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Sunday, May 16, 2010

I Think John Phan was Speaking to My Soul When He Wrote This Articl

I wish I had read this article before I started losing all my tournaments today. This has to be the biggest weakness in my poker game.
blogged 5/12 posted 5/16


John Phan Pro Tips - Pro Tip 177
Learning to Win at Final Tables

John Phan

February 4th, 2009

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Anyone who’s ever come close to winning a poker tournament – only to fall short – can tell you how much it hurts. It’s disappointing. It’s painful. In 2006, I finished 2nd in a $1,000 No-Limit Hold ’em event at the World Series of Poker, and then in 2007, I was the runner-up in a $2,500 Hold ’em event at the WSOP. So I came into 2008 particularly determined to win my first bracelet – not just to reach a final table, but to finish in 1st place.

Well, I achieved my goal – and then some. I won the $3K No-Limit Hold ’em tournament at the World Series of Poker, then one week later I won another bracelet in $2,500 Deuce-to-Seven Triple Draw. And to top it all off, I won my first WPT title in August at the Legends of Poker at the Bicycle Casino in Los Angeles.

Now that I’ve gotten over the hump and won some major tournaments, I’m going to share two important tips that made all the difference for me.

1. Make the tough laydowns when your tournament life is at stake.

It’s a situation I’ve been in many times: a short stack raises, I re-raise enough to put the short stack all in, and then a big stack behind me raises enough to put me all in. I’m in a tough spot because I’m fairly certain my hand is better than the short stack’s hand, but I also have a strong feeling that the big stack has me in bad shape. There are a lot of chips in the pot, and I’m tempted to call, knowing that I need to suck out to win. Many times in the past, I made that call and went home in 7th or 8th place.

What I’ve learned is that the right play, if you believe you’re beat, is to lay it down and live to play another hand. Even if the pot odds narrowly favor a call, you’re better off letting the hand go. Obviously, if the pot odds heavily favor a call... click Learning to Win at Final Tables to read the rest of this great article.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

I Played a Little Poker Today

As I promised yesterday, I stopped grinding out 8-hour poker sit n go sessions to focus on my upcoming website project and finals. Instead, I'll play no more than 2 "rounds" of 9 multitabled sit n go sessions, but more than likely I'll only do one until both my project and my finals have been completed. This morning was much better than yesterday poker-wise. I got a good night's sleep and I felt refreshed and on top of my game. I played a round of 9 multitabled sit n gos and cashed in 3 of them, winning two outright and placing 2nd in another. I made $67. The reason I'm not posting this to my bankroll is because I'm going to cash out all monies that I win from now until the day that I resume my challenge. Yes, ALL MONIES except the $322 that I had in my bankroll when I paused my $74 into $7000 challenge.

Speaking of the challenge, I really don't know when I'll resume the challenge, but I'm thinking either Wednesday, May 26th or Wednesday June 2nd. Any money that I win between now and May 25th will be cashed out because I'll need the money for schoolbooks since I've decided to go to summer school. I also decided that in that time, I'm going to stay at the $3 and $5 sngs so that I don't fuck myself by moving up to the $10 ones and forgetting the players' tendencies in the lower ones. Yes, the players are bad in the $10 sngs, but the level of bad in the $3 and $5 ones is 100x higher and bad players can fuck you up if you forget that they'll call their entire stack off on a draw, and if they hit it, you shouldn't call any bets from them. At the same time, when their draws don't hit (70% of the time) they'll pay you off and pad your chip stack so you can finish in the money. Heck, half the players who make it to the final table in these low level sit n go tournaments are bad players. With that being said, I'll stick with the buy-in levels that I'm at now.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Day 10: Turning $74 into $7000 --- Moving on Up!

