Saturday, March 11, 2006

On the Subject of My Less Than Iron Will

I suck. I'm playing poker again. My constitution is paper-thin, rain-soaked, flimsy as a French whore's negligee, reeking of absinthe and Galousies.

On the bright side, I immediately went on a heater, playing $55 and $25 turbo SnGs at PokerStars. Immediate impressions include:

1) Man, you can rack up FPPs in a hurry playing sets of fours of these suckers.
2) Man, it's actually nice to take a break from LHE.
3) Man, these things are going to be high variance.

It's interesting as it's been quite awhile since I regularly played lots of SnGs, so it's a little encouraging to think that compare and contrast and realize that I've gotten a shit-ton better at this game of poker since then. The biggest difference is playing pretty fearlessly when it's 4 or 5 handed and everyone goes into turtle mode, hoping to ease into the money before getting jiggy.

I realize this is the first rule of SnG Strategy 101, and it's not that I didn't know that before when I wasn't playing quite so fearlessly, but it's nice to see myself immediately shift into rape and pillage gear, when people start turtling up.

Running well also makes things much happier and shinier, too. I'm racking up a few more 2nds than I like, but yeah, half-full, half-empty.

I've also been a little surprised by the general attitude and strategy immediately after it gets heads-up, and someone is outchipped like 3-1. It seems like a majority of people just push, with anything, immediately, trying to gain ground.

And sure, I fully realize that with big blinds in the neighborhood of 600-800 and a stack of 3,000-4,000, you don't have much wriggle room, at all. But you can see a few hands, yes, and not just push immediately with 83o? I know you're likely going to need to get lucky and double, and double again, but there seems to be little practical difference of doubling a stack of 3,000 as opposed to 2,400 (since you need another double after that), and a world of practical difference of folding 83o when you sit at 3,000 and need a double, willing to take your chances with whatever you get dealt the next hand, sitting at 2,400.

(And yeah, I know, part of it is to steal blinds from the SB, and not that you want to get called with your 83o. And yeah, I understand some of it is the general "Ahh, fuck it, I've got 2nd locked up, I'm way behind, I'm in shove or fold mode, let's just shove.)

Any of you folks with more experience in these have any thoughts on that subject, as far as how you play a short stack in heads-up situations? I guess my question is that I see lots of people pushing in spots when it appears to me they could have waited a few hands, which makes me wonder if I'm underestimating the urgency in those spots when heads-up but outchipped 3-1 or more. How low do you let yourself get, relative to the blinds, when you feel like you have to shove, regardless of the cards?

The big exciting reorg at work turned out to be less than exciting, for myself at least. I'm going to be doing exactly what I'm doing now, working for the same boss, sitting in the same monkey cubicle. Which is good, I guess. And bad.


"Maybe if I sit perfectly still that huge, drunken clay squirrel won't brain me with his giant mug of beer.

2 comments:

BSN said...

The idea is that if a double-up will make it close to 1:1 in chip counts, the big stack will watch the gap concept very closely so as not to double-up the short-stack unnecessarily. While I don't do it with 83o as you've described, my short-stack heads-up push range is pretty wide when blinds are 300/600 and above.

I don't know if it's correct strategy or not, but my HU win rate in SNGs is currently 54% over 155 HU battles. My sense is that I win when I'm the more aggressive player, and lose when I'm not. When I'm the most aggressive, it forces the other player to eventually defend with very marginal hands.

However, I haven't studied HU strategy at all, and will be making this my next area of focus. So, I'd be interested to hear what anyone else thinks. There's a big part of me that believes my HU matches have been decided more by dumb luck than sound strategy.

Wes said...

You can classify me as one of the push monkeys when the blinds are high relatively to my stack.

The reason being that most opponents will only call with around 25% of the hands when I push. This is far too little to call with if they knew I was pushing with any two cards (which I usually am).

I'll show through an ICM calculation why I push with any two when I have 3500 to my opponents 10000 with blinds/antes 300/600/50.

I'll assess the BB calling range to be...

22+,A2s+,A3o+,KTs+,KJo+,QJs

This is what I give my typical opponent as to his calling range.

Now lets assume I have 32o (at a $25 turbo).

1) I fold – T3150, 34.7% of prize pool, $78.00 EV

2a) I push, he folds (76.6%): T4150, 36.15% of prize pool
2b) I push, he calls, I win (6.55%): T7000, 40.4% of prize pool
2c) I push, he calls, I lose (16.84%): T0, 30% of prize pool

You push (total): 35.38% of prize pool, $79.62 EV


As you can see that is a +0.7% EV difference.

Of course, there are times when I see my opponents calling range to be bigger than this, and I try to adjust accordingly. But for the most part, I just push blindlessly.