Tag Archives: SnG

The Knock on Effect is Felt.

Due to the recent events over the pond, concerning 3 major players in the world of online poker, the knock on effect is being felt [deliberate pun] on the other networks.

I have been playing, on and off, the DoN SnG games on Players on the Merge network. The regulars are either loose maniacs or tight as a ducks arse nits, with no real in-between. Until recently that is. There seems to have been an influx of players who know nothing of ICM or bubble play and how they shape the game, especially around the bubble. They either don’t know, or don’t care, and will push right back at you when you are 3betting or even, on the odd occasion, 4betting them. It’s ok to be shoving AA if you are opening the betting, but in reality, you  should not be calling a shove in front of you, period, with anything, yes, even AA. The dynamic of the DoN game is totally different to other SnG game. You are aiming to cash, not win!! It’s a simple enough concept. In a regular SnG, you are aiming to win, or should be. the prize pool is split 50/30/20, so the chip values are different to a DoN game, where you aim to cash as all players in the top 5 share the prize equally. To me, its important to understand the difference because it greatly affects your equity etc etc.

As a result, I am having to modify my game again, to try to counter these new players. It’s not easy though, with limited info so far. I am having to look very hard at stats to try to figure out whats going on.  There appears to be a lack of hands going to any kind of showdown, working on any kind of range is hard work. These fellas are not like the regs, they play a more varied game, which is a new challenge and one I will meet and hopefully beat. I have had to tighten up my game again, just as I was trying a looser style, so that experiment is kind of on the back burner for now, while I try not to lose my meagre roll. I had, a few weeks back, doubled up and was looking to step up a level to the $5+.50 buy in games, but I have slipped back somewhat and am trying to grind it back up. I am two tabling now in comfort and might, just might, add a third table in the next few days? but might also wait for that. I want to get up to 4 tables going eventually, without losing the personal touch along the way. I don’t want to be a robot, playing 5% of hands and shoving with KK/AA/AK. That might well be profitable, but I just can’t play like that. I want to be involved and try to make some plays and bluffs and create a table image. I haven’t played enough recently for that to happen, but I do appear to be enjoying playing again, so maybe now I can push on a tad.

Now, I have a load of sessions to update on my HEM so that I can get back to reviewing some of the more marginal hands I play and some of the position play, which I know has been to loose and I am sure the stats will back me up there. There are other small leaks that need some attention as well. I am still folding too often to steals and need to stop that for sure and need to get my 3bet % up a little as well, just to try to balance things up a bit. Only 3betting 4-5% of hands, leaves little room to 3bet some bluffs along the way.

So, its back to the tables as many nights a week as I can manage and back to reviewing sessions and make the required tweaks and adjustments and try to get the show back on the road again.


DoN Update

Just a quick update to my DoN Strategy as it is very much a work in progress.

I have found a new home to play DoN games on the Merge network. Players only has a good bunch of regs playing the $3 games and its taken sometime to get to grips with them as they are all very different in styles. Theres some real nits, if you see them enter a pot, unless you have KK+, then get out of the way.  The vpip stat is so low a snake couldn’t crawl under it. They are easy to steal against as the blinds increase. Raising them always induces a fold unless they have a monster.

I have been working at opening up my bluffing range with mixed success. Its very much trial and error and I am also trying to improve my reads at the same time. Idont always get it right, thats for sure, but its improving. I very much believe that, if you follow M zone at all, that once in the pink zone, you are dead and burried unless you hit a premium hand or get lucky. I prefer to shove before reaching that point and my understanding of ICM makes for good decision making around the bubble. Another few wins and I should be moving up to the $5 games to see how I fare there. I have watched a few games and they are no tougher than the $3 games, so I am looking forward to that.

Position is still very important. The later you are, the wider your range should become. Theres value to be had if you play it right when in good position. You can and should by now be playing all PP, SC, and broadways, plus suited aces and kings, to a degree. I have opened up with K2s in the CO and BU and even the highjack as a semi bluff with good chances of improving. If you have stats on opponents, or good reads, you know that these types of hands are more than playable when in position. Theres not a great deal of 3betting going on, so a lot of the time, you will steal with no resistance. Just be aware of board texture if you do have to see a flop. Cbetting often works, if you have raised pre flop, so use it. Some players will speculate and call a cbet but will fold when you double barrel, so again, just be aware of that, even when you have missed the flop, or its a very dry board.