I played a little over the weekend, 2 hours on Saturday morning and Tuesday night and ran pretty well. I decided that my bankroll was big enough to start playing $3.40 sngs and make more money per win since I ran my bankroll up to $337.10 before today. Then all of a sudden I ran horribly today. For the first time in over a week I had a losing session. It started off well this morning. I won a 45-man $5.50 sng and took 2nd in a 27-man $3.40 sng and placed 4th in another $5.50 27-man sng. I played a little higher in a few sngs because I was taking shots at bigger scores without significant risk to my bankroll. After running my bankroll up to $372.00 I started losing sng after sng, not cashing shit, or losing on the money bubble. I got bad beat so many times that it wasn't even funny. I got my chips in good with the best two cards and the flop, turn, and river was acting ugly towards me. The guys with the worst hand sucked out to beat me more times than I care to remember. Once I started running into such bad luck, I started playing bad and donking off chips and next thing I know, I'd be chip leader in a few tournaments one minute, then getting eliminated a few orbits later. I didn't have my mental toughness today and I'm plain tired. I ended up finishing up the day with $323.00 for a net loss of $14 for today.

Once I lost my profits and started showing a loss, I quit for the day and started reflecting on the current demands of my life. I realized that I'm overextending myself with this challenge. I have a webpage project due for class in less than one week from today, I have homework and a final to study for this weekend, and I have to come to work. I realize that I need to stop being greedy for this money for the next few days and catch up on my work. Hopefully, I'll be able to complete everything by Tuesday, and that's when I'll resume my grind, but I won't resume my challenge until a future date. Yes, it took me playing bad to see these things and I'm glad and disappointed at the same time because I now won't have a chance to get $7,000 by Jun 1st. I wanted to have the majority of that money made by Memorial Day weekend. That way, I'd be able to blow $1000 on having a good time with the people that I care most about. It looks like I won't be doing my Birdman impression anytime soon. And I'm disappointed about not hitting my initial goal.

There's no doubt that I will extend my challenge to an unknown date in June. It'll be better that way because there's no way I can miss three days of playing poker and make the $6600+ that I would need to satisfy my goal. It was supposed to take 18 full business days of grinding within 6 weeks and 3 weeks into the challenge, I realize that I won't be able to play consistent enough. So for now, the challenge won't resume until Memorial Day week. I will play next week, but I'm going to cash out my winnings because I need the money and so that I can resume with the same $323.00 bankroll that I stopped at today. Its important to me that I stick with the integrity of my challenge so that you all will see that my hard work will pay off.

I'm sorry that I won't be able to resume this challenge and I hope that I didn't upset anyone, but I have to fulfill the requirements of my instructors.

My bankroll is $323.00

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Its Time to Be Professional

First of all, I'm not a whiner.

However, I have exploded at a few players over the past few days over making stupid plays and lucking out to take my chips. I don't go as far as giving the players free, unsolicited poker lessons, but I did talk pretty harshly to them. Its time for me to grow up and conduct myself as a profession, because I'm a winner and not a whiner. From now on, I will not cuss anyone out over stupidity. I hate when other people do it to each other throughout the tournament.

The crappy players online are constantly whining about bad beats, stupid poker players, and how if the PokerStars website didn't run so horribly and deal bad beats that they would be able to win with their expert skill. I highly doubt it, and only losers say shit like that. I've had many players tell me that they would crush me live because bad beats aren't as prevalent. I can personally attest to this not being true. Tons of bad beats happen every day at casinos all across the country, and yes they happen more frequently on PokerStars because the hands are dealt 3 - 4 times faster than at a riverboat casino. There are no dealer changes, or money changes online like there are at the boat. The game also plays a lot slower too.

I'm personally done with going to land based casinos because I can make more money online. I might go to the Horseshoe or the Majestic Star occasionally, but I no longer desire to burn gas going back and forth to Indiana just to win or lose a few hundred dollars. At least if I run bad online, I can drop down in limits or buy-ins as low as a dollar (I hope that I never have to play the dollar games again after next week). If I run bad at the boat, I can't play until I make some money online.

