Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Sit & Go Strategy - Micro Stack Play - Part #1

Not been a SNG Strategy post here at Plan3t Gong for a little while - time to redress this today with a look at the various aspects of 'micro-stack' (which we will define as < 2 BBs) at or close to the bubble.

There are two reasons to look at this... firstly some ideas from Colin Moshman's book on SNG strategy concerning how it can pay to 'gamble' before you hit the blinds in an effort to 'treble-up'.

Secondly, I wanted to have a look at the ICM involved in micro-stack situations, and to see how the numbers stack-up. Regular readers will know that my view on ICM is 'necessary but not sufficient' for SNG play... you really need to know about it, but real winners also know when to deviate from the exact 'guidelines' and where situational factors overcome the mathematical ones (especially when opponents do not understand the concept!).

Here is a common scenario: You lose a big confrontation late in a SNG and find yourself on the button with 600 chips, blinds are 400 / 200 and there are either 4 or 5 players left (3 get paid).

What are the strategy considerations here?

Well, the first thing to note is that we have no fold equity... even the worst poker player in the world will (usually!) understand that they have to put in 200 chips from the big-blind to take a shot at a 1200 chip pot.

Moshman's thought is this: Try and get your chips in behind a raiser who is not in the blinds.... your hope is that the blinds fold and you show-down against a single opponent with the potential to treble up to 1800 chips.

It's an excellent idea.... try and get 2/1 odds as a 40% underdog and you will show a profit over time - hard to argue with it... except:

The problem with this is whether the situation will arise in time, after all with 4 players left you only have 1 person in front of you while you are on the button (next hand you are UTG then you are in the blind for most of your stack). With 5 left you only have 2 hands for this ideal situation to occour... and then what happens if you look down at 2-3 off suit??? call anyway? fold? (will look at the hand strength considerations next time along with the ICM).

Other stack sizes also affect your micro-stack SNG Bubble strategy.... are you the only small stack? If there is another micro-stack around will this player hit the blinds before you do? Are there 2 medium and 1 huge stack (ie - is there a chance the huge-stack knows that he can win more chips from the others by keeping you alive?).

The tendencies of your opponents also have an effect.... are there all-ins being called? Do you have a realistic change of making the money due to some (crazy) opponent's knocking each other out while you hold on to 50 chips?

Whether there are 4 or 5 players left will also affect your strategy options... in theory at least there are possibilities of sneaking into the money with 4 left - with 5 this becomes far more difficult... you really have to 'go for it' and try to at least double if the bubble is a little further away. Which leads to more questions - what are the right circumstances? Hands?

Ah well, even something as seemingly simple as micro-stack bubble play gets quickly complicated when some of the factors involved are taken into account. Will continue this post tomorrow by looking at the basic maths behind the 'triple up' strategy.

GL at the tables, Mark

1 comment:

MrTynKyn said...

Nice to see u writing about sngs.
We look forward for the math of this topic.
Interesting btw