If you are new to the site, before you read this post, it is highly recommended that you read this post, which is lorinda's faq in the internet gambling forum. That document answers many of the frequently asked questions about playing poker on the internet in general. For questions specifically about using more than one monitor with your computer, AncientPC has been kind enough to furnish another faq about just that.
- 1 What is the purpose of this FAQ?
- 2 Did I pull off a good Gigabet play?
- 3 Should I fold AA preflop here?
- 4 What are attainable stats at the different levels?
- 5 Should I move up? What to expect when I do? Should I play more tables?
- 6 Variance and Downswings
- 7 How big a bankroll do I need?
- 8 Why play at one site instead of another?
- 9 What do you think of my stats? Short term/long term/sample sizes
- 10 Books
- 11 Software/Websites
- 12 Posting a hand in the Two Plus Two 1-table tournament forum
- 13 Rakeback
- 14 How to use ICM
- 15 Who are the best players at the Party...?
- 16 Why play SNGs?
- 17 Definitions of common terms
- 18 See also
What is the purpose of this FAQ?
This document will not teach you much about the play strategy used in Sit-and-Go (SNG) tournaments. Rather it will discuss some of the issues to consider when deciding to play SNGs and how to determine your level of success. There are links included that will lead you to strategy discussions, and you are encouraged to read those carefully.
Did I pull off a good Gigabet play?
Short answer: No.
Long answer: No. It's vastly more likely you really have no idea what he's talking about and are just confused by what he is saying, but you wanted to try it because you thought it sounds badass. More often than not you made a bad play and want some way to justify it.
Should I fold AA preflop here?
Here is an example of a thread where folding AA preflop is discussed. Note the general tone of the thread.
When should you fold AA preflop? When it's likely that folding will assure you of a greater expected value than not folding will. The general form of this occurrences is spelled out in the linked thread. Other examples are elsewhere, including in TPFAP. The general rule of thumb to consider before asking a folding AA preflop question would be to either look at an ICM calculation, or sit down with a pen and paper and try to figure out the EV of folding relative to your other options.
What are attainable stats at the different levels?
In this thread, one poster comments on many things, including attainable stats for the various buyins. More than that, there is quite a bit of posting later in that thread about what are attainable and realistic ROI’s for the higher stakes Party SNGs. A summary for a "good player" the following ROis are good, while 4 tabling:
11s - 25% ROI 20s - 20% ROI 33s - 16% ROI 55s - 13% ROI 109s - 10% ROI 215s - 7% ROI
Higher ROIs are attainable at every one of these levels, HOWEVER if you can achieve the above ROI's you are capable of making a good living at poker, especially if you can do so playing 8 at once.
Anyone who can acheive the above ROI's, while playing many tables at once, is a "good" player. They might not be great and may still have plenty of weaknesses, but they are definitely very good at what they do.
In short, if your ROI is higher than the above numbers, you are doing something right and should be relatively satisfied with your play. You may still have plenty of room to improve but you are definitely on the right track.
(thanks for the above to curtains.)
Basically, as you move up your ITM shouldn’t decrease very much, but your ROI will. If you’re making money though, you’re making money. Just don’t get overconfident with a small sample size. See the “what do you think of my stats?” section.
(These figures are from approximately 3-4 years ago, the games have gotten tougher and so much more modest returns are to be expected - curtains)
Should I move up? What to expect when I do? Should I play more tables?
Sure, why not. yeah sure why the hell goddamn not my little furry friendOnly you are actually going to be able to tell when you’re ready for either of those things. Whatever you post isn’t going to make it so that someone else will be able to tell you these things. The only real advice I can give is that you shouldn’t think that you’re losing at low stakes because of the bad players and so you should move up to play with people who “know what they’re doing.” That’s a fallacy.
What should you expect to happen when you do these things? The play of the average opponent is going to get stronger as you move up stakes. When you play more tables at once, it’s likely your ROI is going to drop slightly, but the goal is to have your hourly rate improved anyway, by having added the additional tables. It is likely that adding more tables will hurt your ability to follow the action at each table, and hurt your reads. It is often suggested that because of this a player who is interested in improving his game to its maximum potential not attempt to get the most t
- ables possible, but instead concentrate the tables they do play.
Variance and Downswings
A Small faq on Variance. In short, variance is great, and stinks, all at the same time. Whatever your most recent downswing is, it’s very likely that another 2+2er has had worse. We commiserate, I promise. But we usually don’t want to hear about it.