With that being said, I'm going to start conducting myself as a professional in all phases of my life, not just poker. No more whining about inconsequential bullshit. Its time to separate myself from the online donkeys who masquerade as experts on micro-limit poker strategy because I'm more accomplished than them, and I play better than them. The reason those masqueraders are always whining and spewing out poker knowledge acquired from the 2+2 forums is because they're insecure about their true knowledge of the game and as a result, they constantly find themselves trying to please others and prove to other people that they're good players. Also, when they do get lucky on a bad beat, they apologize. To me, that's one of the most annoying things about low-level players. Don't tell me you're sorry about putting a bad beat on me unless you're willing to wire me buy-in money for this tournament. I definitely won't apologize for lucking out on you when you call my bluff and I suck out on you. Nope, I'm going to be smiling about the suck out and I'm going to take care of my newfound chips. :-)

One more thing, I'm not saying that I've never come across great players at the $1 level. I certainly have over the past week. These guys were stopping me from running over the final table and made me adjust my strategy just so I could either win or cash out in 2nd, 3rd, 4th, or 5th. Those guys are the grinders at those low-levels and eventually they will graduate to playing $5 and $10 sit n gos and making some real money.

Remember that in poker and in all other areas of life..

Winners are not whiners."

Friday, May 7, 2010

Day 9: Turning $74 into $7000 --- I'm Tired

I played like shit today. My version of playing like shit is many of the donks A-game in the $1 and $3 sit n go tournaments, but I felt like I threw away 3 potential cashes after I placed 1st, 2nd, and 3rd in my first three sngs. After making the first $42 dollars, I started playing so bad, making terrible mistakes due to frustration and fatigue. I ended up cashing in only 1 sng for the rest of the day which left me a net $39.50 in profit. I stopped playing early --around 2:10pm-- because I'm tired and playing like shit. I didn't even get 6 hours of playing in simply because I'm not at my best and I just don't have the energy to stay focused in these games when I feel like this. I remember why I didn't have much of a personal life when I was playing poker for a living. All I do now is bet, call, check, fold which is becoming a grind. Don't get me wrong, I still love playing poker, I'm just tired right now. My eyes are super tired from staring at this monitor all day with no breaks in between. The only good thing that came from this session is that I made $39.50 in profit. My profit should have really been $100. That gives you an idea of how shitty my play has been for the past few hours. I'm going to take a break from poker this weekend and won't play until Wednesday.

Another thing that's draining about my self-imposed challenge is that I only have 9 more business days left in this month in which I can turn $74 into $7000 which is still very much a realistic possibility, but I'm running out of time and running into commitments with school that might hinder accomplishing my goal. I'm so stressed out right now that I feel like giving up on this challenge. If I didn't have people encouraging me on and offline, I'd give up on the challenge, but I would be letting down my friends and acquaintances, regardless of whether or not they'd admit it to me. Looking in hindsight, I wish I had decided to wait to partake in this challenge until June when I only have to go to work. Trying to balance all my commitments is very challenging and exhausting. I'll get over it once I got to sleep.

My bankroll is $280.94

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Day 8: $1.00 + $0.20 SnG Poker Experts (My Rant)

These fucking donkeys who think they know how to properly play tournament poker kill me with their incessant whining and their lack of real knowledge of the game. Seriously, most of the "expert advice" that you hear at the poker table is very basic theory at best, and most of it is fucking WRONG, WRONG, WRONG! They don't know texture of flops, they don't know how to play other folks hands and they don't know how to put people on hands. In other words, they go to the 2+2 forums and other online poker forums to share bad advice, and they absorb it and regurgitate it when they play this game wrong.

For instance, this one woman, I'll just say her name is Alice --although I'm tempted to give out her real username so the shark can go online and devour her, except that it wouldn't be worth their time (more on that later)-- and she's one of the many predictable "experts" who suck at poker and who will never play higher than $1 donkaments. Anyway, I had AQ on the button, and I put in a huge raise to get max value for it since I was in late position. Two donks called, and the flop came 5h 5c 6h. Okay, I hit neither my ace or my queen, but I knew the two other guys probably called me with high cards so the flop more than likely didn't hit them either unless they were holding a pair of fives or a pair of sixes, either scenario I'm cooked anyway. So when the two donks checked to me, I made a pot-sized bet of 640 chips. First guy to act folds and the second guy, let's say that his name is Jose, reraised me all in. Since half my chips are in the pot and the pot is now 2400+ chips, I'm getting 3 to 1 to call, and I totally figured that he didn't have a full house. I was right! He had Q9 of hearts hoping to hit his flush draw. I have him dominated and I'm just counting his chips as the cards flip. This fucker hits a 9 on the river so I'm going off on him at this point through the chat box. Fuck's sake I was mad and I was down to 440 chips early in the tournament.

