SNG Bubble Play: An Introduction to Putting Your Opponents
on Push All-In And Calling Ranges At The Bubble Of SNG Tournaments

Accurate Ranges For Opponents Is Key To Winning SNG Tournaments.
This Article Looks At How You Can Put Your Sit N Go Opponents On Accurate Ranges

A key component in becoming a winning SNG player is the ability to accurately estimate the ranges of hands which your opponents will either push all in with at the bubble or call your all in push with. This article looks at how to put individual players on ranges - you will also find charts in our follow up article on bubble play - SNG Bubble Strategy, How Often Will You Get Called?

Once you have a good estimate of these ranges you are in a powerful position. If you know the range your opponent will push you can accurately compare your holding to this range and make a call or fold decision based on equity gains / losses – see ICM articles for more on prize pool equity based decisions.

Conversely if you know what range of hands an opponent will call your all in with you can deduce the range of holdings that you can profitably push into them.

In order to put people on ranges we first have to ask some key questions:

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1) Does My Opponent Understand The (Mathematical) Nature Of The SNG Bubble?

An opponent who understands the distribution of prize pool equity has a tighter calling range and a looser pushing range than someone who does not. Someone who understands what is happening will take account of the presence of a micro-stack / big stack at the table and adjust their ranges accordingly... again if they do not understand they will play only their cards.

push fold ranges Poker Blueprint

2) Are There 2 (or more) Players Who Do Not Understand The Nature Of The Bubble?

Have you ever seen the 2 biggest stacks go to war at the bubble? Distributing their $ equity to the small stacks not involved in the hand!! If you feel there are 2 or more players who do not understand correct bubble play then you can tighten your ranges a little, as there is an increased chance of folding into the money (only a little though – this is always a risky strategy!).

3) Do My Opponents Correctly Understand Pot Odds?

Inexperienced players with big stacks at the lower levels sometimes fold getting 3/1 or even 4/1 with chips when a short stack pushes. If this is the case then we can safely loosen our pushing range against this opponent - but tighten the calling range, this player is not capable of playing 'any 2 cards' when the math suggests it is positive expectation. Beware of the same play at the higher levels – thinking big-stacks sometimes keep the bubble alive deliberately so they can exploit their mid-stacked opponents.

So, having asked these questions we are now in a position to try and put some calling ranges on opponents from here; We will assume even stacks and not factor in any complex situations.

Mr Tight  - Will give this guy pairs above 1010, AQs+

Mr Average - Pairs above 55, a8+ and KJs+

Mr Loose - Any Pair, any Ace, K7s+ K10o+

Mr Maniac - Any Pair, Ace, King, Q6s+ and suited connectors such as 910s.

Mr "Any 2" - Well, any 2!

OK, so it is folded to you in the small blind - what can you profitably push into these guys as a one off event??? Will assume 200/400 blinds and even stacks of 3000 after posting.

Mr Tight and Mr Average - 100% (yep every single hand) even 72o here is profitable - if Mr Tight is only calling with top 7% you will pick up the blinds so often that the % of showdowns won becomes secondary... Mr Loose - Top 28%, that is still a lot of hands!! 22, Ax, K9s+ and connectors down to 87s. Here you are going to get called often enough to need a little something to show-down. Mr Maniac - Top 12%, 66+ a9o+ you need to risk your equity in a showdown often enough to need a solid hand for pushing here. Mr Any 2 - Top 6%, 77+ AQo+, you need to be tight now - an assured showdown is not something you should be welcoming at the bubble without a hand!

Well there are the basics - what I wanted to do here is to give some 'rules of thumb' to use at the table.

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SNG Bubble Push All-In And Calling Ranges - Some Rules Of Thumb Based On Opponent Types

- Opponent does not understand bubble dynamics. Assume Mr Average for the first push and Mr Loose for subsequent pushes.

- Opponent is a regular who understands push / fold play. If you are a known regular assume Mr Loose, if you are unknown to the regular assume Mr Average for first 2 pushes then Mr Loose from then on.

- You have pushed the last 2 hands when folded to in the SB and it is folded to you again for the 3rd time... if you are going to push here assume Mr Maniac calling range, if you give the guy the occasional walk then go back to Mr Loose.


SNG Bubble Push All-In And Calling Ranges - When You Face An All-In

Next we turn the tables - it is your Big Blind and the SB has pushed into you... what can you call with? again this depends on the range you give your opponent for pushing...

Mr Tight will only push 77+ A10s+ and maybe here - against this range you need top 1% to call with, that is Queens or better! (note: situational factors may make this tighter still!)

Mr Average will push 55+, A8o+ and KQ - you need JJ+ (top 2%)

Mr Loose will push any pair, A5o+ and KJo+ - you can now call with a huge 4%!! 99+ / Aqo+.

Mr Maniac will push any Pair, Ace, King or Queen and connectors down to 98s - feel free to call with 88+ AJo and A10s - fold everything else.

Mr "Any 2" will push any 2! Now you can widen that range to 14%, that is 55+ a7o+ and K10s+

The important point here is that your calling ranges - all else being equal - are very tight. At the lower levels here is are the rules of thumb I use for calling....

- Assume Mr Loose in the absence of any other information.

- Assume Mr Maniac for known regulars (specific people I will call assuming the ' any 2' range) as I know that they know that they should be able to push any-2 into me!

We need to factor in many more things including; stack sizes (the presence of a micro (1 or 2* BB only)) stack or 1 very big and 3 equally small others, The position of those stacks relative to you, effect of blinds being higher or lower and the effect of the willingness of the other players to get in against each other… these areas and more will be covered here at SNG Planet – bookmark us today!

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More on SNG Bubble Play + Bonuses!

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