25 February 2010

Single Table Woes

I ran bad on Tuesday in single table SnGs. Managed a 3rd on a Bodog Beginner which paid $4.00, but didn't cover both Bodog buy-ins. A PDC Poker $2 ended in a 7th place finish. Added to that was a final table appearance on a 3-table Stars $3. I finished 8th, a few spots from the money.

Wednesday was much better. I managed to load up a Full Tilt $1 90-person and a $2 90-person on PokerStars. The Full Tilt tournament SnG ended very badly. I had a good size stack at about 14K versus 200/400 blinds when a loose guy in the cutoff decided to push all-in with his ~6700 chips. I was dealt KK on the button and there was a rather loose player in the small blind. I figured if I just call, he's coming along and I don't want a raggy ace in with me. So I push all-in to isolate. SB snap calls and yup, he has AA. That's been happening a lot lately. But nothing I can do. In any case I'm probably seeing all my chips gone no matter how it gets played preflop.

So I concentrate on my sole 90-person SnG at PokerStars. I run very well in this. I get KK beat by Q3 at one point and am left with 370 chips far from the money. I push my next hand K8o and manage to double up on AK. Next hand I get AK and double again versus JJ. In fact, between my aggression and picking my spots I get to the final table in 6th position. I start raising, pushing and beating up the table. A few times I knock people out, a few times short stacks get my number. In the end I go out 4th for a decent profit. I get KdJd in the SB. The BB is a bit of a weird player. He's aggressive int he wrong spots, passive in the wrong spots and generally hard to read. After two folds, I limp, which is about as horrible a play as I can make here. I really should have raised. He raises 3x and I flat the raise, another mistake. Flop comes 643 with two diamonds. I push. He snap calls with Ac3c. Now, I think this is a horrible call by him, but he made it and I didn't manage to pick up any of my 15 outs. Not that this isn't the normal outcome anytime I have a strong draw....I suck at draws for some strange reason. I just shook my head atthe call, but what can you do?

19 February 2010

Another Set of 6 Bodog Beginner SnGs

Still playing the $2+$0.20 Beginner Bodog SnGs. Started off pretty horribly. I quickly ran decent hands into better hands after getting initial reads off players, One such was a player who called a 5xBB bet preflop from another player with 75o. He doubled when he flopped two pair vs JJ. I ran AQs into his AK. I know, I know. Never go broke with AQ. Sigh.

Another poor choice and another SnG down. I loaded up another pair bringing me up to my 6.

Meanwhile 2 of my originals went pretty well. The first saw me lose raising AKs first in while 6 handed. Shorter stack pushes on me [I have him covered by 380 chips]. I snap call and he shows J8o. Flop comes Q75, 2 on turn, 8 on river. Smacked. I push next hand with K4o. I get called by A8. This time I double. A few hands later I get all-in with QJs and triple. Managed to salvage a bad situation. Long story short, I end up 3 handed. Chipleader has a massive stack. He's pushing every hand, but I'm sitting on a stack of 2200 chips with 200BB, so I have 11 BBs. The 3rd player gets impatient and calls with Q8o. Chipleader has AQ and stacks him. He continues to bully me. I pick up A8s and limp [complete]. He pushes I call, he shows A4 and I double. He has about 10K to my 5K. I lay in wait again and wait for him to push. This time I'm on KQo and he pushes Q4. I double again. He now slows down and I win a few small pots by 3-betting his completions. I get AKs and complete, He decides to push and I call. He shows J8o. Rivers a J to double. Uggh. I go down a few hands later when my A5s goes down to his A3o. 2nd.

The other original table sees me dominate from start to finish. I knock a player out on hand 3 and never look back. Certainly get challenged a few times, but overall, this table is easily manipulated and I cruise into the top finish.

My two added SnGs go horribly awry. I bust KK into AA in one and finish 10th. The other I manage to get nothing going. Flop top pair with KQ on K84 flop and villain has 84. Did manage to save my stack. Later I lose to same villain when I flop a set of 3s. He flops a set of 7s.

Overall $11 profit, but $13.20 in buy-in/fees. Running ROI through 12 SnGs: -5.30%. Still real early for my SnG play this year. Let's see how it is at year's end.

18 February 2010

Bodog Poker's Beginner Sit and Gos

I like Sit and Gos [SnGs] because they allow for a lot of poker action in a large variety of situations. You get the early stages, the mid-stage where being good at bubble play is important and the late stage where, hopefully, you get heads-up with another opponent for the top prize. Certainly, SnGs don’t pay the top positions nearly as much as a real deep final table run in a multi-table tournament, but the added benefits of SnGs more than make up for the larger fields of MTTs. Good SnG players can make a good living at poker and most of the time with less variance than the typical tournament grinder.

