Shortstack on bubble

    • FlashDavin
      FlashDavin
      Bronze
      Joined: 25.10.2011 Posts: 421
      In these situations is it best to be shoving a bit wider (or normal range) but calling very tight? I reason this because we need to catch up and their calling ranges are super tight that we can make up some chips here. Or should we be playing super cautious in hopes that the others knock each other out and enter ITM with a crippled stack that we likely finish 3rd with?

      If I am wrong, how should I be playing bubble spots as the short stack?

      Thanks! :s_cool:
  • 14 replies
    • eudodo
      eudodo
      Silver
      Joined: 11.05.2008 Posts: 233
      Do not play super cautiously, as you said. You will be blinded out too often (there might be some exception if all other guys are v aggressive and want to outplay each other, etc but that's not gonna happen v often)

      Lots of depends on stack sizes. In general you want to play aggressively, if called, hoping to double up and increase your chance to get the 1st place.
      Try to pick up on the 2nd lowest stack - he has the most to lose and should not call you very wide. Also get away when he makes any action as usually he will have a strong hand.
    • Deadbillis
      Deadbillis
      Bronze
      Joined: 24.08.2011 Posts: 308
      When you are short stack you can't play to tight! If you try and wait for a 10% hand you'll be blinded out in 90% of games and win around 6% of your pushes.

      Not a good figure.

      If you widen you push/call range you'll win a lot without showdown and when at showdown prob 30%.

      Remember that even a big stack in SnG has not got much over 20bbs (sometimes less if 4 players still in at 200/400) when you get to bubble so they are not gonna call you with any 2 very often.

      Get on the ICM Trainer

      ICM Trainer
      This will help you.
    • FlashDavin
      FlashDavin
      Bronze
      Joined: 25.10.2011 Posts: 421
      I train with ICM trainer every day. I set it to 4 players and did 300 reps and got 91%. Should that value be higher? Is this how I should be playing even on the bubble? Same strategy as ICM suggests?
    • Deadbillis
      Deadbillis
      Bronze
      Joined: 24.08.2011 Posts: 308
      Its more BBs than Bubble awaerness but you must use ICM on Bubble too. Other players get scared of bubble so tighten up making it easier to steal a decent pot. As everyone is down to 2,3or 4k getting these steal really help your chip stack.

      Yes you will get called from time to time and be behind but even then your usually 65/35+ so will double up quite often which usually makes you chip leader giving you a better chance of winning the whole game.

      I do 300 a day (should do more) and get 86to 91. I then check the ones I get wrong and usually they are very marginally (folded 62s when it says to push 62s+ or Pushed Q7s and it says Push Q8s+).

      Unless you have 'Big Blue' for a brian you can't calculate all the scenariors 100%.

      The area I prefer to work at is Calling from BB or SB. This is a very important part of ICM as you need to be able to defend you own blinds as villians will be trying to steal these and if you know when to call with 67s or A2o this is going to def. help you get ITM more often (and wind fish up when they get outdrawn 67 against KT).
    • kurrkabin
      kurrkabin
      Bronze
      Joined: 12.10.2010 Posts: 5,976
      Hi, FlashDavin!


      Being the shortstack on the bubble is never fun tbh :D However, there is no standard all-in-one strategy for how to play profitably the shortest stack on the bubble. Your idea is to push/call a wider range vs the midstack(s) as he is your direct opponent and you are not risk averse against him. On the other hand, if you are facing a shove from the bigstack-then you have to be very tight on your calls. You also have to be tighter when you push into the big stack. This is because even if you double up, your tournament equity won't double up as we are still not in the money and there are 3 more remaining players, each of which has the chance to get ITM. However, if you get doubled up by your direct opponent, he will be become the shortstack, he will be put into pressure and you are much closer to finish ITM. That's why you wanna put some pressure on him by shoving a looser range as you don't wanna give him walks as this will give him an additional chips/advantage on you.

      Being the shortstack with 10bb is very different from being the shortstack with no FE. Also, our FE and gameplan will change if the difference in chips between the short-mid and bigstack is not big.

