Wednesday, February 28, 2007

SNG Middle Stages - Part #1

Promised to look at the middle stages of SNGs a while back now after some reader requests... actual post was prompted by a pair of queens!

I was in the SB with said queens, the BB was 50 with 7 players left - UTG+1 makes it 200 (he has me covered 2200ish to 1800ish) and folded to me... to cut a long one short the guy was loose - enough for me to kill his likely range - and I shoved, he folded and on went the game... but things are not always so straight forward!

Imagine this scenario - BB=100, 7 left and you have 1500 (starting stack) you are UTG with those Queens... what is the best course of action here? Well, you obviously need to raise - somewhere between 2.5 and 3.5 the BB works depending on what is standard for this table... the real issue comes with a flat call from someone in position - this can end up being a tricky spot!

Now the flop comes 2 A 7 of 3 suits - a classic way ahead / way behind situation, either you are drawing to 2 outs or your opponent is... should you be CBetting this? If you do Cbet and get called what is the best course of action? What happens if you cBet then get reraised all in? Would a delayed Cbet be better?? Difficult spots and quite common ones...

CBet or not? Mostly yes, sure that Ace is scary - but you raised UTG and were only called, you have represented that ace and would more or less be giving the pot away if you checked. There are 2 important factors here for me - the size of your initial raise and your read on the opponent.

Your initial raise makes a huge difference to the size of the pot and Cbet size here, if you raised 3.5 the BB then the pot is 850 here, you would need to put in 400 to 500 to get a fold, if you do not get one your stack just went from 1500 to 650 with the blinds approaching - you have almost certainly committed yourself... now a smaller 2.5x raise makes life eaiser, the pot is 650 and here 300 should get a fold if your opponent has no ace... but if it all goes wrong you still have 950 chips to play with - not great but some fold equity in there at 100/50 blinds.

Your read on your opponet is important here - will this player always bet? Will this player bet with the ace but check behind without it? Is this the kind of player who will call your bet with something other than the ace? Against and unknown I mostly fire off the cbet, against someone I have labelled as tight-passive a cheaper alternative is to check and see what they do - if they check behind fire on the turn instead (the delayed cbet).

If you cbet then get reraised all in you are likely drawing to 2 outs, fold here and live to fight another day. If you get flat called... now try and get to showdown as cheaply as possible... a flat call could be a weak ace or could be a pair between the 7 and the ace - there are some opponents out there who will usually call the flop bet and then give up on the turn (I make notes on these types as '2 barrels required') here is not the spot for firing no.2 though - check the turn and check / call a small bet on the river instead.

Well there is no right or wrong answer to this one - hope to have provided a little food for thought on what to think about though! On my 'middle game' list are smaller pairs, restealing and my personal chip building method - the push over limpers!!

Strongly suggest that any non-US players out there check out Titan Poker (link on top right)... it is not called 'the new fishtank' for nothing!!

Cheers, Mark

PS: Video giving me trouble - completed one only to find I have overwritten the first half with the second and then completely messed up the next by having a tourney keep popping up during the game. Serves me right for trying to use a free trial version of the software - will have another go this coming weekend (going to buy the software this time and close all my other games down!!).


MrTynKyn said...

Very great article.
Mark , I can see my comments on you blog , do you see this ?
Please let me know , if I dont get an answer I will try on mail , but I have a blog and I know is kind to see people commenting .
Another advice , set to free post for the users , it`s democratic :-)
Thanks again for your help

Mark - An Englishman Abroad said...

Hi Mr TynKin, yes I see all of your comments and always publish them ;o)

I do not like the unmoderated version as people seem to like selling replica watches through my blog!!

Thanks for the feedback, always appreciated. Let me know if you can see any room for improvement.

Cheers, Mark