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Darkwolves learns Sit and Go

/Jan/2011

Cracking micro stakes Double or Nothing

By: darkwolves @ 23:46 (EST) / 3033 / Comment ( 4 )
I have recently been doing very well in the $1.15 double or nothing tournaments, so I decided that I should share my experiences and tips for doing well in this format.

Double or Nothing $1.00 + $0.15  is a SNG that takes 10 players and pays $2 to the top 5.  What does this mean?  The flat payout structure changes the dynamic; the goal is not to accumulate a lot of chips, but rather to survive up to 5th place.  Conveniently, this "survival" format is very similar to the PSO Skill Games where the object is to survive long enough to get the points.

My Experience
I have had a lot of success with these games, more so than I anticipated at the start.  After 90 games: I have won 71.11% with an ROI of 23.67%.  That is a profit of $24.50.  Obviously, only 90 games is not a huge sample size, but my play has been consistant and my win rate has stayed between 70-75% for the past 60+ games.

It can be really hard to win money in the double or nothing format.  Dispite the fact that you only have to outlast half the field, I have never played a game where I did not have to work hard to win.  Even at micro stakes, many players play a strong tight aggressive game.  Plus, in order to show a profit, you must win at least 57.5% of the time.  More generically, win 3/5 games and pick up a quarter.

If you want to be successful here, you need to play reliable, solid poker.  At these stakes, a good tight aggressive strategy will do very well.  Expect games to last around 50 - 70 min.  Occasionally a really loose game will finish faster, but the running time is reliably in this range.  So you need to be prepared to survive the blinds; blind stealing is a necessary skill here.

General Tips
Dont forget that this is a micro game, so there will be a couple of weak / donkey players.  Play very tight the first 3 blind levels.  The blinds are too small to chase with mediocre hands.  Let the loose players go after each other and stay out of it.

Take notes.  Seriously.  Mark who is playing loose and what kinds of hands they play with.  Mark any questionable plays.  This information will be very useful for determining when to steal blinds, when to get out of the way, and when to call all in with a short stack.

Do not bluff.  Its almost never worth it early in the game.  Some people will be playing too loose and will not respect your bets (its a micro stake after all).  Cbet with caution, and know where your committment threshold is (know when its time to go all in or check down / fold).

If you manage to get the chip lead, remember that you do not need to keep accumulating chips, you just have to survive.  You are not obligated to call others all in, your only job is to make the money.  But, that being said, don't be afraid to put some pressure on the blinds with any decent hand.  Ax, any pocket pair, decent suited connectors, etc.

Surviving the short stack
The most often case is around level 4-5 you will start to find yourself running low on chips.  Under 12 BB is push preflop territory.  Luckly you will have great fold equity by this point, as most players play very tight as the bubble approaches.  Limping is almost never the right move here.  If under 10 BB, I push pocket pairs unopened.  If there are limpers in front of me, I have to decide if I want to limp / set mine or just fold.

This is where taking notes comes in handy (also having HUD stats).  Know what players have very low VPIP (very tight players) and challenge their blinds.  If you have a decent starting hand and someone opens a raise in front of you, most often I will lay it down.  But look at your stats.  What does the player raise with, what is his range.  If you really believe you are ahead, call an all in or 3bet all in.

Blind Steal.  If you don't already know, a blind steal is an unopened raise from the cut off, the button, or small blind.  Blind steals are very effective with tight players on the blinds.  You do not always have to have premium hands either.  You want a hand that has some value after the flop of course, but you are counting on high fold equity here.

If you are 3bet while blind stealing, just fold (unless you have a mosnter).  Its not worth considering if the 3bet might be a resteal bluff; at these stakes, a 3bet means strength, so unless you are ready to put all your chips in, get out of the way.

You should try to take down at least one pot per orbit.  If not you will start blinding away.  But then, sometimes the cards just don't fall and you never get any decent cards to play with.  If you get below 8BB you need to loosen up your range.  If you fall below 5BB you should be pushing any 2 face cards, any pocket pair, and any king.  If you are 3BB or lower, you should go all in with any 2 cards in your BB.  When your stack falls too low, you loose fold equity.  Don't let that happen.  Winning here requires you to be able to steal blinds.

Additional Info
On very tight tables, you will be able to steal more blinds with worse hands.  On very loose tables you will need to tighten up your betting range and only play pots you expect to get called on.  This is standard for most poker.  One advantage you have on a loose table, is that these games usually end faster with the other players knocking each other out.  This is fine, you can just sit there and make the money.

I started out playing only one table at a time, until I got a feel for the game. Then I went to two and now 3 or 4.  I will not be multi tabling more than that any time soon however.  I like being able to watch all of the tables and take notes on the players.  Being aware of the table dynamic is very important to winning the game, and you loose those observations if you are trying to multi table too many at a time.

Know your regulars.  If you play the same games long enough, you will recognize who you have played with before.  This is another time where notes are very important.  Some regulars are very good, and if the table has several very good regular players sitting at it, don't play there; wait for a better table.  However, some regulars win a lot, but play very very tight.  I like to play with these players because it is much easier to steal there blinds.

If you start loosing, stop playing.  Downswings happen to everyone, but when you need to keep a very high win ratio to show a steady profit, you do not want to start loosing a bunch of games in a row.  If the cards are not falling for you, stop and come back another day.

I hope this provides something for you to get started.  I find these games rather exciting, especially on the bubble, and they have defintely taught me quite a bit about playing tight games.  If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment.


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