      If you get very short, say just a few blinds deep, you should be looking to open shove any solid hand or otherwise call an all in with a relatively wide range due to the dead money in the pot. Be aware, however, that if the midstack pushes all in and the other mid or bigstack calls, you should be super tight as both players have you covered and you have to win a 3-way pot to get ITM. You also get a chance to finish ITM- which is your number one priority in a 50:30:20 9-10-player SnG, when you were in a very unpleasant situation. So, if that happens, just hope the bigger stack wins :)


      I suggest you open this link: Click and play around with nash, just train some imaginary situations when you are f.e. the shortstack. This will give you a good knowledge of how risk aversion changes and what our general approach on the bubble should be. Be sure you don't apply these ranges strictly if you are playing vs fishes though! They've probably never heard of nash, so they won't be playing nash, which will make it less optimal for you to play it too.


      Cheers!
    • FlashDavin
      FlashDavin
      Bronze
      Joined: 25.10.2011 Posts: 421
      Against fish (which is at the $1 SNGs I play) should I just be pushing tighter vs them? Also more Ax hands because they call lots of KT QJ type hands and I am ahead? Hand like A5o is good vs fish calling range because they won't only call AJo+ like a tight reg would if I raise from EP.
    • kurrkabin
      kurrkabin
      Bronze
      Joined: 12.10.2010 Posts: 5,976
      You mean pushing bvb? If so- during push/fold stage we shove any Ax regardless of who are are facing in the blind battles. Few exceptions are possible only on the bubble midstack vs bigstack dynamics.

      Shove looser vs fish. They won't call as much as a reg will. They might at some point start spiting you off when you've been shoving quite a bit, so be prepared to adjust.

      As for raising from EP, what exactly do you mean? We don't raise A5o from EP.
    • pzhon
      pzhon
      Bronze
      Joined: 17.06.2010 Posts: 1,151
      Originally posted by FlashDavin
      Against fish (which is at the $1 SNGs I play) should I just be pushing tighter vs them? Also more Ax hands because they call lots of KT QJ type hands and I am ahead? Hand like A5o is good vs fish calling range because they won't only call AJo+ like a tight reg would if I raise from EP.
      There are a number of statements above which are misleading, and correcting them may help you to play better.

      Suppose you have A5o with a 4 bb stack in the CO, and the big blind has QJo. If you need this information, you have the only short stack with 4 BB on the bubble, but it actually doesn't matter. Do you want the BB to call? If your goal is to be able to say you busted out with the best hand, maybe. But if your goal is to make money playing poker, then you do not want the BB to call with QJo, and it will probably cost you money if you get called by 72o. A5o simply isn't a huge favorite over QJo, and the BB is getting close to 2:1 odds, so the call costs you chips. You usually want to gain chips on average to take a gamble, particularly on the bubble. You might need more than 73% equity to want to get called, but A5o has about 56% equity. Taking the blinds is much better than getting your money in as a 56:44 favorite.

      If you don't want the BB to call, then the fact that the player you are calling a fish will call with QJ is an argument against pushing A5o more frequently against the looser caller. If it is still correct to push A5o, then it is more correct against a tighter player in the BB.

      A player who is calling with only AJo+ when you push a short stack is probably playing very badly. In fact, it is often correct to call with hands like QJo even if the BB puts you on a tight range when you push a short stack, and that wouldn't be close to the bottom of my calling range if I saw a reg push 4 BB from the CO. Perhaps in your games, players who typically play poorly call with the correct range there, and players who typically play well are overly tight. The players you are calling tight regs are exploitable by pushing wide range. In higher stakes games, it is the good regs who know to call wider in situations like this, while most fish fold too much.

      Betting for value is not an important part of SNG play on the bubble. You should be semibluffing over 90% of the time. Getting called by worse hands often still hurts you.
    • FlashDavin
      FlashDavin
      Bronze
      Joined: 25.10.2011 Posts: 421
      I would say at my limits the people call too tightly as we get closer to ITM. Does this mean I should be pushing with wider range then?

      I have since given up on SNGs and moved to cash games because I can't seem to find an edge in SNGs even with all the fish. I play super tight in the early stage as the charts suggest but it seems that is when others are gaining a huge chip lead. I am good with ICM but playing ICM ranges does not yield the best profits at $1 SNGs.

