aren't we, risking even less of our chip stack?). Too often I see big stack try to be the police and call two all-ins in a row and get shortstacked themselves.

So pick your battle wisely, even if you have a huge chipstack, as keeping the bubble artificially alive can sometimes be profitable as villains range broaden considerably after a blind increase and a few well placed steals. I'd put the calling cutoff at 99 or AQs in this situation. Any hand under this I'm likely to lose my edge if I lose. Let some other sucker do the work ;)

If chip stacks are more even, then I'll gladly call with 55,66,77 since stealing is way riskier to my chip stack and coinflipping will cripple me if I lose, but I stood a chance to double up. Shortstack, I only stand to get a bit more chips and that's all. This is more applicable to turbos since in a normal SNG's, blinds won't increase as fast and you're unlikely to call a desperation push.
 
B

bw07507

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Let's say we are the big stack and look at 88 in the BB. Blinds are 300/600 and will increase in 5 minutes. SB goes all-in with 1000 chips

Are u suggesting we fold this?? We already have 600 invested and its only another 400 to call when the SB range could have absolutely anything??? This is an absolute instant call with pretty much any two cards.
 
ChuckTs

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The bubble's undoubtedly the most important part of an STT, I'd say. That and HU. This is where I make most of my chips stealing blinds. At this point it's all about first-in vigor and targeting the tight medium-sized stacks.

Pushing>>>calling. I'd much rather push my stack in with J8o than call it off with like 66. Everything's situational, of course, but remember that getting your money in first is key.
 
mbelsky

mbelsky

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bubble strategy

i agree that if u are the big (or 1 of them) stack on the bubble...pushing the smaller stacks around can be very profitable..just dont get yourself too committed to medium hands unless the person has less than 10% of your chipstack
 
rob5775

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Hmmm... I've read HOH 1 & 2 but have yet to get 3 (I know, I know... don't give me a hard time). I play a ton of SnG's, and I must admit that I'm nowhere near conservative near the bubble. Especially if I'm the short stack, then I usually play hyper aggressive. Hell, I play hyper aggressive when we get down to four no matter my chip stack.

Most times, the other three players tighten up so much (more so if they have average stacks) that I steal their blinds with aggressive play. Then, when I do get caught, or played back at, I have built up enough of a stack I can afford the hit.

Needless to say, I mostly come in fourth or first... there isn't much in between. If Harrington speaks differently in HOH 3, then I definately need to pick it up soon.
 
NineLions

NineLions

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Hmmm... I've read HOH 1 & 2 but have yet to get 3 (I know, I know... don't give me a hard time). I play a ton of SnG's, and I must admit that I'm nowhere near conservative near the bubble. Especially if I'm the short stack, then I usually play hyper aggressive. Hell, I play hyper aggressive when we get down to four no matter my chip stack.

Most times, the other three players tighten up so much (more so if they have average stacks) that I steal their blinds with aggressive play. Then, when I do get caught, or played back at, I have built up enough of a stack I can afford the hit.

Needless to say, I mostly come in fourth or first... there isn't much in between. If Harrington speaks differently in HOH 3, then I definately need to pick it up soon.

He refers back to 2, I think, and says that he had mentioned conservative play on the bubble there once as well when talking about satellites. There there's no difference between all the ones who place, so an that's even more extreme edge for the bubble, hence more conservative play when facing possible elimination.
 
NineLions

NineLions

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The bubble's undoubtedly the most important part of an STT, I'd say. That and HU. This is where I make most of my chips stealing blinds. At this point it's all about first-in vigor and targeting the tight medium-sized stacks.

Pushing>>>calling. I'd much rather push my stack in with J8o than call it off with like 66. Everything's situational, of course, but remember that getting your money in first is key.

And it was interesting that he didn't talk about that in the section that I'm referring to. All the examples were about what range of hands you need to have to call when someone has pushed and has you covered, not about the value of first-in or what range of hands to push with.
 
