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The "I have some free time so I'll crush micro SnGs" challenge

    • corvusim
      Joined: 20.06.2016 Posts: 45

      Hi all - 23yo uni student speaking. Last semester is coming this spring, then hopefully a master's degree in computer science and then the real life begins. Side interests include IT, football, cars, women and reddit, in no particular order. Everything else in life is going just fine and with poker being a potential side income source I happen to love playing, having some free time in the following months might just do the trick. For what you say?

      For a poker challenge of course! You can't have enough of those, right?

      The basics
      Played freerolls 5-6 years back, nothing serious - lack of will power and time was always a burden. Last year played NLHE micros and stopped after about 50k hands. I took the idea of moving up the stakes pretty seriously, posting hands, reviewing sessions, reading Carroters' and other books, reading forums&watching others play. The problem was grinding 4-6 tables of NL2/4/5 because volume volume volume just wasn't right for me. Got some money out of it, nothing serious, but wasn't a losing player so that's good I guess.
      So this time I'm off to SnG's. Love the format and style of play, love how they don't last for approx 6hrs each so it's a perfect match.

      The goals
      #1 To have fun. Plain and simple. Goal #1.5 is to really put in some volume - right now the best I can do is 4-tabling, and with turbos running for about 30-40 mins on average that should be 15 tourneys in 2hrs. Two or three sessions a day will give me a solid 40ish games a day volume, which sounds good for now.

      #2 Not to bust. Pretty self-explanatory really. My starting BR isn't the best with only 20BI but that's where I started cash game last year and it went well. So fingers crossed this time.

      #3 To learn something. I'm not going to pretend I know exactly what I'm doing. ICM, basic strategy, push/fold game and the rest I understand to a level - I'd like to bring it to a higher level if I can. Hence this topic.

      #4 To move up. Right now I'm playing $1.50 6-max turbos on Pokerstars. The next level are the $3.50 ones. BRM is key (bar the starting BR :f_biggrin: )so having at least 50BI for the next level = $175 is a sign goal #4 is complete.

      #5 To earn something. But not too much :f_biggrin:

      The way to do it
      Like I said, I'm playing exclusively 6max SnGs on Pokerstars and don't see a reason to change that. I'm aware other networks should have soft(er) fields, but the inactivity there kills me so this will have to do for now. No bonus of any kind unfortunately so the roll is getting bigger only from the wins.

      The results so far
      Nothing major to report just yet - 40 tournaments since yesterday (which is the official start date of this challenge) - the giraffe is useless just yet but here's a finished places breakdown just so the op has a poker related image in it:

      8 wins, 6 silver medals and 10 bubbles. Down by a buyin. Overall I have 178 SnG's played with an unrealistic 16.8% ROI - 158 of which are 6max turbos with a more believable 5.7% ROI.

      I'll be posting hands and updates daily for as long as I'm in the challenge.

      We're off!
  • 12 replies
    • corvusim
      Joined: 20.06.2016 Posts: 45
      All aboard the Downswing Express! :f_biggrin:

      26 tourneys played, I'm down by 4BI today, 6BI in total. EDIT: 31 today, this late night mini session went well and improved the overall stats, a win and two ITM finishes - although both were +EV pushes with 55 and 66 - so today I'm down by 2.5BI.

      Some bad choices were made, but a few coolers happened as well, and as a bonus had both AA and KK limped pre by passive players as well as bubbling with K7 boat vs K8 boat on a JK87K board. All in all, I'm disappointed the challenge is off to a bad start but there's still time - form is temporary but class is permanent, right?

      I also gotta figure out what's the meaning of random donking and how to respond to it (usually a middle pair, sometimes random junk, sometimes a draw) or potting A high board otr. Had a major breakthrough though - unsuited broadways (minus Ax hands) and baby pairs are usually sh*t hands to call shoves with especially in HU and it's just not worth the risk.