      I mostly just want to know if I should be tightening or loosening my ranges when compared to ICM when:

      I am shortstack on bubble
      I am big stack on bubble
      I am short stack with 2 until ITM
      I am big stack with 2 until ITM
    • onmybike
      onmybike
      Black
      Joined: 03.01.2012 Posts: 6,451
      Originally posted by FlashDavin
      I would say at my limits the people call too tightly as we get closer to ITM. Does this mean I should be pushing with wider range then?

      I have since given up on SNGs and moved to cash games because I can't seem to find an edge in SNGs even with all the fish. I play super tight in the early stage as the charts suggest but it seems that is when others are gaining a huge chip lead. I am good with ICM but playing ICM ranges does not yield the best profits at $1 SNGs.

      I mostly just want to know if I should be tightening or loosening my ranges when compared to ICM when:

      I am shortstack on bubble
      I am big stack on bubble
      I am short stack with 2 until ITM
      I am big stack with 2 until ITM
      on the first place the charts are just horrible on the 1$ it is +ev to stack of with ask and qq and the charts say that you have to fold these vs 3-bet. (sorry pokerstrategy ;) )
      Also the ICM trainer is very bad for your playing style when you want to play winning in the 1$ because
      1. ICM is overrated.
      2. the ICM trainer is mostly with nash-ranges and on the 1$ people do not even heart about Nash ;)

      I can not answer your questions because there is not 1 answer and it depend on the exact situation.
      I have 2 tips for you for these 1$ (for bubble) (also for every player who playing these 1$)
      1. be the shover not the caller
      2. don't focus to much on ICM calculators try to make decicions on your own thinking process

      (i am aslo available for coaching :f_biggrin: )
    • pzhon
      pzhon
      Bronze
      Joined: 17.06.2010 Posts: 1,151

      the ICM trainer is mostly with nash-ranges and on the 1$ people do not even heart about Nash ;)
      Even if your opponents don't understand the Nash equilibrium, it is still very useful to know it yourself.

      Obviously, it's best to know exactly how your opponents play, and to optimize your play to exploit them. No one is saying to stop exploiting your opponents and play the Nash equilibrium instead. Even professional SNG players do not know exactly how their opponents play, and benefit from studying the Nash equilibrium.

      -- When you don't know how your opponents play, the Nash equilibrium can be a great starting point.
      -- If you know how your opponents are deviating from the Nash equilibrium, you know how to adjust your strategy from the Nash equilibrium.
      -- If you learn the Nash strategies in many situations, then you learn how you should loosen up or tighten up based on the stacks, blinds, and the number of players left. You learn whether you are supposed to be risk-averse or not.

      Also the ICM trainer is very bad for your playing style when you want to play winning in the 1$
      I strongly disagree, and I would bet that the vast majority of serious $1 SNG players would benefit greatly from using ICM Trainer. Many players will learn to beat microstakes SNGs primarily by studying with ICM Trainer.
    • onmybike
      onmybike
      Black
      Joined: 03.01.2012 Posts: 6,451
      Originally posted by pzhon

      the ICM trainer is mostly with nash-ranges and on the 1$ people do not even heart about Nash ;)
      Even if your opponents don't understand the Nash equilibrium, it is still very useful to know it yourself.

      Obviously, it's best to know exactly how your opponents play, and to optimize your play to exploit them. No one is saying to stop exploiting your opponents and play the Nash equilibrium instead. Even professional SNG players do not know exactly how their opponents play, and benefit from studying the Nash equilibrium.

      -- When you don't know how your opponents play, the Nash equilibrium can be a great starting point.
      -- If you know how your opponents are deviating from the Nash equilibrium, you know how to adjust your strategy from the Nash equilibrium.
      -- If you learn the Nash strategies in many situations, then you learn how you should loosen up or tighten up based on the stacks, blinds, and the number of players left. You learn whether you are supposed to be risk-averse or not.

