Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Early Game Sit n Go Strategy - Completing The Small Blind

Time for more early game Sit N Go Strategy... this time on completing the small blind, particularly with limpers ahead. My thought is that this is not as simple as a decision as it first appears... that there is always a risk of comitting more to the pot than you first imagined.

Let us first set a scene, you are in the small blind at 50/100 with 6 opponents, a player limps ahead of you and you must make a decision about whether to 'flick in' those 50 extra chips to see a pot of 300. We will assume no very large or small stacks involved at this point.

On the positive side, you are being offered a massive 5/1 from the pot, with average stacks of approx 2000 your potential gain is large if you hit a monster, that is your implied odds are huge.

On the negative side the player in the big blind might raise - meaning you'll be throwing away those precious chips. You will also be out of position for the rest of the hand, not just first to act, but sandwiched between the guy who voluntarily put chips into the pot (the limper) and the other guy (big blind) assuming the limper is the guy more likely to make a play for the pot.

So, we need to think of the determining factors - what might influence your decision on whether to complete or not. Here are a few thoughts:

- Your stack size, especially relative to the others in the hand.
- The hand that you are dealt (we are assuming nothing too strong - else you'd have raised!)
- Your ability in playing hands out of position.
- The tendancies of your opponents.

Conserving chips in a SNG is important, especially as the bubble approaches. If we are not confident enough to raise and take the pot then should we be playing the hand at all? Sure this small blind may be a tiny fraction of your stack - but those tiny fractions might add up to 200 or 300 chips pretty quickly.

Hand strength is a tricky area, of the hands that we are not going to raise with should we complete with the medium hands - the problem with holdings like A-3 or K-6 off (for example) is that we are unlikely to know where we stand after the flop without hitting 2 -pair or better. These types of hands are easily dominated. Hands such as 7-8 off or 3-4 suited are sometimes better, but then again we are more likely to hit a draw than a made hand... which will involve risking more chips than the 50 we completed the blind with to contest the pot after the flop.

My personal thought is that post-flop play, together with the tendancies of your opponents are the critical factors. Ask yourself whether you are liable to lose chips if you catch a small piece of the flop, be honest now - it is easy to overestimate your ability to lay down a small top-pair, would you really do it?? If your opponents are timid or overly tight you may be able to pick up the pot or take free cards to make your unlikely draw after the flop. If they are calling stations or like to stab or bluff at the pot then you can not be certain that you are risking just the 50 chips at all...

One more thing, if you are a multi-tabler then completing the SB may result in having to make some post flop judgements, depending on the number of tables played I would try to avoid these when they are not neccessary.

Well, hope that has given you something to think about - guess the main point of this article is - "How sure can you be that you are only comitting 50 chips!"

GL at the tables, Mark


Rob1606 said...

Just a minor point, but shouldn't it be 5:1 odds in your example? I don't think you should count your own 50 chips as being already in the pot. You are betting 50 to win the 250 chips that are on the table.

I say it is minor, but actually the difference between 5:1 and 6:1 is quite relevant. I certainly fold a big majority of hands in this case. On the other hand, if there are *two* limpers before me and the blinds are still small, I call with practically any two cards.

Mark said...

Oops, thanks for pointing that one out Rob - corrected the post as this is indeed significant.

I am less likely to complete these days - the disadvantage of playing out of position means it is easy to lose chips but far more difficult to win a big pot...

Cheers, Mark

Littleacornman said...

Good post.I lost a stupid pot last night completing with k6 and losing half my stack to a higher kicker on a King high flop.

I actually check raised the villain hoping to look stronger than I was but this was only a $6 turbo and he wasn't going anywhere with his K10...

Dremeber said...

Love your view on it.
I find it most of the time an easy decision cause I'm bad at playing hands out of position.