I also believe strongly in “First in Vigorish”. It means, he who bets first often takes the pot there and then. Look out for check raisers though if you overuse it. Some will cotton on and play back at you, but in a great many cases, the first bet wins the chips. If you dont believe me, try it out for yourself in a few games and see what the results show. I know as I have the stats to go with it.

All DoN strategy has been saying tight is right, tight is right, tight is right. While I agree with that, to a point, I am also finding out that sheer aggression can work as well, especially against the nit regs. You can almost play any two against some of them. But is a tricky situation. be over aggressive and someone will call your bluff, be too tight, you stand a very good chance of blinding out, or reaching your critical intersect and shove with air. Dont get to that point, act before that to give yourself some options and fold equity. With blinds at 200/400, if you only have 2BB left, theres a good chance that any shove will get at least one caller. If you get more than that, your chances of continuing are getting slimmer all the time. Dont do it!

So hopefully, in the not too distant future, I am going to have some more stats to add in here and hopefully they will reflect what I am talking about. well over 5k hands at $3 with a holy trinity of 21/15/3.8 is not doing bad. Its slow going and a grind and I play when I feel like it, but am playing more and more games after midnight GMT as more Americans appear at the tables at that time and I enjoy playing against them.

So stay tuned and I will try and update this with a looser strategy guide in the near future.

Good luck at the tables.

I just need to put another little addition. If you are looking for a good poker forum, with a lot of variation, then you should try this little beauty. The tools link gives you some great free poker tools, just by being a member, which is also free. If you are a SnG player or even a MTT player, then the ICM trainer is a must. It gives you some great info on bubble play and if you dont know what ICM is, then its time you learnt.


Have fun

Wont get fooled again.

Yesterday got off to a flying start. The little one arrived early am and was on good form. She had us laughing within minutes of walking through the door. In many ways, it was a shame she was going to see her other grandma, but she was coming back later on to stay over. She was very tired when she got back and full of cold again. It seems during the winter months the poor bairn [Geordie for child] always has a cold. As much as I hate to criticise the parents, I feel that because they are so used to going everywhere in the car, they forget that when they get out, it can be very cold and the little one gets chilled quickly. They need to learn to make sure she is well wrapped up if they are going out. But trying to tell them is like talking to the wall.

However, the little one came back and we gave her something to eat and drink and got her ready for bed. She had her story as usual and then went to sleep. She had a coughing session around 9pm, but thankfully it didn’t wake her. So until that point, it had been a good day.

I decided to play some poker last night as I have not much recently. I wished I hadn’t bothered. Sadly, I was sat next to a fishy calling station who did not know where the fold button was and he sucked out on me twice when I had raised pre flop and cbet or check raised him. He just didn’t know he was beat and the last hand I shoved with 33 and he called with A8o and hit the ace on the turn. Now calling in that spot with A8o is a pretty terrible play. The fellas stats are lousy. He has a very high VPIP [voluntary put in pot] but a very low PFR [pre flop raise] and also a low AF [aggression factor]. Those 3 stats alone tell you a great deal about the player, but then combine those stats with 3bet and cbet stats and how often they execute those plays, or fold to those plays and you get an even bigger picture. Throw in a couple of position stats and steal folds and you have a very good idea what you are up against. The stats of this player are a joke. He is a real calling station who will play over 40% of starting hands and that can climb to over 50% during some games. He seldom raises, never 3bets and folds to cbets 80% of the time. But last night, he hit 2 and 3 outers to take me down and bust me. Thankfully, recently I have turned the chat off to pay more attention to my game and not get distracted by small talk. That prevented me from calling him a few choice names and I just closed the table, closed the room and went and made a brew [cup of tea]. I let it go and moved on.

