Hello all, welcome to my online poker blog.

I've been playing on and off for a decade after being introduced by a friend.

I played regularly for a few years during the poker boom and had a decent record at the micros, particularly Rush and Zoom No Limit Hold'em games (here's one of my graphs).

Around 2012 I began a new career which involved immersing myself completely in study in my spare time, so I had little to no time for poker. However recently this burden has eased and so I have been gradually dipping back in.

I'm an amateur player who still hopes to some day beat the rake.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Man, I SUCK at SNGs! (But I'm working hard at getting better)

Just this session tonight, I made 4 or 5 calls near the bubble that I thought were close, but they weren't even remotely close.
The problem is that as I'm getting short I don't want to be left too short stacked. So when I see a hand like ATo or A7s and I'm 5 or 6bb deep I'm talking myself into calling and based on the models I've created in SNGWiz, I should be folding these hands.
So while I continue to play these games I'm going to work hard on my calling ranges primarily. This is all I'm going to work on for the next few weeks.
I honestly don't think that I'll end up beating these in the long run if I continue to make this many mistakes. I need my calling ICM knowledge to be my strongest suit currently in my opinion because shoving mistakes aren't usually nearly as large.
So, lots of work but it's good to know that I have so much to learn, it makes the game more interesting when I review sessions at the end.
Perhaps I'll put up some of my more 'interesting' hands when I've got a moment at the weekend. GL

OK so I've got a couple of hours before a job interview so I thought I'd post two hands that I obliterated along with some of the associated maths and then a generic calling range chart that I'm going to attempt to stick to for the next couple of hundred games or more. For the purposes of my little analysis my screen name has been adjusted to Fishy_Blogger. If such a player does exist then apologies for adopting your excellent choice.
Hand #1
NL Holdem $200(BB) Replayer Game#79069680644

hamelin_s ($1,377)
xzy111211 ($2,140)
matjouz ($4,040)
Fishy_Blogger ($3,829)
Doublehappys ($2,114)

xzy111211 antes $25
matjouz antes $25
Fishy_Blogger antes $25
Doublehappys antes $25
hamelin_s antes $25
hamelin_s posts (SB) $100
xzy111211 posts (BB) $200

Dealt to Fishy_Blogger Ac Qc
matjouz raises to $600
Fishy_Blogger raises to $3,804 (AI)
fold, fold, fold,
matjouz calls $3,204
FLOP ($8,033) 8d 5c Js
TURN ($8,033) 8d 5c Js Kd
RIVER ($8,033) 8d 5c Js Kd 8h
matjouz shows Ah Ad
(Pre 88%, Flop 92.1%, Turn 90.9%)

Fishy_Blogger shows Ac Qc
(Pre 12%, Flop 7.9%, Turn 9.1%)

matjouz wins $8,033
OK, so at the time I figured that AQs (being such a pwetty hand) would be a call. The problem is my current equity is about 26% of the prize pool, which is great equity when 5-handed. Moreover, the initial raiser has me covered so this is basically a shove for my tourney life because I wouldn't expect him to fold nearly enough for a shove here to work as a bluff. My bubble factor is something around 2, which means I have to be quite risk averse.
If I was playing a cash game, my chip odds would require my equity to be better than 47% against the initial range and I could call with AQs facing a range of approximately 9%. In this instance I think I'd be correct to call with AQs. But if I factor in the ICM tax, which ICM Explorer estimates to be about 19% equity then I now need my hand to have 66% equity against the initial raiser's range which happens when I face around 75% of hands! If I give my opponent a pretty conservative range of 15% for an UTG raise when 5-handed then I'd be correct to shove with {QQ+} alone. That's it!
SNGWiz estimates that this push cost me 4% of the prize pool, a huge mistake.

OK, for whatever reason I can't seem to find the other hand that I wanted to show, but it follows similar principles to this one. I had a pretty hand, but not nearly enough equity against the shovers range to make the call.

As it happens, providing the shover has a tournament 'M' (ratio of stack to preflop pot including antes) of between 3 and 7 the chip odds fall between 43 and 47%. Also, as a medium stack or larger stack facing a stack that has us covered usually gives an ICM tax somewhere between 15 and 25%. So very often in these situations we will be needing about 65% equity to call with a given hand versus an opponents range.

Putting a bunch of ranges into HoldemViewer with the Settings>Equity minimum set to 65% gives us the following generic calling ranges when facing a shove from a medium or large stack who has you covered (and of course we're a medium to large stack ourself). The first % is the first raiser/shover's range.

10%-- { QQ+ }
15%-- { QQ+ }
20%-- { JJ+ }
30%-- { JJ+,AKs }
50%-- { TT+,AQs+,AKo }
ATC-- { 77+,AJs+,AKo }

Notice how nitty these ranges are for calling shoves with a medium stack (and also how few opponents adhere to these ranges).

I'd imagine if I stuck to these ranges on the bubble that there would be times when I'd pass up small +EV calls occasionally. But the alternative is to make horrendous calls with AQs when it's a clear fold!

Eventually, I intend to memorise ranges with 55% and 60% equity too for those situations where the risk is a little less severe. The calling ranges are a fair bit broader for those situations.

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