David Sklansky’s ‘The Poker System’ Part #2 – From Poker Theory Into Practice

Here We Take A Journey Through 2 Online Tournaments Using Sklansky’s Poker System.
Read On For The Results!

In Part #1 we gave an overview of David Sklansky’s Poker System and asked the question whether this might be suitable for online poker players. This article covers 2 examples of putting poker theory into practice by using the system online. Part #3 then suggests adjustments to the original poker system for use with low buy-in online poker tournaments.

The first tournament used as a POKERSTARS $10+1 180 Player Sit and Go (for more information check out our 180 Sit N Go Strategy articles in our Tournament Strategy section).

Sklansky All-in Poker System - Trial Tournament #1

First Blind Levels: With a very high starting ‘key number’ when the blinds were small it only took one limper to push us up into the AA-Only zone. A total of 3 times at levels 1 and 2 (BB20 and BB30) we were dealt medium pairs in multi-way limped pots. All 3 times the poker system said fold. There were also some min-raises early which killed our action completely… these seem to be a factor all the way through and we will suggest a way to deal with them in part #3 of this series.

Blind Levels 3 and 4 (50 and 100): We played our first hand from the button when folded to with 10-10, in went our 1305 chips and both the blinds folded. Observed that we do not need to calculate for each hand – adjust at the start of each blind level and then multiply by remaining players as required. Folded to in the small blind when BB was 100… key just over 13 so 7-4 suited was good enough, again no call. Next we get A9o and then A5s in with a key number in the 40’s… shove both. The A9 is folded to but the A5s is called – by A10!! Luckily we hit the 5 to survive and double up.

Break – we have 1790 chips in 46th place out of the 72 remaining. Impressions are that limpers kill our action too easily and also leads to pushing ace-rag hands (ace-5 for example) when the potential reward is fairly low when compared the chips we risked.

Blind Levels 5 and 6 (150 and 200): Another ace-rag, this time A4o – push with a key of 60 and pick up the blinds uncontested…raises ahead lead us to fold to a while then A4 again, this time off suit when folded to in the small blind. Very next hand we get Q3s on the button, key works out as 24 (both blinds are shorter than we are). Push and no callers.

Final hand for us came with AQo first to act at a full table. Our key number was 70 which indicated a shove – called by the small blind holding 88 and we do not improve. Leave feeling that this was a shame as 2 over-cards to the 8 flopped – a king and a ten. Had we standard raised then the pot was certainly there for the taking on the flop.

Still, we could easily have won this coin-flip and been in a position to move towards the paying places, which is not at all a bad result for a mechanical strategy!

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Sklansky All-In Tournament System - Trial Tournament #2

Second tournament was a $10+1 Multi-Table Poker Tournament at Titan Poker. This attracted 286 players. The combination of 10 minute blind levels and the crazy opposition that Titan has a reputation for would make this an interesting test of the poker system. Here are all the hands we played:

  • 7th Hand, Ace-Ace in mid-position, 1 limper ahead and we push – no action.
  • 12th Hand, Ace-Ace again (our lucky day!), 2 limpers from early position, a 4 times the BB raise and a call of that raise all ahead (BB was 30) we push and get a caller… well I said Titan was a little crazy, we were called by the guy who flat called the initial raiser holding King-Ten off. Double up to 3175 chips.
  • 27th Hand, Moved to a new table, tight image is now gone – 29 minutes gone and down to 169 players.
  • 28th Hand, 88 in the Big Blind, Raise + Flat call ahead. No instructions here but folded to stay in the spirit of the system.
  • 29th to 47th Hands, plagued by a min-raiser to my right. Several opportunities come and go as I can not play back at a raise.
  • 48th Hand, KK  UTG clear push here and get 1 caller with A10o, we hold up and now have 5420 chips. What is even better was that the caller was Mr Min-Raise and he now only has a few chips left.
  • 60th Hand, Folded to in the small blind, Key = 17 so we move in with 5-2 off-suit. Big Blind folds.
  • 65th Hand, Ace-9 off – Key = 66, push from early mid position and no callers.
  • 70th Hand, 4-4 in the small blind, 1 limper, Key = 24 (Blinds now getting high) so we shove and get called by K9 suited. We hold up and bring our stack to 8370 chips.
  • 74th Hand, K7 suited in late position, Key number = 56. We push and are called by Ace-king down to 2265 chips.
  • 77th and last hand we are dealt 10-6 suited UTG, key = 24, called in 2 places (10-10 and then A-Q off suit overcalled) no runner-runner 6’s and out we go.

Interesting tournament with a quick demise after a strong start. Part #3 will look at some adjustments to Sklansky’s The Poker System for this type of tournament and discuss some tournament strategy points that come from this experience. Part #3 of our Sklansky Strategy series assesses the games and provides some suggestions for adapting the system to the online environment.

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Further Reading For Online Poker Tournament Fans:

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