Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Party Poker Steps SNGs - A Guide to Steps Strategy Part #1

Said a while back that I would have a look at Party Poker Steps Strategy... thought it through and there is actually a fair amount to cover. Plan is to have 2 or 3 posts over the next week or so on this subject, interspersed with the usual plan3t gong strategy stuff! This will be a introduction post...

It is well known that Party Poker pulled out of the US market, for US readers I temporarily refer you to Sit and Go Planet which has plently of US-friendly strategy articles on SNGs, MTTs and Satellites:

Better start with an overview... what are steps SNGs and are they worth playing?

The idea of these is that you play SNG tournaments which, instead of awarding a cash prize, award entry into a higher buy-in SNG. There are 6 levels in total starting at $3 and going up to $500... The final step pays big cash prizes ($2000 for the winner).

There are 2 reasons you might want to play:

1 - Cash! A chance of a big prize for a limited outlay.

2 - Playing time. The nature of these SNGs is that you often move down the steps ladder as well as up, this means you can actually get a lot of play for your money.

Here is an overview of the prizes for the different levels:

Step 1: Entry Fee $3 – 1st and 2nd Place win entry into Step 2. 3rd and 4th get another Step 1 entry.

Step 2: Entry Fee $10 – 1st and 2nd Place win entry into Step 3. 3rd and 4th get another Step 2 entry, 5th and 6th get a Step 1 entry.

Step 3: Entry Fee $30 – 1st, 2nd and 3rd win entry to Step 4, 4th gets a Step 3 entry, 5th to 7th get entry to Step 2.

Step 4: Entry Fee $70 - 1st, 2nd and 3rd win entry to Step 5, 4th gets another Step 4 entry, 5th gets a step 3 entry, 6th and 7th get a Step 2 entry.

Step 5: Entry Fee $150 – 1st and 2nd win Step 6 entry, 3rd and 4th get another Step 5 entry, 5th and 6th get a Step 4 entry and 7th + 8th get a Step 3 entry.

Step 6: Entry Fee $500 – 1st gets $2000, 2nd $1000, 3rd $700, 4th and 5th $500.

Fine, so what aspects of SNG Strategy do we need to cover here? Well there are actually several interesting aspects when compared to 'normal' SNGs.

- More places get paid, this can go up to 8 places! The cost of busting out early is high - relatively speaking - compared to a standard SNG.

- Some of the payout spots move down the steps ladder. So you bust in 5th (for example) in a Step 4 SNG and are back at Step 3. On paper you have lost $40 here, the question is how does the backup of almost half of your $ back affect the value of chips and thus your calling / pushing ranges?

- Equal prizes for the first 2 or 3. This makes the late game play more like a Satellite than a standard bubble... what ICM adjustments so we need to make?

Yep, certainly looking like 3 parts!

In addition we have another question to ask... could it be profitable for an experienced SNG player to buy-in higher up the Steps ladder? To answer this we need to look at the maths, would your chance of getting a Step 6 seat * your probability of cashing make several Step 4 entries worthwhile??

So many questions to leave you with... ah well in the meantime GL at the Tables!

You can check out Party Poker via the link below:

Cheers, Mark


Kenn said...

hello mate

loved the write-up on steps i play on PP and have often seen them while looking around but never thought about playing them, didnt know how they worked.

so will defo give it a go now, quick question if you reach a certain stage cash you take the cash value or do you always have to move up until you hit the top step?

thanks sorry if you have previously covered this, and if you dont mind i linked you to my blog.


Mark said...

Hi Ken, Thanks for the oomment and link... Steps only pay for the top level (though those payouts are big). Will be looking at the ICM over the next few days.

Great blog by the way! Will get a link up to you next time I update them.

Cheers, Mark

Kenn said...

thanks Mark, have you taken a few of these down before? and is there heaps of traffic at the top level, i think this w/end i may give a couple of these a go. what level do you recommend buyin in at - $30 seems like a fair starting place or do you start lowwer?

Mark said...

I Have not actually played on party for a while now - withdrew my BR there to protest at them charging my fiance's account with a 'unused account fee'... keep considering going back though!

Personally $30 level sounds right but guess it depends on one's usual buy-in levels... the $70 level might be worth considering though due to the high number of 'paid' places...

Cheers, Mark

Mark said...

Oh, one more thing... will get around to the ICM part soon - keep coming up with new ideas that get in the way!!

Cheers, Mark