All of a sudden Alice tells me that I made a bad play by betting out on the flop. WHAT? Betting the flop when I'm holding the best hand is a bad play? ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME? Granted, most people would say that I was bluffing, but I've been playing this game long enough to recognize people's tendencies and textures of flops as it relates to the action preflop and post-flop. I won't say that I'm the best that's ever played, but I'm pretty good at recognizing where I am in a hand as it relates to the possible cards that the $1 donks would call a raise with. Q9 suited falls within that range as well as KJ, J10, K10, Q10, AJ, AK, AQ, KQ, Q8, and a few more that I left out, but you get the idea. That flop hit none of those high cards! The idiot could have also played small pairs, but they hit the flop for 3 of a kind only 13% of the time. Trust me, as many sets as I've hit, I've had many more times where I played a small pair such as a pair of fours only to have to fold them when they don't hit the flop. With the simple math in my favor, I'm going to be correct 87% of the time in assessing that they didn't hit a set, therefore I'm going to be able to bet a lot of players off a small pair in that spot. The 13% of the time that they hit a set or make a ballsy call, fuck it I got a sick bankroll for the buy in that I'm playing, I'll buy into another sit n go and try again.

After Alice didn't understand any part of me typing "I knew where I was at and I knew I had the best hand" I dropped the topic momentarily while watching my short stack chip down to 380 chips. When I finally got A 4 offsuit, I decided to go all in with that hand knowing that I might be going in with the worst of it preflop. So one person goes all in with 700 in chips. Alice calls with AK and I call saying to myself "if these two have small or medium pairs, I might still get lucky and out flop them. Sure enough the flop comes Kc 2s 3c, the turn brings a 5, and the river brings a 4. The board gave me an ace to five straight and the other guy lost holding QJ, so I tripled up, and the woman won the extra 400 chips since I didn't have enough chips to win them.

This woman was piping mad, calling me a fish and telling me how I made such a terrible play moving all in with A 4 preflop. I asked, "what's wrong with going in with A 4?" She types in all caps "A 4 HAS NO SHOWDOWN VALUE! YOU WERE A HUGE UNDERDOG, BUT THAT'S POKER. YOU LIKE TO PLAY WITH LUCK INSTEAD OF SKILL YOU FCKING NEWBIE." She had me rolling, in fact, I knew that I was an underdog, but I was not going to wait for a premium two card hand and only have 100 chips to double or triple up. She says to me, that was a terrible move and only a donkey would make that move. So after I hee-hawed for a minute I then said to her, "well, showdown value has little to no value when you're on the verge of blinding out at any time in a tournament. There's nothing noble about folding until I'm forced to go all-in. I'd rather bust out with a chance to triple up, or spend my time more productively playing another tournament.

Ironically, me and the woman made it to the final table and I was a low to middle stack, by far the hardest stack to play, because you need to get chips in order for the other players to fear you. I raised Alice with 10 8 offsuit, and she moved all in with A J offsuit. She had so few chips that it only cost me 417 more than my bluff to call. Not to mention that I was getting 9 to 1 to call, so I called and although she had me beat preflop, I had two live cards to catch up to her. I didn't catch up though, but I still had 2400 in chips. I still had fold equity in going all in since a lot of the stacks weren't huge. A few hands later I get J 9 suited. Not a great hand, but this marginal hand can turn into a monster with help, but my hope was to get the blinds to lay their hands down so I could steal the blinds and antes. Of course, I the guy didn't fold and I ended up busting out to dude's KQ hand. Oh well, that's what I have to deal with in playing sngs, those frustrating times that I finish 2 seats out the money.