I chatted with a mate on Yahoo for a bit about his new laptop and a few other things and then decided it was time to play a few DoN games to finish my night off. So I opened a $3 and a $2 game up and got playing. The $3 went well and I had a decent sized stack by the time we got to the bubble. I stayed out of trouble, folded a couple of big hands to other big stacks and finished in the money. The $2 didn’t go so well. I was not hitting very much and was soon down to 1000 chips and continued to spew even with good hands like AK and AQ and middle PP. It wasn’t long until I busted out of that as it’s no good getting to the bubble and blinding out. I am shoving with a very wide range as soon as the chance presents itself. It’s all in or fold mode and sadly it was all in and busted. I went with A7s in mid position and was called by A9o and they hit the 9 on the flop and I couldn’t improve.

So a 50% success rate to start, pretty standard for me. I always appear to take my time in finding my rhythm and try not to get involved too early. It’s not often you will stack someone early in a DoN game, unless you have AA, KK v QQ or lower and your opponent shoves thinking they are ahead. Thats about the only time you will double up early. Theres always some idiot who will shove early when the blinds are 10/20. Why they do it I have no idea, they risk a lot for little reward and you often find its with marginal hands as well.

But anyway, I opened up another couple of DoN tables. The $3 games were slow last night, but the $2 games were coming thick and fast, so I opted to play two of those. Now I am not one to brag about my skills or ability at a poker table, but for some unknown reason, I do better at the $3 than I do at the $2 games. I can’t identify why. I look through my stats on HEM [Holdem Manager] and there’s nothing there that would indicate a leak at the $2 games. At least not to my eyes anyway. I think I might have to invest in Leakbuster for HEM before too long if this trend continues. It’s not over a huge sample, it’s about 100 games which is nothing really. I am trying to get my roll up so I can move up to the $5 games which is the level I started playing DoN games before I knew anything about BRM [bankroll management]. Now I understand more about BRM, I know I don’t have a big enough roll yet to move up to the $5 games, so I am grinding away at the $2 and $3 games until I reach a figure that I am happy with and that enables me to move up. The 2 tables I had up were terrible. I was card dead in both games. I had the same fella from Oz next to me in both games, one to my right, one to my left. He is a regular nit and I was picking on him. I took him out of one game with and he took me out of the other when maybe I picked on him once too often. I didn’t mind so much. Losing to regulars is no sin, losing to the players who pop up to see what the DoN games are like is a sin, but thankfully not one I am prone to.

I am building a decent database now around the DoN tables and am trying to use those stats to my benefit. Some players I know now and have a very good idea of how they play. But the scene changes so often that keeping stats about all the players is nigh on impossible. Even so, you can see trends quite early and hopefully take advantage of them. I look through my HH and try to look for hands where I made a mistake or could have played it differently. I use HEM to review games as it’s a very good tool for doing that. Combine it will something like Poker Stove and you can take a lot of information from HH. It’s a very under used tool in my opinion at the micro stakes and I am sure if more players took some time to look through their sessions, they would become better players almost overnight.

In between games, I was reading some article called Concept of the Week on 2+2 forums. For any poker player out there, no matter what your level, you will find something of interest in that thread. I read a couple and came across this name more than once. A full ring player goes by the name of SplitSuit. He has a very good website of his own, does some coaching, makes a few videos and overall, his whole set up looks very impressive. Its one I have bookmarked for future ref and something  I can envisage using at some point. I read so much, sometimes you need a third-party involved to help you put it all together. I feel that’s where I am heading. I need to improve a couple of areas of my game. I need to get hand ranges sorted out and also post flop play. I think for the most part, taking mistakes into account as well, my pre flop game is not too bad and I am reasonably happy with that aspect of my game. But it’s no good have a strong pre flop game if you can’t play post flop. So that’s something I am looking to improve this year if at possible.

The little one slept all night which is a godsend and woke about 6.15am. She is with grandma at the soft play and will return before too long. We are going to make some soup this afternoon and eat it later when daddy gets here. I finished the night at the tables, 100 points down and about break even for the DoN games. I would prefer to take four out of six cashes than 3, but 3 is ok in the overall picture of variance. I don’t want to be doing that too often though, the rake will soon kill a BR if that happens too frequently.

So that was my day yesterday, overall, not too bad, just spoilt by one idiot who thinks its ok to call shoves with A8o and call 4xBB raises  with K4s and chase it down to the river when faced with cbets and value bets. I will take more cash or points from him than he will from me, that’s for sure, but that’s little consolation when he has just sucked out on you 3 times.