An added benefit of a SnG is the field size and start times. Heads-up, 6-Max, fullring and anywhere from 1 to 20 tables are all available to the SnG player. The ultimate benefit, however, is the start times. You register, wait for the SnG to fill up with opponents and start play. There is no necessity to put the family on hold for that special 8PM tournament you like. You don’t have to worry if that late breakfast with your dad is going to make you late for that morning’s $100 rebuy. In the era of high-speed internet connections and rapid lifestyles, SnGs are the ultimate in plug-and-play poker.

This brings me to Bodog Poker’s “Beginner” Sit and Gos. When I first found their Beginner SnGs I initially thought that players would only have access to them for a limited amount of time after signing up for a new Bodog Poker account and depositing. This is not the case.

The name is a bit of a misnomer. They are listed as “Beginner” SnGs due to the very different prize structure. Rather than pay out to the top 3 spots as per traditional SnGs, the Beginner SnGs pay out the top 5 spots of players [10-person tables]. This is very user-friendly for players who are new to SnGs….and to good players who are looking for a little less variance. I know what you are thinking. Aren’t these basically just Double or Nothing SnGs where the top 5 players earn double their buy-in sans fee? On the surface, yes. The top half of finishers get prize money, while the bottom half do not. Where they vary is in the payouts.

In a Beginner single table Sit and Go, the prize pool is split 30%-25%-20%-15%-10% paying out 1st to 5th, respectively. Players get less variance, but at the small cost of less of the prizepool when they finish in the top two positions. The added benefit of the Beginner SnGs is consolation prize money when they hit 4th or 5th place.

So how do Beginner level SnGs compare to regular SnGs? If you were to play ten $2 SnGs of each type and finished in each of the 10 possible positions, both SnGs would garner you a return of $20. This would give you a Return of Investment [ROI] of -9.09% in each type of tournament. Keep in mind that even though you won as much in prizepool as you paid into it, you gain a net loss of $2 because that is how much you paid in fees to play. Now, let’s switch it up a bit. You play ten $2 regular SnGs and ten $2 Beginner SnGs. This time you win twice, finish 2nd and 3rd once each and finish 4th twice and 5th once in each. The other 3 times you finish somewhere between 6th and 10th. Here is what your results would look like:

You’d make an extra $1 in profit playing the regular SnGs under this example with an ROI of 36.36% compared to 31.82% for the Beginner SnGs. However, just finish one more time in 5th place and the ROI for the Beginner SnGs increases to 40.91%. These “bubble” finishes in regular SnGs won’t pay off like they will in the Beginner SnGs.

Like anything else, players need to find what they are comfortable with. I like both regular and Beginner SnGs. The key, however, is that Beginner SnGs are only available at Bodog Poker, so when I play there I like having the opportunity to play them.

Single table Beginner SnGs are available in the following buy-ins: $2+$0.20, $4+$0.40, $8+$0.80, $16+$1.60, $32+$3.

Beginner SnGs are also available in 2-Table $4+$0.40 and 3-Table $2+$0.20 variety, paying 8 and 10 places, respectively.

I played a set of 6 of the $2+$0.20. I managed to win $14, meaning a measly $0.80 profit. For having not played any SnGs in probably 2 or 3 months, I'm happy with the roughly 6% ROI. Let's see how I do in the future!

Been a Very Long Time....

...but I'm reclaiming my blog. I'll be posting here as often as possible. Why? I've been granted a slot on the front page of InternetTexasHoldem.com where I'll be talking about anything and everything poker. I'm uncertain if I'll do 100% cross posting.

I plan on using the space on the front page at ITH mostly for announcing new things in the online poker world. Stuff like Full Tilt Poker's new Rush NL tables, Bodog's Beginner SnGs [look for that today] and anything else that jumps out at me. Look for a blog post here and on ITH regarding the upcoming $4 Million Guarantee that PokerStars is running on Sunday, February 21st at 4:30PM EST. This is going to be a huge donkfest. Between the normal $200 buy-in and the absolute insane numbers of satellite qualifiers, I expect a prizepool somewhere around $5 Million. We'll see if this becomes a reality.

Nominally, however, I am going to get back to posting about my experiences in playing online and live. I haven't played as much poker as I had in the past, but I have played most days since my last blog post. I'll post the Bodog Beginner SnG post here and add a few comments about my 6-SnG session in them from yesterday.