Getting back to the hand I lost to Alice's AJ, she was talking major shit to me. "That's for the A4 hand that you sucked out on me with!" I said "okay, I'll give you that." She proceeds to tell me that I'm a moron for calling her with 10 8 because her raise represented a good hand." Yes, it did, but when you're a short stack, you have very little fold equity. In fact, she had NO FOLD EQUITY. It costed less than the big blind to call her. Now why would I ever fold under those circumstances especially when I'm not in danger of elimination? I'll answer that for you... I'LL NEVER FUCKING EVER FOLD IN THAT SPOT! And you'll be surprised how many short stacks get busted by shit hands like my 10 8 when they have no fold equity.. that's poker, fucking deal with it!

Of course she goes on to state that I'm a huge fish and that I'm a new player who needs to learn how to play poker. Anyone who has read my novel knows that I have a pretty decent idea of how to play poker. More than likely, I've been playing poker longer than her, and even if I haven't, I'm still a better player than her. Of course I went on to tease by saying "yep, I'm a huge fish hook, line, and sinker! Put out a worm for me one time!" Now you see why it comes as no surprise when she was doing the happy dance when I got eliminated out of the money.. again, disappointing, but not a huge deal.. that's sit n go poker and if I can't handle losing a few spots out the money (on the bubble) then I don't fucking need to play poker. I would play checkers with KR's 3 year old son since there's never a fucking bubble there and it would probably be more fun anyway --although I enjoy playing poker too.

So when I busted, I decided to see how big of a pro Alice is. When I saw that she was only playing one $1.00+$0.20 sng and not playing any other sngs or cash games I lost the little respect that I had for her game there. I can't respect the opinion of no one who ain't making no fucking money playing sngs. If you only playing one $1.00+$0.20 sng where you can only win $14 at most, you're making $4.34 an hour if you win every tournament which no one ever does. Since her monkey ass is only making $1 every two days her poker advice isn't worth shit.

Readers, whose advice makes more sense:

Advice coming from someone who makes $1 every two days if she's lucky or advice coming from someone who made $52 today playing those same $1 sit n gos and has turned $74 into $241.44 so far?

And remember, I tell you the truth about when I lose and why I lose. Anyone can regurgitate advice regarding technical skill, and technical skill is an important foundation of your poker game, but its the intangibles that separate average tournament/sit n go players from the ones that win tournaments on a consistent basis. I'm also honest enough to tell you about the times where I don't have a process in place. For instance, today, I should have made $80, but I didn't register for tournaments often enough to maximize my time and profit, but oh well, I'll make sure to be more cognizant of time and tournaments that I'm playing.


My bankroll today is $241.44

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Day 7: Turning $74 into $7000 part 2

Okay, I just played from 6:45 - 8:30 for the second half of my day and I cashed in 3 of four tournaments that I played and the only thing I'm mad about is that I gave the fourth tournament away by calling a guy who had been bullying me around and I got my chips in good with a small pair, but he hit an ace and a jack on the flop and turn giving him two pair. I finished two places out the money. Despite that setback, I still made $31.80 profit. Not bad for playing a bunch of $1.00 + $0.20 tables.


My bankroll is $189.44

Day 7: Turning $74 into $7000 --Online Poker Table Banter

Two funny situations happened in a 45-man sng tournament that I placed 3rd in today. In the first situation, we were down to the last 13 people in the tournament and we were playing 6-handed. Because there were only 6 people at the table and each of us holding an average stack of 4000 chips with the blinds at 300/600 ante 50, we were all on the brink of blinding out if we continued to fold and wait for a good hand. As a result of seeing how passive everyone were being, hoping to fold their way to the final table, I started going all in every opportunity I felt I had. I didn't do this every hand, but after 5 orbits, I more than doubled my stack from 3200 chips to 8200. Did I have the goods every hand? Of course not! Well maybe I did because I usually had a high card, low kicker whenever I raised, but sometimes I had nothing more than position. However, I knew these folks weren't in a position to call off 75% of their chips or more. In some cases they were facing their tournament life had they called.

