Monday, May 28, 2007

Party Poker Steps SNGs - A Guide to Steps Strategy Part #3 - Buying In Half Way Up!

Time for part #3 of the Party Poker Steps SNG Strategy series... before we get going I am aware that Party are not available to US players, and that some 30% of Plan3t Gong readers are from the US! Just to let you know that I have a post in plan to expand the 'Steps' Sit N Go concept to creating your own steps - or simply creating your own SNG challenge. This one should be ready in the next week to 10 days and will be applicable to readers wherever they are in the world...

Right, this post is going to look at the overall profitability of Party Poker Steps based on buying in at some of the mid-levels vs your chances to move up - the key factor will be your equity in the final step with the $2000 first prize... we will be comparing buying in at the mid-levels vs buying in directly to the final ($500) level here - the last post in this series will cover final table strategy and ICM for Step 6.

This is actually the 3rd in the Steps articles series - here are links to the first two in case you missed them.

Part #1 Covered Party Steps Basics / Payouts and Numbers

Part #2 Covered Party Steps Strategy + SNG ICM for the lower levels

So todays question - from the perspective of a winning SNG player, is it financially viable to buy-in to the steps at the mid to high levels??

There are 2 main factors to consider.

1) Your potential edge vs the opposition (expectation of finishing in place X for any given game)

2) Your houly rate in 'normal' SNGs compared to the time taken to get to Step 6.

Let us start with a Step 3. This has a $30 buy-in and pays out in the following format. 1st to 3rd, entry for Step 4 ($70), 4th try again step 3 ($30), 5th to 7th down to Step 2 ($10).

So, you are a winning Sit N Go Player at the $30 level with a healthy 15% ROI - you also understand the payout structure and are able to adapt your early game play to avoid busting out in one of the 3 unpaid places as much as possible... what could we suggest your expectation for your $30 investment to be??

Lets take a stab at how often you'd get straight to step 6...

Step 3, 1-2-3 move up to step 4... will work with 40%

Step 4, 1-2-3 move up to step 5... again a generous 40% - Total now = 40% of 40% or 16%

Step 5, 1 and 2 move to step 6.... 30% seems high but certainly possible - 30% of 16% = 4.8%

Note that we have not yet included the 'try again' and 'step down' finishes... if getting straight to the top with a $30 investment were possible 5% of the time we are actually showing a $5 loss compared to buying in directly (5% of $500 = $25!).

So now we can look into the slightly more complex task of accounting for the equity of the 'try again / step down' instances.

Step 3 - 4th re-try 5th+6th+7th = step 2. re-try we already covered above, its 4.8%. For step 2 the first 2 finishers get a place in step 3- we will use 30% again so 30%*4.8% = 1.4%. To add this to the main figure we then assume that 6% of the time we try again we actually make it to step 6, so 6% of the 4.8% an additional 0.3% to add to the total. Running total = 5.1%

Step 4 - 4th re-try, 5th step 3, 6th 7th step 2. Well once we reach step 4 we win a step 6 seat 12% of the time... so the try again alone = 12% on top of our 4.8% or another 0.6%, the extra step 3 adds 0.3% - we will add another 0.1% for the step 2's too! - Running total = 6.1%

Step 5 - Both 3rd and 4th get another step 5 entry... 5th and 6th Step 4, 7th and 8th step 3. So using the same idea we get a step 6 from the try-again slots around 20% of 30% of the time (that is 6% alone) twice we add another step 4 (2*1% from previous calc) and twice more we add another step 3 (2 * 0.3%)... so all of these combined put our total up to 14.7%...

That is not bad for a $30 investment... the real return then is 14.7% of $500 or $73.50c

The key of course would be how often you cash in the top slot, no longer would we expect the successful mid-level player to have too much of an edge (after all if the opposition were that bad the top players would all be buying in directly!!).

How do we factor in your hourly rate to this - not actually going to cover the maths here as the post is too long already. This would appear to be more a function of whether you are able to multi-table than an exchange for SNG profits made in the usual way... if you see the average return (the $30 up to $73,50 as taking 4 hours - to factor in the try-again slots) then it should be simple enough to compare to what you are earning on the $30 tables at the current time.

Will look at the ICM and Strategy for the $500 Step 6 next time - 4 payout slots and those who have moved up the ladder feeling desperate to grab one of the money prizes will both make a difference to your strategy.

For a comprehesive review of Party Poker SNGs check out this article over at SNG Planet...
Party Poker SNG Strategy

If you are not a member of Party then you are missing out on some of the softest opposition on the internet!! Check them out here Party Poker

GL at the tables,



Rob1606 said...

Hi Mark,

very interesting series of posts. I hope you reach Step 6 in this series before I do :-) I managed to get into Step 5 from Step 1 on the second attempt. If I do reach Step 6, I might just wait until you post about it, since I have never played at anything close to this level...

Mark said...

Thanks Rob, I only ever played 3 step 6's - a couple of years ago now and before I thought about ICM / strategy etc, 1 *2nd place and 1*4th!!

Will do a post designed to get readers thinking about their strategy adjustments next week... but if you are looking for some insights from someone more experienced at the $500+ levels then I'd recommend a PxF subscription and a detailed study of Sheet's SNG videos.

Cheers, Mark