V

vanilla sky

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I play aggressively when there's 4 players left and i always end up coming 2nd or 1st in the SnG you'll find the player who tightens up way too much usually gets forced all in by the blinds and goes out 4th!
 
mrrigel

mrrigel

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I just can't raise rags......call me a fool but I can't be that guy.
 
ChuckTs

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And it was interesting that he didn't talk about that in the section that I'm referring to. All the examples were about what range of hands you need to have to call when someone has pushed and has you covered, not about the value of first-in or what range of hands to push with.

I'm pretty sure HoH2 has some goods on first-in vig. It's a very important concept and I've suggested a couple times that someone write an article about it. I'd do it, but tbh I don't know enough about it to write a whole article.

WINK WINK NUDGE NUDGE *elbows Rex and Chris at the same time...

I just can't raise rags......call me a fool but I can't be that guy.

Well, it's gotta be done sometimes. Have you read the Harrington on Hold'em series? If not, then seriously consider picking them up. They'll give you a whole new outlook on poker.
 
NineLions

NineLions

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I'm pretty sure HoH2 has some goods on first-in vig. It's a very important concept and I've suggested a couple times that someone write an article about it. I'd do it, but tbh I don't know enough about it to write a whole article.

WINK WINK NUDGE NUDGE *elbows Rex and Chris at the same time...

Ya, I think so, in the M/Q discussions.

Maybe he figured he had it covered elsewhere, and the only point he wanted to make in the section that I refer to is only about calling, and only if you're covered, on the bubble, and in a SnG.
 
J

jeffred1111

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Are u suggesting we fold this?? We already have 600 invested and its only another 400 to call when the SB range could have absolutely anything??? This is an absolute instant call with pretty much any two cards.

As I said, it really depends on the situation. In a normal tournament, I call anytime, but in a turbo, with blinds increasing steadily, if we're 4 handed with 3 other small stacks at our table and the blinds will increase very shortly, the pushing range of the SB will really become ATC. 88 is really very ahead against small PP. Our opponent could have a bigger one (doubtful, but he could also have hands such as A9 or Alittle suited, wich aren't that big underdogs compared to us). Heck, even 10-9 has two overcards to our pair and I doubt any opponent won't push with at least one over, so we are either dominated or a small to medium favorite to win the hand. With 5000 as described, we really have an edge chipwise. If we lose, we drop to 5000 (with someone at around 2,5k) and everybody has around the same number of chips with you having a bit more. Stealing will be harder and sundenly our M has dropped to a blind less.

If I'm dealt 88 in the SB in this situation, I push without any hesitation since I have the added fold equity that make my hand more desirable (and yes, in low buy-in, some people become so weak-tight as to fold to this in the BB with an M<2.5). I'd be reluctant to call an all-in at this stage with 88 yes since we gain little and can lose a lot. Plus, we have to remember that once iTM, the small stacks will be more than willing to make plays to get to the top, thus we should blind steal more while they are scared to lose their buy-in.

So yes, in some very rare situations, I believe that folding such a hand, unless we have great reads on the agressor, to be wiser for our tournament life. If we steal the same number of chips as we let others steal, our chipstack insures that we will always be the last to get anted out. While we don't want to have to call a default all-in from the blinds (since we cannot pick our spot), waiting to give action might put more pressure on the SB or even widen his range of pushing hands (desperation push). My example might have been too extreme, but do you call this if the blinds are 150/3 and your opponent had 2700? I'd probably say no since you have only 1/3 chips and will exchange position on the chip leader board plus your M would drop. At this point in the SNG, we want to win by attrition and give the final blow when we hit a hand (everybody steal every hand anyway so we figure we'll get action).
 
Dorkus Malorkus

Dorkus Malorkus

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I'm pretty sure HoH2 has some goods on first-in vig. It's a very important concept and I've suggested a couple times that someone write an article about it. I'd do it, but tbh I don't know enough about it to write a whole article.

WINK WINK NUDGE NUDGE *elbows Rex and Chris at the same time...

The chapter on inflection points covers it quite extensively.

Article? Bleh, if I get un-lazy enough. People are far better off reading HoH2 though. ;)
 
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