Finally someone called me when I had 2 4 suited. I was on the dealer button, so I went all in again because the blinds had risen to 400/800 ante 75 and although I had 8125 chips, I only had 10x the big blind and it would only take a few blinds to pass me in order for me to be down half my chip stack. I figured that unless the blinds had good hands, they wouldn't call me because in most instances this is the case. Any good tournament player worth his acclaim will agree with me. Of course, the small blind proved me wrong and made a dumb call with 6175 in chips.

Now I wasn't very happy when he flipped up K 10 off suit not because he had me beat with high cards. It was because he called such a huge bet with such a marginal hand which either showed that he had no respect for my poker play or that he was a bad poker player altogether and he was now about to cripple my stack to the point where I would have been on the brink of elimination. My anger quickly turned to joy when the flop read 2c 2d 4d and I flopped three of a kind twos to luck out and dominate his weak ass K 10 hand. After he was eliminated the guy made a remark "I'm not going to say anything about that play." I'm thinking to myself, "well, you're the dumb ass for calling with crap." Its a strong move to shove all in preflop with crap because you can either win the hand by getting the person to fold or by winning outright with the best hand. If you call an all-in bet, you can only win if you have the best hand. Any poker player will tell you that you can't determine whether or not you are holding the best hand preflop when you have K 10 offsuit. The only information that he had on me is that I had raised 6 out of the last 10 hands. Frankly, that's not enough to say "oh, I have the best hand holding K 10."

Now another hand occurred a few hands earlier where this dude who was severely short stacked with 1800 chips shoves all-in with J 6 suited. The other player on the button who had 4100 chips calls with a pair of sevens. Now I do know professionals who say that's the correct call. I'm not one of them. So the flop comes K J 2, and the J 6 suited guy went from being an underdog to a winner. After the hand, the 7 7 loser went on to call the guy a stupid donkey for playing stupid. I beg to differ. Sure under normal circumstances such as when the blinds are low in a tournament or in a cash game pushing with J 6 is really fucking stupid, but in this scenario where the blinds were crippling him and he was on the brink of being blinded out of the tournament this was brilliant even if he loses because he gave himself a chance to win. Had he folded, the next two hands he would have had to pay the small and big blinds and would have been down to 800 chips. Even if he doubles up in those circumstancs, he's only going to be up to 2000 chips at most. Now getting back to the guy holding a pair of sevens. Many professionals would say that he was smart for calling off 60% of his chip stack with 7 7. I'm not one of them simply because small pairs are susceptible to high cards outflopping them. The guy who went all in could have had two overcards to his sevens in the best case scenario. Heck, even crap like 8 9 would have two overcards and 6 outs to make a winning hand. Although he had a made hand, I would have folded unless I had 8000 chips. In that case, I can afford to take a gamble with a small made hand, because even if I lose, I'm not crippled and I still have enough chips to make someone fold when its not clear that I have the best hand.

Anyway, I had a so-so day at the tables, I still made a $37.62 profit in 3 1/2 hours. I'm going to play after I finish typing this blog and hopefully the second blog for this same day will reflect a profit.

My bankroll is $157.64

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

You called with K 9? Donk!

I hope you all like the title of this blog entry. It was the exact phrase that another player said to me after he won the hand. For those of you who don't know, donk is short for donkey which is a reference to a bad poker player. Donk, donkey, and jackass are used interchangeably often after a donkey makes a bad call and lucks out when he's an obvious underdog. Now is calling all in bets with K9 suited a donkey play... HELL YES IT IS under normal circumstances, but there are circumstances where this isn't a bad play. My circumstance was one of them.

It was at the final table at one of my $1.00 + $.20 sit n gos where I was the chip leader with 18,000 chips and the blinds were 400/800 ante 50. I was holding King Nine suited (Kc 9c)on the dealer button. The other guy who called me a donkey had 3000 chips holding a pair of tens (10d 10h) in the small blind. I raised it up to 1800 chips to put pressure on the short stacks who also were the small and big blinds since they could be holding any two cards. Most times, if they have no good hand they'll fold to the big stack. In this case, the winner of the hand had 10 10 and went all-in. I would normally fold to an all-in bet, but in this case it was late in the tournament, I had him outchipped 6 to 1, and it only cost me 1200 more to call. Since there was already 5400 chips in the pot, I was getting almost 5 to 1 to call and there's no hand that exists preflop that has me beat 5 to 1. And although K9 suited is usually an unplayable hand to a raise if 3 clubs come out, I suck out when I hit my flush to overtake his hand. I could also hit 3 other kings that are in the deck to give me a pair of kings. No to mention that if I lose the hand, I still am the chip leader by 5k at 15,000 chips.