To answer the other standard question: What is a really long out of the money streak for a winning player? The math is pretty easy to figure out what the chances of any given run are with a given ITM, but any random number in the teens is the standard stinky run number.
How big a bankroll do I need?
This is totally a preference thing. How willing or able are you to reload your bankroll if you bust it? How low of a risk of ruin do you like to have to feel comfortable? You should always have enough money in your bankroll that you are not playing with “scared money” at whatever stakes you are playing.
Many numbers are thrown around for how many buyins for a given level actually constitutes a bankroll. However, there are some factors that are clearly true, including that you need to have a larger in terms of buyins bankroll to play the higher stakes games. While many agree that to play the lower stakes games, 20-30 buyins is probably enough, many also say that to feel comfortable playing the highest limit games, they like to have 50-100 buyins in their bankroll. 100 being the most conservative number offered for high stakes play.
Additionally it is important to remember that the more willing a player is to move down limits when they lose, practicing a form of bankroll management, the fewer buyins for the next highest level the player needs to take a shot at moving up.
Why play at one site instead of another?
This depends really on why you are playing the games, amongst other things. If you are playing for fun, you might not care about maximizing your hourly rate. If you are playing purely for money, you might not care about anything else at all. The two largest SNG sites are Party Poker and Pokerstars at the moment. Partypoker’s benefits include that they have the largest player pools, the most frequently starting games, and the widest variety of sng table structures, including 6-seat, 10-seat, 2-table, 3-table, and 5-table. Pokerstars’ benefits include a widely preferred interface, and nine player tables. Most SNG players wind up choosing Partypoker, as the games are the softest, and the fastest.
- SNGs by site - a comparison of different sites' SNG offerings.
What do you think of my stats? Short term/long term/sample sizes
The short answer is that most likely no one cares about your stats. But if you’re thinking about posting them, there’s probably a reason. Before you do so, you should know that to come to any sort of idea about what your “actual” stats are, you’re going to have to play about 500 games at a level before anyone takes your numbers seriously. Smaller sample sizes are just plain old too small to be worthwhile. Here is a very good thread about confidence intervals and SNGs. Here is another.
To summarize, here are some rules of thumb:
- After 500 games, you have a 50% chance of being within +/-5% of your true ROI.
- After 1000 games, you have a 66% chance of being within +/-5% of your true ROI.
- After 3000 games, you have a 90% chance of being within +/-5% of your true ROI.
"True ROI" means what you would have if you could play an infinite number of games at your current skill level against the same opposition, i.e., the expected value of your ROI. Note that since you may get better or worse, or your opponents may get better or worse, these estimates are actually low. These numbers are determined by a simple monte carlo simulation assuming constant placing distributions across a range of ROIs. The results are fairly insensitive to ROI.
There really aren't any books that apply to SNGs specifically because they are such a unique beast. Harrington on Holdem Volume 1 is a good introduction to no limit in general and applies well to the early SNG strategy. For late game tatics, Harrington on Holdem Volume 2 was mostly a disappointment as outlined by adanthar here. Realistically, your best source of information are the links on this wiki and the 2+2 SNG forum itself.
Very good book that covers SNG strategy is "SNG strategy" by Colin Moshman.
There are some very useful websites and pieces of software, and some that have debatable value. Here’s a few:
Sit and Go Shark is a sophisticated Sit & Go advice engine. The software simply attaches to your poker table, observes the patterns and scenarios which give you customized step-by-step advice.
pokertracker is the “standard” piece of hold’em evaluating software. Amongst the things it does for SNG players is store tournament summaries and all the hands in a tournament, separating them by a variety of filters on command.
PokerBrains.net has a downloadable program to assist you during the Sit and Go tournament play. It has a end game strategy to call all-in or go all-in yourself. It display "M" values and has a Stack Attacker to assist you how to play against your opponent stack ranges.
twodimes.net is a web based utility to evaluate hand match-up equities in various poker games.
pokerstove is a downloadable utility that allows the user to run range based equity match-ups for hold’em.
sng tracker is a utility by Hood that calculates a variety of statistics for the user about their SNG play.
Sit n Go Power Tools is a downloadable utility by eastbay that allows the user to run an EV calculation that takes into account the ICM, folding equity, and more.
bisonbison’s hand converter makes hand histories from various online poker rooms all pretty so that you can post them on your favorite poker forums without getting flamed for bad formatting.
the replayer allows you to cut and paste Partypoker hand histories and watch them on a graphical interface as if you were watching them at the table.
tables like this one that gives the pot equity with any hand against a random hand, are available all over online.