      Short-term plans include reading Sit 'n Go Strategy although it's been 10 years since it first came out, getting acquainted with The SitNGo Wizard and ICMIZER/HoldemResources on a daily basis, as well as going through this site's video database. Need at least silver status for most of the goodies though - I'll look into other networks and see if it's worth playing on one that's tracked here since my Stars account isn't.

      Here's a misplay by me, that turn check is awful.

      PokerStars - 10/20 Ante 3 NL (6 max) - Holdem - 6 players
      Hand converted by PokerTracker 4

      Hero (SB): 1,405
      BB: 1,403 (VPIP: 80.56, PFR: 14.29, 3Bet Preflop: 6.67, Hands: 37)
      UTG: 1,791 (VPIP: 100.00, PFR: 0.00, 3Bet Preflop: 0.00, Hands: 5)
      MP: 1,523 (VPIP: 60.00, PFR: 0.00, 3Bet Preflop: 0.00, Hands: 5)
      CO: 1,483 (VPIP: 60.00, PFR: 0.00, 3Bet Preflop: 0.00, Hands: 5)
      BTN: 1,395 (VPIP: 40.00, PFR: 0.00, 3Bet Preflop: 0.00, Hands: 5)

      6 players post ante of 3, Hero posts SB 10, BB posts BB 20

      Pre Flop: (pot: 48) Hero has K:diamond: K:heart:

      UTG calls 20, MP calls 20, CO calls 20, fold, Hero raises to 200, fold, fold, MP calls 180, fold

      Flop: (478, 2 players) 4:spade: 2:diamond: 2:spade:
      Hero bets 260, MP calls 260

      Turn: (998, 2 players) 9:spade:
      Hero checks, MP checks

      River: (998, 2 players) T:spade:
      Hero checks, MP bets 998, *sigh* fold
    • corvusim
      Joined: 20.06.2016 Posts: 45
      The challenge just became 100% more serious with an official intro image in the opening post.

      And as Ice Cube likes to say - today was a good day. 17 tourneys played, I'm up by 6.2BI but man oh man it could have been much more. Not too happy about the volume but I can't handle more than 4 tables at once yet so this will have to do for now.

      Seven 2nd places *pukes* and the worst part is that the final hands were all +ev plays and in 5/7 I was ahead. But volume will fix that in the long run, no worries there, what matters are the decisions. The overall graph isn't useless anymore since it has 88 points on it in total.

      Don't have any fun hands to share from the top of my head, I'll review the sessions tomorrow and post if I find anything interesting. Did some work in Holdem Resources, but I've yet to lean how to do good ICM decisions under time pressure - it isn't that hard to do it post-session when I can plug in the ranges and see what hands are marked green in which situation. I guess it's all down to experience.

      I've added another entry to my to-do list: playing against loose passive players. That type of villain appears on almost every table at these stakes and I find myself losing too much time trying to understand what are they representing when donking, and need to learn in which spots I should loosen up vs them and when to play even tighter.
    • corvusim
      Joined: 20.06.2016 Posts: 45
      Quick update for today, not much time to play unfortunately - 5 tourneys and they were all a bust so I'm down by 5BI. All but one final decisions were correct shoves - and it's the baby pairs again although that one was only marginal -ev. 66 vs AJ rivers a straight, 99 vs KK, AQ vs QT turned a straight, 22 vs KK vs AKo vs QJo (wrong shove here after a raise and overcall 9bb) and 52 on 442 flop vs 49/21 villain that randomly had 64. Definitely a mini downswing but what can you do about it. Reviewed all major hands in Holdem Resources, watched two videos of SnG hand reviews while I was away - tomorrow is a new day, I'm planning to get back to my standard 20ish games per day.
    • corvusim
      Joined: 20.06.2016 Posts: 45

      I'm fine with the downswings and bad beats, but do they really have to happen so often this early and while I'm on a limited BR?

