Planet Mark's Blog. Thoughts, News And Strategy For Poker Tournaments Of All Size

My Love-Hate Relationship With Pokerstars, Part 38925

Back to one of my ‘pet’ topics for a post to end the week – Pokerstars. I do not often play poker during the week these days, running my websites has me in front of a computer all day, so I need to get away! This Tuesday I was at a loose end, feeling cheerful about the Full Tilt news, and decided to try a few 180 SNGs – what I found at the tables was kind of disturbing....

Now, not needing ‘the volume’ means I get to play just a few games at a time… just 2x $8 / 180s and a 180 $3 rebuy one while I relaxed with a beer. After a while I decided to use the ‘find this player’ function on Stars to see who was playing what games. A few players were hiding from search, a couple more were just playing 1 or 2 tables… T

he thing was that the majority (like 70%!) of people I checked across 3 games were playing 6 or more tables, mostly the 180s. Some were playing 12+ games. On one particular table 7 opponents were multitabling, and 1 was ‘not found’... Now, some of these multi-tablers had HUGE leaks, they were aggressive and played positional poker… though did it mechanically which is easy enough to exploit.

Just hold on for a moment here.

70% of opponents multi-tabling?

This means they are experienced, many of them winners, many other break-even and enjoying the bonus money… aware of poker strategy, aware of the maths and ranges… aware of who the new players are and ready to isolate / exploit them… And I am still recommending these games as good places for new players to learn tournament skills and build their bankrolls? It is time to rethink this recommendation!

PokerStars Are Brilliant – Yet I Need To Stop Recommending Them For all of the cool software, wide choice of games, huge promos, innovations and generous player rewards – I’m going to have to stop recommending PokerStars to the new, improving and recreational type players who are the main audience here at SNG Planet. I would be doing a dis-service by saying that this site is the best place to learn the game… in mid 2012, Pokerstars is the best site to get high volume and big buy-in games – it is the place you go when you are ready to take a shot at making consistent money or to take a shot at the big cash in an event or 7000-player 'Big' themed tournament... not somewhere that is safe for beginners any more.

The Gap Between Skill Levels On Pokerstars And The Rest Of The Sites Has Never Been Bigger It’s HUGE… there are two processes at work here:

1)    Players who start to play poker on other sites, then get ‘good’ (relatively speaking) catch the poker bug and get more involved in the online game… where do they go – you got it, Pokerstars.

2)    There are networks out there which include big casino brands, sports betting and who target the beginner demographic. Instead of 70% multi-tabling grinders, you will find sites with 70% complete novices playing poker for fun.

Even if you do not end up depositing, I am recommending that all readers have a look at the games at 888 Poker, Titan (iPoker) or RedKings (OnGame)… they often feel like they are completely different games. If I had to recommend one place for newer and improving players to build a bankroll at the moment this would be 888 Poker – the games are usually profitable and often verge on the ridiculous!


Back To Those 180s In case you were wondering, I got deep in 2 of those 3 games… up to the push / fold chaos of the later stages. My deepest finish was 14th, missing a probable final table on a big flip – no complaints though, nice to know that I can still hold my own against the new breed of multi-tabling 180 regular, even over a mini-sample fof 3 games! I’ll update my 180 SNG Strategy article soon - with a link back to this blog post and my new recommendations!

GL at the tables, Mark

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