Effective Strategy Adjustments For When You Are Up Against Good Sit n Go Players
Here is a common situation. You see the same player in lots of your games, playing well and seemingly winning. You decide to look them up and find that this player is a big winner. If you are also grinding the games this leads to a dilemma… do you avoid games they are registered in? Avoid hands with them? Ignore them and get on exploiting the fish? Adjust your strategy against them in particular?
In this article I look at how to spot the big winners, and then look at the different options of what to do about them.
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Good Regs In SNG Tournaments – How To Spot The Winning Players
There are several ways of finding the winners in SNGs. While seeing the same old screen-names in many games will give you an idea, the lobby of your poker site is a faster method. Below is a screen shot of the PokerStars SNG lobby, you will see that there is a long list of games with just a few players registered.
These are people setting up multi-tabling sessions, and are more likely to be the winning regulars. The next step is to look them up at a tracking service (for example Sharkscope or Poker Pro Labs) and see how their statistics look.
Once you identify who the big winners are you can make a note or color code them. Keep repeating this process a couple of times a day and you will have a list of the bigger winners in no time! You could also subscribe to these tracking services and run reports on the big winners at each level, this works fine – you’ll just have to go find the names on the list.
Once You Know Who The Good Players Are – What Is The Best Way To Adjust?
First up you need to decide whether to enter a game at all. In this article I explain how having 3 known winners in your SNG has a massive effect on your profit. Any more than 3 profitable regs and I advise you wait until they fill their sessions and start registering then.
If you do play then there are several basic strategy adjustments you can make against multi-tabling opponents. I outlined those here with basic tips for hand reading and blind stealing… This stuff gives you a solid base – what it misses is the fact that the ‘good regulars’ are good because they are able to figure out who the better players are and adjust to their adjustments.
One strategy is to avoid playing all but the best hands / situations against them in the early and mid stages. If you have a spot you consider marginally profitable against an average player in your game then quietly folding against someone you know is capable of outplaying you is a sensible plan. You can still set-mine and resteal of course. The fact that you do not normally ‘play back’ will be noticed over time and will lend credibility to those occasional aggressive moves.
You need to consider how the good regulars are thinking about you. If you have a few hundred games with them then they will know it – either through their HUD or just familiarity with your screen name. You should assume they have some notes about your style and possible ranges (after all, you keep these on your opponents… or at least I hope you do!!).
If you do choose to play back at the better players then think hard about how to mix things up. With SNGs there is a mathematical solution to the end-game and steal / resteal mid-game strategy being very read + pattern dependent, you could easily be getting taken for a ride. If a regular knows that you are playing a ‘solid’ ICM end-game then he will widen his pushing range against you to take advantage of your tight folds. You can use SNG Wiz and recalculate what to call with based on his wider shoving range in different situations, taking advantage of his adjustment to you.
Some people spite call or recommend the occasional crazy play to make the regulars wary of you. I’d suggest you save this for the higher ($100+ buy-ins). At the lower levels people are playing so many tables that your crazy ‘meta-game’ move might be hidden behind a bunch of tables – costing you equity for no benefit. Even if it is seen and noted by the regulars, then you need to ask whether their probably adjustment to this (tightening up) is something you are going to be able to profitably exploit.
Plenty Enough Novices To Go Around
My view is that most lower level SNG Players can and should adopt a ‘defensive’ strategy against the winning regs in their game. There are plenty enough losing players to make these games profitable, and your focus should be on identifying the ‘fat value’ that comes from their errors before you worry about taking a few cents in equity from tough opponents.
Of course, as you gain experience you can work out how specific good opponents are adjusting to take money from the fish… and then exploit that!
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