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Taking Advantage Of A Supposedly Disadvantageous Situation

Taking Advantage Of A Supposedly Disadvantageous Situation

***Please note, my font is all wack right now, but please read anyway***

During the SNG Challenge, I have focused on the 6 Max NL Turbo SNGs, as I feel they are best suited to the way I currently play. I still like playing regular 10 handed SNGs, but right now my bread and butter is in the fast paced short handed game. I would like to give some background as to why this fits me well, then I will delve into the odd title, Taking Advantage Of A Supposedly Disadvantageous Situation.

As is no doubt obvious, I love to play poker. What I do not love is taking too much time away from wifey and family to do so. I have tried to be a good boy over time and play when the time is right. Still, I recall times where I have tried to fit a quick SNG in, only to find myself under pressure to play too fast or under stress for needing to do something else (help the kids, dinner, etc...). Definite negative EV on my part. Enter the 6 Max NL Turbo SNGs. You can play fast paced poker and, even coming in 1st place, can usually be done within 45 minutes. A very good thing for me.

So after finding the 6 max games, I tried to evaluate if it was, in fact, the best money option for me. Is it better to play 6 people for 2 paying spots, or 10 people for 3 paying spots? Since we all play poker with a focus on taking first place money on every attempt, lets take a look at the numbers. The following examples assume a buy-in of 5.00 plus .50.

If I am playing a 6 max I have to outlast 5 people to cash 21 bucks for 1st place. At a 10 max I have to outlast 9 people, yet I am only awarded 4 more dollars for a total of 25 bucks for the effort. That is a dollar profit for each extra person I have to outlast. Not exactly a big difference in 1st place money considering the extra time and effort you have to put forth in order to make it to 1st place.

And while we all eye 1st place money, sometimes it just isn not in the cards. So what if we come in 2nd place? This may be the best part of playing a 10 max vs. a 6 max. In a 6 max I have to outlast only 4 people to take 9 bucks. This is really only a 3.50 profit, but more importantly it is preservation of that particular buyin. Preserving your buyin by making 2nd place money is a big part of being a successful 6 max player. If you cannot take 1st, at least outlast 4 other people to save your buyin, plus pay off about half of your next buyin with the 3.50. However, at the 10 max, though you have to outlast 8 to win a total of 15 bucks, you get nearly triple the profits 9.50 of the 6 max 2nd place. And that is bove and beyond preserving your buyin. In fact, if you can take 2nd place in a 10 max, not only have you preserved that particular buyin, but you have paid for almost 2 more SNGs with the 9.50 profit.

Lets finish this look at the payoff by reviewing 3rd place money. In the 6 max game, there is no 3rd place money, nor should there be. Paying 50 percent of the players would cut too far into the prize pool, which is why they just do not do it. It would also take a lot of the competitive edge out of poker. The only time paying 50 percent of the players would be a good thing is if there has been a huge sweetener added to the prize pool for whatever reason. As for the 10 max game, finishing 3rd for 10 bucks is basically like finishing 2nd in a 6 max game except you get an extra buck. So why not just outlast 4 people instead of outlasting 7 people?

Moving on. A little more general 6-max info…

I first started playing the 6 max game at Noble Poker and absolutely killed the competition. I figured it was just luck mixed with mild competition, but I have continued the trend over at UB as well. It has made me stop and evaluate my game to see what’s making it work. How bout that…evaluating your game when things are running well. A new concept for me, that is for sure.

So what makes it work for me? First, I am aggressive. I want that pot more than the next person and I am willing to pay for it. More often than not, in a short handed game, if people are staying in the hand there is a good chance they are drawing to a hand. And I am gonna make them pay. This allows me to pick up a lot of small to medium size pots and grow my stack early on while others are pacing themselves. But pacing yourself is not exactly the right style of play for a short-handed fast paced game where the blinds will eat up your stack quicker than normal. What happens more often than not, I take enough small stacks early to afford to take a few chances with drawing hands and mediocre pairs that might turn into sets or two pair later in the hand. So few people at Noble and UB understand the concept of taking down lots of small to medium size pots to pay for those 1 or 2 big hands where you draw to a hand or suck out on a guy to take his stack and knock him out.

Moving on, um, again.

Lets get to the title of the post. You hear, and I am sure have read, this statement all the time about holdem.It is much better to act at or near last in any particular hand. But short handed at a table full of weak or mild players, I relish being able to almost always have good position on players, late or early in the action. Let me explain. If I am late in the table action, sweet, I can get away from hands I should not be playing. I can take advantage of my position by playing it hard if they check or chucking the cards if they bet. But wait, what if I am the small blind or big blind. Sure I am at or near last to act before the flop, assuming no raises, but more importantly, I am supposedly at a disadvantage after the flop by having to act first. I say not so.

You see, I am already being forced to bet at least something while in the blinds. With only six people in the game, there can only be so many callers and it is rare that all 6 players see a flop. So I can usually see a flop for pretty cheap in the blinds and I’m not playing against a large amount of people. Then once the flop hits, I am going to take advantage of being the first to bet into the pot and force the others to make a decision on their hand. I am not going to overpay for a small pot, but I am going to take a stab at it nonetheless. I do not care what my cards are versus the board, chances are I am betting it. And more often than not, the few people left in the pot are folding. Having that disadvantage of having to act first has afforded me the chance to push the action. If somebody comes over the top, and I do not have a hand, I have my answer. If someone calls, I know to proceed with caution. But, depending on the board, I am almost definitely gonna fire at it one more time. Again, more often than not, a bold bet on the turn is often gonna price drawers out and give me the pot, or tell me I need to get the hell out quick if they call or raise. And I know there is the thought that my betting will draw up a red flag and show a pattern on my part. However, the beauty of my no mercy betting is it usually causes players to eventually start calling with mediocre and/or losing hands thinking there is no way I can have a hand every time. But on occasion I have that powerhouse hand and I bet it just the same.

The key to all this is only having 5 or less other players to work against at all times. I almost never feel like I am out of position, because I always have a good game plan no matter where I act. I effectively play my advantageous late position hands and I capitalize on my supposed disadvantageous early position hands. Not something easily done in a 10 handed game.

So that is really what I mean by taking advantage of a supposedly disadvantageous situation. Granted, all of this was written on a whim during lunch, so it may not be very well written or concise, but it is just what I was thinking about my game recently. Playing with the SNG Challengers has caused me to think about and evaluate why I am usually the only one at the 6-max games. Upon further review, I think we are all right. We are playing the games we are most comfortable at, right now. And if that is what works, then so be it. I suppose, or maybe even hope, I might have some folks who disagree with my thoughts and reasoning. I would love to hear criticism or general comments/feedback.

posted by TripJax @ 8:01 PM,


At 5:27 AM, Blogger littleacornman said...

Great post Trip.I love Pokerrooms 5 max turbo tourneys and overall I think they are better value then 10 max.I play in a completely different way to a ring game.Like you I like to be very aggressive and basically make my opponents decide wether or not to risk their stack whenever I can.Lots more bluffing too.
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