Tuesday, September 04, 2007

2 Table SNG Strategy - Any-2 Will Do!

A simple yet interesting hand came up in a 'friendly' tournament on Sunday with the readers of the UK Motley Fool website. No hand history so this will be from memory - the reason it stuck in my mind was that someone called me a fish! (been playing poker long enough never to worry about that - just did not understand why the play was not clear cut in my this opponent's mind as well as mine... which of course got me thinking that this might be worth sharing here in case others miss these opportunities!).

Its the last table of a 2-table tournament - blinds have got to 200 / 100 with a 25 ante - 8 handed so the pre-flop pot was 500 chips. My stack is just over 3400 after posting when it is folded to me in the Small Blind - the guy in the Big blind has 900 left after posting. This guy was desperate, but not yet on the 'critical list' so I figured he would call my raise with around top 25% of hands... to include a margin of error we will instead go with a top 33% - a pretty wide range!

So I shoved.

Wait a minute - astute readers might ask... what hand did you have??!?

It does not matter (though I'll tell you at the end!).

Here are the critical factors - if I lose the hand I still have over 2500 chips, not great but good enough to continue. If I win then I have >4400 putting me in a position to apply pressure to some of the shorter stacks at the table.

So let us run the hand 100 times... (using Chip-ev not $ev... as bubble was some way off)
67 times my opponent folds and I get the 500 chip pot.
33 times he calls - and my random hand would have almost 40% equity... we will work with my actual hand instead which was less than average and would have had 35% winning chances.

11 times I win and pick up 1400 chips
22 times I lose, minus 900 more chips.

So the maths looks like this (67*500)+(11*1400)-(22*900)/100 = Net Gain of 291 chips per attempt. A nice profit and a clear 'any-2 shove' given the circumstances.

Of course the less experienced players might see shoving junk as 'fishy' but they are not the kind of people who try to spot and exploit profitable situations at the table (and almost certainly not the kind of person who reads Plan3t Gong!!).

My holding? 9-8 off suit... even better than random as it is not easily dominated by the majority of peoples calling ranges - he called with Q-8 suited and was unlucky that I caught my 9... but that's poker!

Cheers, Mark

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