      Today only 10 tourneys played in two shorter sessions - got tilty in both of them so decided not to push it. Not "openshoving 94o" tilty, but tilty as in disappointed and losing the will to continue playing the session. One tourney won, finished second in the last one and the rest were all busts. Won't go into details of the hands or bad beats (such as losing KK to QT vs 100/91 over 11 hands), I can be happy with the overall decisions - two -ev pushes (marginal AQ squeeze into two limpers and a 62/31 minraise who had AA, and shoving K9o after v limped bvb).

      The not-so-good-looking-giraffe after 104 tourneys played:

      Overall down by 8.4BI, today by 5.7BI.

      Nothing much left to do but to stay optimistic and hope for a change in fortunes whilst doing +ev decisions.
    • jvivas1990
      Joined: 10.01.2010 Posts: 1,022
      go with the thread! following!
    • Guthans
      Joined: 16.12.2009 Posts: 766
      Nice blogg! Keep fighting for that +EV and the dollas shall come! :f_thumbsup:
    • Primrose6789
      Joined: 01.07.2016 Posts: 2,947
      Well, I´m in the quite same situation at the moment so I say: You´re not alone!
    • Primrose6789
      Joined: 01.07.2016 Posts: 2,947
      For those who are currently riding the Downswing Express:

    • corvusim
      Joined: 20.06.2016 Posts: 45
      Yuck, chocolate; Whey is the only way :f_biggrin: Thanks for the comments all! :f_thumbsup:

      Alright, today went a bit better than yesterday, managed to ship 4 tourneys out of 17 played. Still running bad imo, 99 vs limped AA, then did a horrendous bvb 14bb shove with A7o according to PT4 ICM, but a +ev call according to Holdem Resources. Take a look:

      PokerStars - 60/120 Ante 15 NL (6 max) - Holdem - 4 players
      Hand converted by PokerTracker 4

      BTN: 3,975 (VPIP: 11.63, PFR: 7.14, 3Bet Preflop: 5.88, Hands: 45)
      SB: 1,630 (VPIP: 44.74, PFR: 23.29, 3Bet Preflop: 0.00, Hands: 79)
      Hero (BB): 1,911
      CO: 1,484

      4 players post ante of 15, SB posts SB 60, Hero posts BB 120

      Pre Flop: (pot: 240) Hero has A:club: 7:diamond:

      fold, fold, SB raises to 1,615 and is all-in, Hero calls 1,495

      Flop: (3,290, 2 players) Q:heart: 2:diamond: 4:diamond:
      Turn: (3,290, 2 players) K:diamond:
      River: (3,290, 2 players) 5:club:
      SB shows 4:spade: 6:spade: (One Pair, Fours)
      (Pre 40%, Flop 74%, Turn 68%)
      Hero shows A:club: 7:diamond: (High Card, Ace)
      (Pre 60%, Flop 26%, Turn 32%)
      SB wins 3,290

      I think it's perfectly fine to call Ax here with 3 players all having 12-16bb. Vs SB's 22+, all Ax, SC and suited broadways I have 43% equity pre and with him being 45/23 with RFI 37 I believe it was a +ev call. Got it in with 88 and v behind had TT, then a classic KQs vs AK, A9s vs AQ, 33 vs 88...

      Thinking whether this was a good fold though:

      PokerStars - 25/50 Ante 6 NL (6 max) - Holdem - 4 players
      Hand converted by PokerTracker 4

      BB: 1,753 (VPIP: 39.13, PFR: 4.35, 3Bet Preflop: 0.00, Hands: 23)
      CO: 1,450 (VPIP: 16.67, PFR: 5.56, 3Bet Preflop: 11.11, Hands: 36)
      Hero (BTN): 1,688
      SB: 4,109 (VPIP: 38.10, PFR: 28.57, 3Bet Preflop: 20.00, Hands: 23)

      4 players post ante of 6, SB posts SB 25, BB posts BB 50

      Pre Flop: (pot: 99) Hero has Q:club: 5:club:

      fold, Hero raises to 100, SB calls 75, fold

      Flop: (274, 2 players) Q:heart: T:club: A:heart:
      SB bets 250, fold

      Made a bad decision in the first hand with a donkey end of the straight, 87s on JT9, v had KQ, but can't fold the second nuts on these stakes. The only major ICM mistake was calling a shove from chipleader with K7o 4bb while there was a 3bb villain next to me. I thought hero calling range should be a bit wider but is seems it's pretty tight:

      Definitely have to improve my postflop game, in particular:
      - responding to leads in multiway
      - responding to oop donks in a 2way pot
      - playing postflop shortstacked, often happens one away from the bubble

      Also I'm planning to make a few minor changes to my environment:
      - redo the Stars labels
      - have the outs&equity table somewhere on the screen
      - adjust my middle stage preflop range & print it out

      All in all, after 17 tourneys played, down by something more than a BI, although the ev line is even lower. Still enough time to turn it all around.


      Not tomorrow though as I'm reinstalling my operating system, maybe I'll have some time in the evening. Till the next update, gl at the tables everyone!
    • Primrose6789
      Joined: 01.07.2016 Posts: 2,947
      I personally don´t like the minraise with Q 5 against the loose blinds you offer to BB right pot odds for a atc call and he seems to be loose-passive (!), while you hold a weak hand. Either raise to 3BB or fold. Here, with blinds stats I personally prefer a fold. Besides, the blinds and antes are still small so you win just a small amount of chips when you steal the blinds.

      The call with A7o in the BB is okay.

      When you have a (ultra-)short stack and a big stack at the table, you have to tighten up your calling range, especially against the big stack and at the bubble your calling range is very much restricted (tight), especially as midstack, depends on who pushes and especially when you have to call for your entire stack! You have to be very patient there and better push against a midstack then call with marginal stuff. The 3-BB shortie has now a wider calling range. You have to be patient at the bubble or near bubble. Your range widens when you are short.

      Note: The risk premium increases near bubble and at the bubble to about 10%! This means: You need 10% more equity than you would need in a cash game. As midstack you need about 70-75% equity to call for your entire stack! As short stack the required equity for a call decreases because according to ICM your money-EV is 0, while as midstack there is a chance you make it ITM and even second or first so with a call you risk your EV - and burn money with wrong calls.
    • corvusim
      Joined: 20.06.2016 Posts: 45
      Thanks for the insight!

      Forgot to backup my PokerStars user data so lost all the labels. The regish players I know by name already and the rest shouldn't be a huge problem as I was about to re-do my labeling system anyway, so they are more useful to my current SNG goal. As planned, I didn't play anything yesterday and today, but the new OS is now up and running.

      Read the first 40 pages of IvicaIliev's mythical thread here, hopefully positive ROI is obtainable on the lowest $1.5 and $3.5 limits as I was very surprised to read even the best regs managed to have a 3-5% ROI on 11s/22s and larger limit turbos so it doesn't all come down to rakeback only earnings.

      Anyway, as for my study plans, here goes:
      - started reading Sit 'n Go strategy, I will try to make notes as I go through it - expecting to see some great examples of potential chip burning spots in early-mid stages
      - purchased (well, I will tomorrow anyway) a one month sub to deucescracked, lots of SNG videos there, looking forward to watching vandweller's SNG series, there is some ICM content as well
      - downloaded ICM trainer, SNG wizard (30 day trial), will test myself daily

      Hopefully the weekend will be +ev. :f_cool:
    • Primrose6789
      Joined: 01.07.2016 Posts: 2,947
      Collins "SnG strategy" book is a great way to get started. My personal experience: At the low limits you can follow EXACTLY the advices in the book (but CAUTION: I play on PartyPoker where the competition is not as tough as on Pokerstars!!!). ICM trainer is very good I practice regularly with it and it helps a lot. To get into the right push/fold ranges you can start with Lee Nelsons book "Let´s play poker" - he devides the ranges into different categories and you get a first rough idea about them. From there you can start learning them more exactly (that´s what I´m about to do).

      My experience: By knowing the right ranges more or less you already have a big edge at the 1.10s and 2.20ties, but again: I´m speaking of PartyPoker.