ICM calculator is pretty necessary when you’re doing all those ICM calculations by hand.
The aleomagus spreadsheet is always being revised, and the best way to find it is to run a search for the most recent mentions of “spreadsheet” in this forum, or something like that. Here is a semi permanent link to the spreadsheet to check before searching. The spreadsheet helps keep track of SNG results, and some more detailed statistics.
Posting a hand in the Two Plus Two 1-table tournament forum
In this post Scuba Chuck helps give some guidelines to what information you should try to give when you post a hand in this forum. Much of it will be included when you take your hand over to bisonbison’s hand converter automatically. Also, always remember to copyedit your posts, as sometimes there’s cut and paste or other errors that make the hand totally unintelligible. Basically, try to concisely include any piece of information that you had access to while at the table before asking for help on what your decision would have been. Sometimes you just flat out didn’t have some of the information, but try your best.
Rakeback refers to having an arrangement whereby you receive a percentage of your rake that you play to the poker sites. At the moment, this practice is not commonly supported by most of the major online poker rooms, and is strictly against the terms and conditions of their user agreements. That said… at most of the sites, the house take of the entrance fees for SNG tournaments counts as rake, and thus contributes to your rakeback payments. How to get rakeback and who to get it from is more than will be covered in this document. If you are looking for an affiliate deal, do research: use the search function, use google, and of course, use the classifieds section of this website. Rakeback is discussed in many threads, and also in the Internet Forum’s faq. Twoplustwo forum members who are affiliates should be careful though, as it is against the forum’s rules to discuss affiliate offers and/or advertise in any way that doesn’t include paying for a sanctioned advertisement.
How to use ICM
Who are the best players at the Party...?
This question is asked all the time about basically every buyin level of the Party Poker SNGs. For most of the buyins, the question is somewhat ridiculous, as the player pools are incredibly large, sample sizes are hard to get to, and good players often move up from the lower levels, so don’t spend enough time to be recognized as a “great” player at those levels.
At the higher buyin levels, the question is made difficult sometimes by players changing their names, having multiple screen names, and other factors. The main difficulty is that the people who have large enough data sets to take a good shot at answering this sort of question for high stakes games have very little to compel them to share their information.
If you’re somewhat curious about the answers to the question, search the archive. If you’re more curious than that, I’d recommend datamining the games.
Why play SNGs?
Different people have different reasons. Some people like the “it’s a science”-ishness of them. Some people like the fact that they take a pretty standard amount of time. Some people like the variety of going from full table all the way to heads up. Some people just got burned out on whatever their last game was and think SNGs are fun. Others like the fact that the variance is lower in SNGs than other forms of poker. It’s all good.
Definitions of common terms
Link to the official 2+2 abbreviation list.
See also the list of abbreviations
$EV: Dollar Expected Value – the expected profit or loss in dollars associated with a decision.
Aggressive: Adjective used to describe a player who plays in the opposite manner to the weak player. This player bets and raises often, while calling and checking infrequently. The exception would be checkraising.
B&M: Brick and Mortar: describes games played anywhere but online, usually in a casino.
BB: Big Blind
Brick: A card that seems like it should help no one.
Bubble: The point in any tournament when players begin to play extra tight in order to attempt to assure themselves a finish in the money. Usually, this occurs when there is one player more than there are paid finishing positions
Button: The player who acts last on every round of betting except preflop. The blinds are seated to the left of this player.
C&R: Ciaffone and Reuben
cEV: Chip Expected Value – the expected profit or loss in chips associated with a decision.
CO: Cutoff – The player to the right of the button
Coordinated Board: A board that is likely to have hit someone hard if they hit it or given someone a strong draw.
CR: Check Raise – When a player checks the first time it their turn to act on a given round of betting, and then raises after another player bets acting after them.
EV: Expected Value – the expected profit or loss associated with a decision.
Folding Equity: (Percentage of times all remaining opponents will fold to your bet)x(total chips you stand to gain when they do all fold)
The Gap: The varying amount by which a hand needs to be better to call a bet than would be needed to make the same bet.
The Gap Concept: The concept that it takes a better hand to call a bet than to make the same bet.
HE: Hold ‘em
HOH: Harrington on Hold ’em
Hourly Rate: The amount of money a player earns in an hour of play. (Total Prizes Won – Total Buyins)/(Hours Played)
HU: Heads Up – playing poker 1 on 1.
