Friday, January 12, 2007

ICM for SNGs - Rules of Thumb

Interesting little debate over on www.fool.co.uk about pushing / spite calls / situations where you can not call... reminded me that I promised to look deeper into push and fold ranges for SNGs here.

While my push / fold game is not yet perfect (if anything a little on the tight side once I have chips) it is better than most non-regulars at the 16s. There is a key point to make here - you can not 'memorise' push / fold ranges on their own, the 2 big keys are judging the situation (blinds / stack sizes / location of big and small stacks) and accurately putting your opponent on a calling range.

Will start with putting people on calling ranges; First some questions to ask...

1) Does my opponent understand the nature of the bubble? Vital, someone who understands the distribution of prize pool equity has a tighter calling range and a looser pushing range than someone who does not. Someone who understands what is happening will take account of the presence of a micro-stack / big stack at the table and adjust... again if they do not understand they will play only their cards.
2) Are there 2 (or more) people who do not understand the nature of the bubble? Have seen the 2 biggest stacks go to war on numerous occasions, spewing equity to the small stacks!! If this is the case then you can tighten your ranges a little, as there is an increased chance of folding into the money (only a little though - always a risky strategy!).
3) Do my opponents correctly understand pot odds? Horrible players at the 16s sometimes fold getting 3/1 or even 4/1 with chips when a shorty pushes - makes me cringe to watch it! If this is the case then we can safely loosen our pushing range against this opponent - but tighten the calling range, he is not playing any 2 cards here.


So, lets try and put some calling ranges on opponents from here; For now assuming even stacks and not factoring in "the situation".

Tighty - Will give this guy pairs above 1010, aQs+
Mr Average - Pairs above 55, a8+ and KJs+
Mr Loose - Any Pair, any Ace, K7s+ K10o+
Mr Maniac - Any Pair, Ace, King, Q6s+ and suited connectors such as 910s.
Mr "Any 2" - any 2!

OK, so its folded to you in the small blind - what can you profitably push into these guys as a one off event??? Will assume 200/400 blinds and even stacks of 3000 after posting.

Tighty and Mr Average - 100% (yep every single hand!!) even 72o here is profitable - if Mr Tight is only calling with top 7% you will pick up the blinds so often that the % of showdowns won becomes secondary....
Mr Loose - Top 28%, thats a lot of hands!! 22, A, K9s+ connectors down to 87s, here you are going to get called often enough to need a little something to show-down.
Mr Maniac - Top 12%, 66+ a9o+ you need to risk your equity often enough to need a solid hand for pushing here.
Mr Any 2 - Top 6%, 77+ AQo+, got to be tight now - an assured showdown is not something you should be welcoming here without a hand!

Well there is the basics - what I wanted to do here is to give some 'rules of thumb' to use at the table.

- Opponent does not understand bubble dynamics. Assume Mr Average for the first push and Mr Loose for subsequent pushes.
- Opponent is a regular who understands push / fold play. If you are a known regular assume Mr Loose, if you are unknown to the regular assume Mr Average for first 2 pushes then Mr Loose from then on.
- You have pushed the last 2 hands when folded to in the SB and it is folded to you again for the 3rd time... if you are going to push here assume Mr Maniac calling range, if you give the guy the occasional walk then go back to Mr Loose.

Next we turn the tables - it is your Big Blind and the SB has pushed into you... what can you call with? again this depends on the range you give your opponent for pushing...

Mr Tight will only push 77+ A10s+ and maybe here - against this range you need top 1% to call, that is Queens or better! (note: situation may make this tighter still!)
Mr Average will push 55+, A8o+ and KQ - you need JJ+ (top 2%)
Mr Loose will push any pair, A5o+ and KJo+ - you can now call with a huge 4%!! 99+ / Aqo+.
Mr Maniac will push any Pair, Ace, King or Queen and connectors down to 98s - feel free to call with 88+ AJo and A10s - fold everything else.
Mr "Any 2" will push, erm, any 2! Now you can widen that range to 14%, thats 55+ a7o+ and K10s+

The important point here is that you calling ranges - all else being equal - are very tight. At the 16s here is are the rules of thumb I use for calling....

- Assume Mr Loose in the absence of any other information.
- Assume Mr Maniac for regulars (specific people I will call vs the ' any 2' range - and no I am not going to tell you who they are!).

Wow, so many words and we have only scratched the surface; We need to factor in many more things including; stack sizes (the presence of a micro (1 or 2* BB only)) stack or 1 biggy and 3 equal others, Position of those stacks relative to you, effect of blinds being higher or lower and the effect of the willingness of the other players to get in against each other.

I have looked at what happens to your prize pool equity if you call too light at the bubble in my eBook - 'A comedy of errors' - grab your free copy today!

Cheers, Mark

1 comment:

Joeri said...

I love this post. More of this please !! Finally some easy to understand guidelines, instead of advise like " SNGPT ! STUDY, DONK !"