So I called and at the end of the hand the guy's 10 10 ends up holding up. In fact, he spiked a 10 on the flop to give him a set of tens. Once the hand was over he says to me in the chat box "you called with K9? Donk! You need to learn how to play poker." Of course I called, he didn't have enough chips to force me to fold since I already had lost 1800, what's another 1200 in that spot. No had I risked half of my chip stack calling with that hand, now that's a stupid play. Needless to say, once he won the hand, he tried to hold on to his small win for as long as possible instead of getting aggressive and bluffing folks out of chips who were running low to collect more chips and survive the blinds. Next thing you know he's in the same situation a few orbits later with AK suited (a great starting hand, but not invincible and is still a drawing hand). He goes all in and is called by a guy holding Jack Ten suited. That Jack Ten suited hand also started off behind, but ended up beating AK when he caught a flush... GO FIGURE.

The guy who told me that I need to learn how to play poker ended up finishing in 6th place and out the money. I won that tournament.


My bankroll is $120.02

Monday, May 3, 2010

Why I Don't Like Double or Nothing Sit n Go Tournaments

A lot of online articles recommend playing double or nothing sit-n-gos to avoid variance and take down easy money since everyone gets paid the same thing if they place in the top 5 which is double your buy-in minus an entry fee. It appealed to me a few times, including last week when I almost lost my bankroll playing them (see Day 3: Turning $74 into $7000 --RUNNING BAD AGAIN!). After several sessions of barely breaking even or a little over, and a session where I lost a 1/3 rd of my bankroll, I'm ready to admit that the Double or Nothing SNGs are a huge rip-off. Let's crunch a few numbers:

It is awfully hard to achieve a 70% win rate at any poker game, let alone double or nothing sit n gos. Ever since the proliferation of these poker tip articles explaining how to beat sngs by playing tight, these double or nothing sngs are too damn tight to collect chips to be in position to place in the top 5. All I see is 9 other people folding until the blinds get so big that you're forced to play crap hands and hope that no one calls your bluff. No way do I want to play all-in poker and leave my chances up to a crapshoot AJ vs K10. Granted there are situations in regular sit n go tournament poker where you might be in a crapshoot hand because you're a short stack trying to survive, but at least you're playing for a lot more than double your money minus the tournament fee, not to mention that there are more chances to collect chips and not have your tournament life depend on outfolding the next person and hoping that the short stack blinds out before you. Anyone who says they're getting a 15% ROI playing double or nothing tournaments is a motherfucking lie. and what if you run bad for an hour or two? If you're playing 20 tables at once like I did, you can be down 30 buy-ins and have to grind for the next day and a half trying to win 85% of your buy-in in every sit n go just to break even. No one wins every double or nothing sit n go so to give you an idea of hard it is to catch back up look at this example:

Double or Nothing Sit n Go $1.00 + $0.15 (entry fee) = $1.15

If you win that sit in go, you get double your money ($1.00), not including the 15 cent entry fee. So if you win the $2.00, your net profit will be $0.85

$2.00 winnings - $1.15 = $0.85

Let's say you start with a $100 bankroll and you lose $23 in two hours. Now your bankroll is $77. Let's see how many sit n gos you would have to win to break even.

$23 divided by $0.85 = 28

In order to bring your bankroll back up to $100 you need to win 28 sit n gos with no losses which is impossible to do.


If you're winning at a 60 and 70% win rate like the 2+2 members are claiming, you'll have to play close to 100 sit n gos JUST TO BREAK EVEN. That's more than half my day! So play the double or nothing sit n gos at your own risk, but if you lose money in it over the long run, don't say that I didn't tell you so.