Sunday, May 20, 2007

Party Poker Steps SNGs - A Guide to Steps Strategy Part #2

As promised here is Part #2 of the analysis of Party Poker Steps Sit N go Tournament Strategy.

In case you missed part #1 here it is... Party Poker Steps Sit n Go Strategy Guide Part #1 (Will Open a new window).

Part #2 will start by looking at the lowest 3 levels, discussing early game strategy and then looking at the bubbles in terms of prize pool equity and ICM. Let us start at the beginning - you just sat down in a Step 1 - a 10 player $3 SNG with 4 places 'paid' (1 and 2 get a $10 step 2 entry and 3+4 get their $3 back in the form of a Step 1 'try again').

The first thing we need to consider is the potential quality of the opposition. One word - poor. We will be honest here, the average Step player at the lower levels will not have the slightest clue about SNG strategy, let alone have considered the strategy adjustments for the unique payout structure. The kind of players we will meet think A6 off is a premuim hand and will call their entire stack on a gutshot... we need to be careful!

Seeing cheap flops is fine here, since your implied odds for hitting are bigger than normal. Cut down (almost to zero) on bluffing but value bet TPTK. Make bigger than normal raises with premium pairs (they will be called!) but slow down a little with high card hands such as AK... if you hit the flop go into value bet mode if you miss then quietly fold and wait for a better opportunity.

So what about the ICM for step 1 - 4 places paid and you are on the bubble. Prize pool equity looks like this with even stacks (total prizes = $26, 2 * $10 and 2 * $3)

Player 1 - 4000 - $5.20
Player 2 - 4000 - $5.20
Player 3 - 4000 - $5.20
Player 4 - 4000 - $5.20
Player 5 - 4000 - $5.20

So, looking at an all-in situation we can work out the risk vs reward

Player 1 - 0 (lost!) -
Player 2 - 8000 - $7.85
Others - 4000 each - $6.05

So, to call and all in at the bubble you risk $5.20 to win an extra $3.65 - the odds you lay against yourself are 1.42 to 1 - in other works you need 70% winning chances against your opponents pushing range to make this +$ev.

The poker maths + theory suggest that you can now work out your pushing range based on what an aware opponent would be willing to call with... but wait....! We are not talking about aware opponents here, we are working with zero-level thinkers who are looking at their own cards and assessing how pretty they look!

An example range should include most Aces, All Pairs and any-2 face cards, there is a good chance that it includes lone kings and queens too as long as they are sooted. Yep, you are likely to be called by 15% for the first push and 20% to 30% if you keep up the bubble shoving. Let us work backwards and calculate what you can shove with (assuming just 1 opponent) for push number 2 and onwards.

70% of the time you win the blinds (600 chips for our example). And add 40c to your equity.

30% of the time you are called and are risking $5.20 to win an extra $3.65, you are called by 30% of all hands here of course - however you do not need to win 70% (as we already counted the blind money as your overlay). You need to win almost half the time you are called to make this a positive expectation move... that is winning 15 of the 30 showdowns + the blind money 70% of the time will give you a slight positive expectation.

So - against one opponent you can push 30% then right?


We already covered the reason why.... since your opponents do not understand bubble play, there is a large % chance that they will bust each other, giving you a free ride into one of the paying slots. You need to factor this into ranges before risking your chips - if there is a 30% chance (for example) that you will gain 85c in equity on any given round by doing nothing then take this into account - narrow that pushing range so that when you do risk your chips you have a nice overlay - I would suggest 15% to 20% vs one opponent narrowing significantly for more than one (10% minumum for 2 opponents each with wide pushing ranges).

Oops - another long post, will continue with this theme next week (since only non-US players can play at Party I will do a couple of more general posts first!).

GL at those Party Poker Steps SNG Tables!


1 comment:

Scott said...

mark- thanks, you have done it again, also have sent some traffic my way so again thanks. Just made a monster post asking some questions I would like your insight