Sunday, January 21, 2007

SNG Bubble Play #3 - Small Stack Play

Here is the next SNG Bubble Guide on how to use ICM to improve your online Sit and Go results... last time we looked at the scenario where there was 1 big stack and 3 small stacks at the bubble - same setup for this one, except we are going to look at it from the perspective of the small stacks.

Here is the setup along with current prize pool equity based on a $100 pool and not accounting for the blinds:

Biggy: 5200 - Current Equity = $37.71
Smally 1: 1600 - Current Equity = $20.76
Smally 2: 1600 - Current Equity = $20.76
Smally 3: 1600 - Current Equity = $20.76

The first point to make is that smally 3 is actually in a bad spot here. When he is in the SB the big stack will be in the BB, the biggys looser calling range means pushing profitably from the SB is more difficult... one 'rule of thumb' I use is to try and spot these situations in advance, if the stack to my right gets big early on in the SNG this should act as a trigger to loosen up your play - especially with the other medium-small stacks. The reason for this is that having the big stack to act after you is a major disadvantage at the bubble - so you should be more willing to gamble early to try and offset this.

Now, calling ranges of course are player dependant (see article #1 in this series) so what can a small stack profitably shove into another short stack here? The twist on the dynamic is that all of the short stacks are both desperate to double and deparate not to bubble... for me the questions to ask before you decide to shove are:

1) What is the big stack doing, is he (correctly) pushing / raising a lot of hands?

2) How about the other smallies - are they aware of stack sizes? Are they likely to confront the big stack or get all in against each other?

3) Are one or both other smallies attempting to fold into the money or waiting for premium hands?

4) Do the other players at the table understand bubble play in general??

An example; Biggy has folded UTG, you are next to act with the blinds at either 200/100 or 400/200 from the button. What can you profitably push here in the following scenarios?

Scenario #1; Both small stacks looking to fold into the money.

Blinds 200/100 - We will give them both tightish ranges (they are too small for super-tight so 66+ A10o+ would be reasonable here), you can push a wide variety of hands in this situation something near 60% - any pair, ace, king, Queen-6o +, high jacks and most suited connectors.
Blinds 400/200 - Now we need to loosen their ranges a little - not too much, although the blinds are huge in proportion to their stacks they will be through them soon. I think 44+ A6o+ and KJs+ would be fair here). Your pushing range is 100% - yep, the pot of 600 is so valuable to you that any 2 cards are good enough here.

Scenario #2; One looking to fold into the money and the other one not understanding bubble play.

Blinds 200/100 - So we keep the ranges the same for one opponent and loosen up the other, the guy who does not understand the bubble will be calling you much ligher here, especially if you have shoved into him a lot lately! We will give him any pair, any ace, any 2 broadway cards and high suited connectors such as 910s. This guy changes the dynamic considerably - you now need a decent hand to shove the button - I would use 66+ A10o+ here as a guideline. This seems tight but to make up for it you have an increased chance that this opponent will fight with one of the other players without solid values (hopefully the big stack!!).
Blinds 400/200 - Same ranges as above - but now the pot is big enough to be worth taking some risks over... here you can push 46%, any pair, any ace K3s+ and most high card / suited connector combinations.

Scenario #3; One smally is a maniac, the other is next to the big stack and so looking for a fight with any decent holding.

Blinds 200/100 - Be careful here, the looser ranges are important but so is the fact that these guys might well end up fighting each other or the big stack and getting you into the money by default. We will give the maniac top 50% of hands (he thinks you are bluffing!) and the other guy the same range as the guy in scenario 2 who did not understand the bubble - Pairs, Aces and broadway / connector combinations. Now you really need to tighten that pushing range - 88+ a10s+ only - far to likely that you end up gambling your $20 equity here.
Blinds 400/200 - Loosen the pushing range a little, but not too much - we need to balance the size of the current pot with the high risk of being called. Push 55+ A5s+ and KJs+ from here.

Still another factor of the same setup is where the big stack and button fold and you are next to act in the SB with another smally in the BB. Here your read on the player is important, but not as important as awareness that the other guy has to have a hand of some sort to call you. Your pushing range should be very wide here... any 2 against tight opponents, any 2 against average opponents when the blinds are up to 400/200 - against loose opponents you need some sort of a hand, but top 40% should be just fine. The point to make is that you are unlikely to have a better opportinuty to add chips to your stack than this - so make the most of it!!

Next time I will look at a slightly different setup - 2 big and 2 small stacks.

Cheers, Mark


Martin said...

Hi Mark,

Newbie question...could you tell us how you are working out the equity figures / percentages please?

In your example, I would have thought that equity would be arrived upon by dividing chips by 100. seems to agree with me.



mftpg said...

Hi Martin,

The only time dividing the stacks by 100 would be correct for the equity % is where the winner takes all the prize pool.

ICM uses a % finish first for the biggy then excludes the biggy and calculates the % finish distribution for the next stack etc etc etc until all the permutations are covered.

I tried with your link and my equity calcs held up - make sure the percentage of prize pool is set to 0.5 for 1st, 0.3 for 2nd and 0.2 for 3rd and you should get the same results.

Cheers, Mark

MrTynKyn said...

Great job Mark !!