Tuesday, February 05, 2008

How To Win A SNG Once 'In The Money'?

There are literally 1000's of articles on how to use ICM for SNG Strategy... 99.99% of them relate to one thing - how to play the bubble.

Yet, surviving the bubble is only one aspect of profitable SNG play.

Once you are down to 3 players it is time to shoot for the win. The blinds usually be very big in relation to stack sizes - meaning that 'push-fold' poker will be the norm. The Plan3t Gong Poker area to think about today is this:

How does the Independant Chip Model relate to large blind 'In The Money' Play??

The first thing to note here is that there are a lot of permutations of stack sizes, blind levels and playing styles when three handed. What we need to do is look at the effect on $equity for a simple case first - and then factor in the different situations.

So, how about even stacks, 10 BBs and a 20% / 30% / 50% payout structure.

4000 chips each, 400/200 blinds and a $100 prize pool gives each player (before posting the blinds) $33.33 in $equity. A player losing every chip here goes down to $20 in equity for 3rd place... meaning that $13.33 is at risk in any given hand.

The gain for winning an all-in hand is a 2/1 chip lead over your opponent when heads-up. Since when down to 2 players we know that each is guaranteed $30 (2nd) the match is for the remaining $20... so a 2/1 chip lead with cEV = = $EV means the winner of the previous hand will have $13+$30 = $43 while the player not in the previous hand will have $30+$7 = $37 in equity.

This shows something important.

Player X - who was not in the hand when the 3-handed confrontation took place gained almost $4 in equity by doing nothing.... sounds familiar right? Exacly the same thing happens at the bubble (only more $ev is involved!).

Back to 3 handed.... we are now in a position to look at the $equity gain vs the potential $equity loss. Ignoring the blinds for now and assuming the decision is by player Z as to wheher to call an all-in from player Y.

Player Z -

$ev fold - $33.33
$ev call (win) $43 (+$9.66c)
$ev call (lose) $20 (-$13.33)

Thats a $3.67 difference between your potential gain and potential loss in terms of equity.

All very nice - but what does this mean for calling and pushing ranges??

The short answer is that you need a positive expectation of >$4 in terms of $equity against the range of hands your opponent might be pushing in order to make the call... to assess this we need to put our opponent on a range and see how various holdings do against that range... sound familiar?

This post is long enough already - hopefully given SNG players something to think about - will return to this subject with some examples at some point in the near future - so remember to bookmark Plan3t Gong today!

For those who want some answers now check out the archives here at Plan3t Gong or the 'bubble play' articles at SNG Planet... there are also plenty of software tools that give a very quick profitable edge at the tables by working out $equity for real situations... my personal favourite is SNG Wiz which can analyse your hand histories and show where you missed profitable spots... they have a 30 day free trial too.

GL at those SNG tables, Mark


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