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

The SNG Players Lifecycle...

It feels like the 'Are the games getting tougher' posts and threads are becoming more and more numerous these days. For me this debate is getting old, is often started by players who experienced the positive side of variance early and are now finding that they are not as good as they thought they were... and misses out on one important thing - the SNG Player Lifecycle.Before I go on - let me clarify that I believe the games are harder in 2010 than they were in 2008, which in turn were harder than the 2006 games and especially the 2004 tables! what I do not agree with is that the June 2010 tables are significantly tougher than the March 2010 tables.

Sure, there are lots of reasons why players are getting better. Tools, training sites, books and the fact that winners play 12 tables while losers play 2 are just some of them (see Are SNGs Becoming Tougher for more on this)

What I'm adding today is my opinion that 80% of players who are focused on SNGs today will have moved on one way or another within 6 months. I'll also throw in my hypothesis that 80% of that remaining 20% will have moved on 6 months after that... leaving just 4% of those players who see Sit N Goes as their 'key poker focus' still playing them in June 2011.

Here is how I come to this conclusion:

 - SNGs are a beginner to intermediate game, they are great for learning about poker, fantastic for building a bankroll and an easy way to learn how to multi-table. Of the people who begin to play poker, just under half will not be playing in 6 months time... they go broke, get bored, find another hobby etc

 - Many Players approach SNGs as a means to an end, while these games are great for building a bankroll, the objective of the bankroll builders is often to have a big enough roll to become a cash game player or multi-table tournament player, both of which have bigger scope for long-term profits.  

- I'm going to be honest, for many players SNGs get boring after a while... yes, even the owner of the biggest SNG-focused site online is prepared to say it. Some people have the discipline to grind out the games month after month, though many people will be simply sick of the sight of them after a few months.  

- Finally a proportion will go on a downswing and lose confidence in their game. Something about your forum buddies!! Some of you will recognise names from the big forums of people who have been SNG experts for years and years.

This seems to fly in the face of my assertation that the average SNG lifecycle is short.

What I'll counter here is that only around 10% of players will ever post anything in a poker forum... what you are seeing is not the average player at all - but part of the 4% who love this form of poker so much that they stick with it and really achieve mastery.

Back to the 'Games Getting Harder' While it seems that there should be so many grinders in the world that it is impossible to make $$ playing SNGs anymore, bear in mind that the vast majority who became ICM experts etc in the last few years will no longer be at the tables. What is more there are new players coming in all the time. Yes, they will get trained, some will become winners and others will become multi-tablers... it is just at the same time other winning multi-tablers will be quietly moving on. IMO we have reached an equilibrium in 2010, the games might get a tiny bit tougher from here - but nothing like the 2006-2008-2010 changes we have already seen.

GL at those tables, Mark


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