      Also the ICM trainer is very bad for your playing style when you want to play winning in the 1$
      I strongly disagree, and I would bet that the vast majority of serious $1 SNG players would benefit greatly from using ICM Trainer. Many players will learn to beat microstakes SNGs primarily by studying with ICM Trainer.
      ICM is not something magic. ICM is just a word for a way of logical thinking imo.
      You do not have to be a genius to understand that when there 3 players left with a flat pay out and there is one shorty with 4bb that you better can wait til he bust. This is a easy one what almost every player wil understand and when you think about it you are using your own brain and with doing that you wil be a better player and improve your game.
      What does ICM trainer? he let you give some answer and then give the nash-ranges. what have you learn? that you have to shove in that spot q8s or whatever (when it is Nash equilibrium). Did you learn a thinking proces? definitely not.
      It is a big mistake imo how pokerstrategy try to improve the players. they learn then some tricks with ICM trainer and a chart and the can be break-even players on the micro's. Not really what you want...
      What they really have to do is making them good players by learing them a way of thinking.
      A way better way is using good tools like equilab you can see with hand are with % you can go to think by yourself with hand he is going to call and how much % that is then you know how much % he is going to fold and you can pick up the blinds. Now you can go to think ok he is calling like 10% i have 7bb i can win 2bb in 90% of the time this is a any two shove.
      summary: with the ICM trainer you only learn the Nash equilibrium but you will not understand it.
    • pzhon
      pzhon
      Bronze
      Joined: 17.06.2010 Posts: 1,151
      Originally posted by onmybike
      Originally posted by pzhon
      I would bet that the vast majority of serious $1 SNG players would benefit greatly from using ICM Trainer. Many players will learn to beat microstakes SNGs primarily by studying with ICM Trainer.
      ICM is not something magic. ICM is just a word for a way of logical thinking imo.
      ICM is not "logical thinking." ICM is a model for tournament equity which has proven very effective for many serious tournament players including almost every professional.

      Suppose you are considering calling all-in on the bubble. Logically, if you have enough equity, you can call. Logically, you are supposed to be somewhat risk-averse. Logic doesn't tell you whether 60% equity against your opponent's range is enough. The ICM says whether 60% is enough equity. The type of quantitative analysis which a model like the ICM makes possible is extremely useful.

      There are alternative models to the ICM. However, they are more complicated, and people found that by using tools which incorporated the ICM, they made a lot of money (a lot more than just using logic), and they didn't feel there was much of an incentive to change. If you go back and read the SNG strategy discussions from 2004, before people used the ICM, you should be shocked at how low the level of the discussion was even by professional players.

      It's damaging to tell people to avoid ICM Trainer, one of the best tools available for learning how to play SNGs. (Free download.)
      ICM Trainer has some flaws (always set the edge to 0), but it makes learning the Nash equilibrium easier than with any other tool I know.


      You do not have to be a genius to understand that when there 3 players left with a flat pay out and there is one shorty with 4bb that you better can wait til he bust.
      In fact, there are plenty of times when you should put your tournament life on the line when there is a short stack who might bust out. Sometimes you have enough equity. Sometimes you know your opponent is so risk-averse that he won't call. This is what the ICM says.

      In some common situations, players don't push widely enough while they wait for a short stack to bust out, even though their opponents are calling tighter than the Nash calling range, which means they can push at least as widely as the Nash pushing range.


      summary: with the ICM trainer you only learn the Nash equilibrium but you will not understand it.
      No one says you are supposed to shut your brain off when you use ICM Trainer. Now, what is better training material when your brain is on, ICM Trainer (plus using PokerStove, Equilator, ICM Explorer, etc. to follow up), or wishy-washy hand discussions where every conclusion is, "It depends again?"
    • onmybike
      onmybike
      Black
      Joined: 03.01.2012 Posts: 6,451
      Originally posted by pzhon
      Logic doesn't tell you whether 60% equity against your opponent's range is enough. The ICM says whether 60% is enough equity. The type of quantitative analysis which a model like the ICM makes possible is extremely useful.
      I disagree with this. I think that every good sit en go player who has a good thinking process can imagine how much equity they should have. Not exactly ofcourse but do you really think that an ICM calculator give you the exact equality you needed?
      I do not think so because an ICM calculator do not use al the information that is available. For instance ICM do not look who is the next hand in the BB, ICM do not look when the blinds increase. ICM do not look to the chance that next hand the BB is going to bust because he it tilting an is going to cal everything.
      And there are hundreds of things that ICM do not take in his calculation and al that things are just importend for do you have to be tighter or looser then ICM say. I am sure that you can way more closer to the really best answer with logic thinking then with a simple calculator like ICM.