Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Sit and Go Strategy - Early Game Bet Sizes...

Playing some SNGs the other day, set of 4 this time, and noticed 2 multi-tablers with opposite ideas on pre-flop raise sizes during the first few blind levels... well, in true PG poker tradition this got me thinking about bet sizing in Early Game Sit n Go Strategy...

Here is what the 2 opponents were doing:

- Player 1: Raising 5 to 6 times the big blind when opening a pot... seemingly regardless of position. This guy was playing 10+ tables

- Player 2: Always raised 2.5 times, saw him do this with both good and weaker hands alike.

These guys were moving away from the table standard of 3 to 4 times BB in the early game... let us start with looking at the pro's and con's of each.

Bigger Raises... well this is usually going to get the worst trash that people call raises with in lower level SNGs. Suited Kings / Ace-Rag / Unsuited Broadway cards and the like. The positives are the increased chance of picking up the blinds, the better understanding of opponents hands when you are flat called (after all there are only a limited amount of hands which would call a 6 times raise but not reraise) and the opportunity to build a nice sized pot when you do have a monster hand. The negatives (assuming raising big with all hands this person wanted to play) is that those times you are re-raised you lose more chips, hands that might have stayed in will fold those times you have a monster (aces or kings) and when you do get called you are likely up against a stronger hand - so continuation betting may become less effective.

Smaller Raises... here we need to ask a question - would a small raise (125 at bb=50 for example) encourage hands that might have folded to a 3 x BB raise to call instead... at the lower levels (these were $16 turbo SNGs) then maybe, the smallest pocket pairs / suited connectors and even hands like medium suited aces may stay in as their implied odds are much better, The positives here are the chance to pick up some blind money cheap, pot control is also a plus - your continuation bet would be smaller so those times you end up folding post flop you invest less. The small raise may also encourage action from medium strength hands when you hold a monster. On the minus side you are potentially playing multi-way pots and will naturally have less idea about those hands your opponents call you with.

Next I'd like to turn the question around... what is so good about the 3 X BB (or 4 x very early) opening raise? Well if we look at the pro's and con's above then we see that this raise has most of the pro's (folds many trash hands behind you, pot control (potential to build + relatively small continuation bet size), encouraging action for your monsters + cheapish blind steals) and fewer of the negatives...

What about style of play. Already noted that the bigger pre-flop raiser was playing many tables, his big raise sizes thus simplified decision making to a large extent. The smaller raiser was also a multi-tabler (on 3 of the set of 4 I had going at the time), his smaller raises made his early game SNG strategy more of a post-flop poker game...

Final thing to add is your opponents calling ranges - in a micro SNG you might be called by those Ace-rag hands regardless of your pre-flop raise... how would this affect your raise sizes??

Will look at raise sizing in the mid-game at some point soon!

GL at the tables, Mark


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Anonymous said...

I prefer to a make a randomly standard preflop raise. I do this by betting 3x bb + 1x bb for everyone in the pot. If I am opening the pot I bet 4x bb + .5bb for everyone in between me and the blind. I like this because my bets have bite, but also because it is very hard to put me on a hand as I am not in control of my bets. My raise is determined by the actions of others. Plus this requires me to tighten up significantly.

Littleacornman said...

Whats your own personal preference on bet sizing Mark?

Mark said...

Hi Gentlemen,

very rarely have less than 4 tables on the go so I usually keep to 3 or 4 times the BB depending on my reason for raising + how many habitual callers at the table etc etc

If I can be bothered I'll reduce this as the blinds get smaller 275 at BB100 is a fave.

Will generally add 1BB for each limper, then again my raising range with others in the pot is nitty tight!!

Cheers, Mark