HU SNG begginer

• Bronze
Joined: 25.04.2010
So I had this idea of trying a few HU SNG this week. I've been playing cash games since the beggining and don't have ANY experience whatsoever in HU SNGs. I have some very basic questions.

1. In pokerstrategy we use the 25 BI rule for cash games. What rules are you guys using here in HU SNGs?

2. What kind of ROI would be acceptable and what is the correct sample size to estimate it?

3. Is there any way I can select my opponents on HU SNGs or are they just random?

4. I'd really like to play cash HU, but heard that HU SNGs are better to start with. What do you think?

Well... that's all I can think for now. Any tips you might find useful are always welcome. Thanks a lot!!!
• 7 replies
• Bronze
Joined: 17.06.2010
The amount you need for taking a shot at a level is usually much lower than the amount you need to be safe if this is your main game and you have to quit or take a long break if you lose everything. So, you can take a shot with only a few buy-ins to try it out, but this is very different from the amount which will give you a low risk of ruin.

In general, it is easier to lose a tournament buy-in than a cash game buy-in. You might lose a stack every 500 hands in cash games, but you lose a buy-in every time you start playing a SNG, and that might be every 50-100 hands. On the other hand, the mathematical variance is greater when the top prizes are greater. Variance is lower in HU SNGs or DoNs.

The swings you see depend on the mathematical variance and your win rate, and I can't guess your win rate. That is going to depend on your skills including your game selection. Don't worry about what bankroll will make you safe until you establish that you are a winning player.

Any positive ROI can be acceptable. A rough 95% confidence interval for your ROI after n HU tournaments is your observed ROI +- 190%/sqrt(n). For example, if you play 100 HU SNGs with an ROI of 5%, then you have strong evidence that your ROI is 5% +- 19%, or from losing 14% to winning 24%. The amount of play typically needed to be sure you are winning depends on your win rate. If you are crushing low stakes games, then with a little luck you might be confident that you are winning after only 100 games, although you will not know your win rate accurately. If your ROI is 5%, this may be fine (or fantastic in high stakes games), but it will take many more tournaments to be confident that you are a winning player or to pin down your win rate within a factor of 2.

Game selection is important in HU SNGs. For example, on some servers, you have the option to ask for a rematch. If you think you have a good advantage over your opponent, try to make sure he is happy playing you (e.g., by playing quickly, not trash-talking, etc.) and ask for a rematch. Some sites prohibit you from looking up opponents on SharkScope or similar sites while you are logged in, but you can look up players later and see whether you want to play them again.

I think HU SNGs are better for practicing than HU cash games. Many HU cash game opponents quit after a hand or two, so you wait for a long time and then don't get to play much, and you always worry that your opponent will quit. In HU SNGs, you get to play until someone has all of the chips. I addition, the rake is taken per tournament rather than per hand. In low stakes cash games, the rake is very high, and it often means both players lose. You don't need as large of an edge to win in low stakes HU SNGs.
• Bronze
Joined: 25.04.2010
Nice! Thanks for the answer. But now I have some new doubts!

1. When you say that a 5% winrate is OK, do you really mean it? I'm used to cash games \$/hour rate. If I play NL5, I want to make like \$2/hour. But If I play some \$2 HU SNGs with a ROI of 5%, it means I have to play 100 SNGs to make \$10? Is that it? (I'm not used to this ROI calculation)

2. I'll start by playing just one table at a time. As in cash games, we start with one table, but eventually get to 4-6 at an intermediate level. How many HU tables are people playing on a regular basis?

Thanks!!!
• Bronze
Joined: 17.06.2010
HU SNGs are faster than other tournaments. They can be over in one hand, and it takes less time to play each hand. That also means it is hard to play many at once. Playing 2 HU tournaments at once may be similar to playing 6-8 shorthanded tables.

I really meant that ANY positive win rate is ok. That 5% was just an example, not the minimum. You aren't going to make a great wage rate in microstakes poker. Most players should focus on building skills. Winning while you learn may be a lot less stressful than losing while you learn.

The maximum achievable ROI is much higher. After all, even most of the more serious players are far from experts, and there are casual players who don't care much about losing \$2. However, you should not assume that when you start out, that you will have the same win rate as players who are already heads-up specialists who for some reason are still playing \$2 SNGs. Some of those appear to be able to sustain about \$0.40/tournament at the \$2 level.
• Bronze
Joined: 25.04.2010
Well... also... People say that cash HU games have a rake that is too high for beginners. What is the lowest limit from which the rake in cash HU becomes acceptable?

Maybe from NL100 on? Maybe NL200?
• Global
Joined: 12.02.2009
Originally posted by blackops888
How many HU tables are people playing on a regular basis?

Thanks!!!
2-4 for me but lately i tend to prefer 2 since i am more focused
• Bronze
Joined: 25.04.2010
Well... is it just my impression or people on \$1 and \$2 HU SNGs tend to play as if they were on play money tables??? They are either maniacs or loose-passives. As if it was no real money.

That's what I noticed yesterday. The trouble is that variance is too high when you play against people who don't fold or keep pushing all the time.

From which limit would a HU SNG become more "decent"? I mean... when games become more technical and people have at least some clue about what they are doing.

I still like to play against fish because they offer a greater profit margin, etc, etc, but for some reason I think my edge is greater on people who have somewhat of a clue of the game (not too much, though ) than against people who keep pushing all the time and I have to close my eyes, receive good cards and get lucky on the boards.

You understand my point?
• Bronze
Joined: 08.07.2008
Well, I think you already learned one very important thing: You are identifying your opponents. Now figure out how to beat each type of player.

The loose-passive (or the station):
- Value bet him. Don't raise pre with junk and fold out the worst hands. Raise a little bigger with premiums - he will call.
- When you hit: bet bet bet.
- When he raises: be careful. He is passive, so agrression usually means he has it.

The aggressive guy (maniac):
- Just wait for a hand and let him fuck up by trying to push you off it. It takes patience to play against these guys, but they can be beat.

I don't think you should worry too much about moving up to play "real poker". Just focus on exploiting your opponents weaknesses.

Remember there are many ways to play these things. My suggestions are how I like to play the two player types.