ICM: Independent Chip Model – a mathematical model used to help determine prize share equity based on chip stacks.
ITM: In the Money percentage – the percentage of games played that a player finishes in the money. (# money finshes)/(total games)
LAG: Loose Aggressive
Loose: Adjective used to describe a style of play where many hands are played.
MHIG: My Hand is Good – At showdown, you won.
MTT: Multi-table tournament – a tournament with many tables.
NL: No Limit – a form of poker where at any point in the hand, a player can wager any amount of their chips, greater than the blind, unless a smaller bet would put the player all in.
OESD: Open-ended Straight Draw: a draw to a straight with 8 outs, assuming no dead cards.
OOP: Out of Position – being in a position where you will be likely to be amongst the first to act for the entire hand.
OP: Original Post(er) – refers to the top post in a thread.
Overlay: When a pot or prize pool offers greater payouts, and consequently odds, than those that would be created by just the active players in the hand or game. Examples of things that create overlays are dead money or guaranteed prize funds.
PF: Preflop – All action between the deal of hole cards and the deal of the flop.
PFR: Preflop Raiser, or Preflop Raise percentage – Either describes the player who took the lead of action by raising preflop, or the percentage of the time that a given player raises preflop.
PL: Pot Limit – a form of poker where at any point in the hand, a player can wager any amount up to the amount that is in the pot after their call of any bet to them.
PLO8: Pot Limit Omaha 8 or Better
Pot Odds: come in two varieties, implied or immediate, and are used to evaluate the mathematical “price” a player is receiving to play their hand. Immediate odds take into account only the chips that are in the pot at the moment, while implied odds take into account the future chips that may or may not go into the pot.
PP: Party Poker
PP: Pocket Pair – In Hold ‘em, when a player is dealt a pair as their two hole cards.
Push: To bet all of your chips, or as much of them as anyone who can call you can call.
PVS: Forum jargon named after poster “Phil Van Sexton”: a play in which a player attempts to steal the dead chips in a pot caused by limping or a raise and a few callers all believed to be weak. Usually this is done when the dead chips in the pot are a significant percentage of the player’s stack, and is only really a PVS when done with junk cards.
Rainbow: When no two cards on the board are the same suit.
Raise the Pot: a call of any bet to a player plus a raise of the total amount in the pot already. Example: if there are $2 in the pot, and an opponent bets $2, a player raising the pot would have to put in $8 – the call of $2, plus the amount that would then be in the pot, $2 from before, $2 from the opponent, and $2 from the player.
ROI: Return on Investment – the average return a player earns on an investment of $1. (Total Prizes Won-Total Buyins paid)/(Total Buyins) Note: Total buyins includes the rake paid to the card room.
SB: Small Blind
SNG: Sit-and-Go – the type of game discussed in this forum. Generally a tournament with one table, but more generally, any tournament where players simply take seats, and begin when all seats are filled, instead of being assigned seats.
Stop and Go: Instead of going all in from the blinds against a preflop raiser who would be pot committed to calling a reraise, calling the raise, and going all in on any flop.
STT: Single Table Tournament – any tournament where all the players start the game at one table.
t/T(any number): denotes tournament chips.
TAG: Tight Aggressive
Texture: Describes the characteristics of the board. For instance, the texture of a board could be three to a straight, or to a flush, rainbow, scattered, or the often used “scary,” “dangerous,” “non-dangerous.”
Tight: Adjective used to describe a style of play where very few hands are played.
TOP: Theory of Poker
TPFAP: Tournament Poker for Advanced Players
TPxK: Top pair x Kicker. If x is “T” it means “top.” If x is a number, such as 2, it means “Top pair, 2nd Kicker,” etc.
UB: Ultimate Bet
UTG: Under the Gun – The player who acts first in a hand. This player is seated immediately to the left of the big blind.
VPIP/VP$IP: Voluntarily put (money) in pot – percentage of the time a player puts money into the pot that is not forced by the blinds.
Weak: Adjective used to describe a style of play where a player plays too passively. Typically this player will check, call, and fold too much, while betting and raising too little.
This content was taken from Citanul's FAQ.
- Poker odds calculator - Master the game
- One Table Tournaments forum - from Two Plus Two -- see especially favorite threads
- SNG Digest - a wiki "mirror" of a digest of other notable threads on the 2+2 1TT forum.
- Thoughts on Sit N' Gos - RGP thread
- Sit N Go Strategy
- Database of sit-n-go blind structures, run times, etc