A Comedy of Errors
occasional double up, but most of the time you will not! Most of the time, say 3 out of
every 4 SNGs played, the people using this logic will find themselves with small stacks
in the later stages… as you will see later in this guide, this is not just a problem – it is a
disaster!!! The mid to late stages rely on an important concept – Fold Equity, if someone
gives this up in an attempt to double early they will end up losing money!
The effective counter strategy is ‘tight is right, tighter is righter’ here. Play only premium
hands in the early levels, either fold 1010 under the gun or raise enough to cut down the
field to a single opponent, fold AJs in middle position; fold AK if there is a raise and a re-
raise ahead. If you want to enter a pot then it should mostly be with a raise… if your hand
is not good enough to raise it is not good enough to play. Let the fish knock themselves
out with A7 and KJ suited – be patient enough to maintain your stack for the middle
stages – you will end up cashing more and more often.
There are some exceptions, situations where it can be correct to play a below-average
hand in the early stages. It is important here that you have the discipline to fold after the
flop when you miss – bluffing is never a good strategy early in a low-level SNG!
The kind of hands I refer to are medium to low pairs and high suited connectors (910s+)
in position (very important that you are last or almost last to act as it minimizes the risk
of being raised out of the hand pre-flop and also gives you an opportunity to see your
opponents act before you make a decision after the flop). Small pairs are great on the
button when there are limpers ahead – go ahead and limp behind, if you hit a set then
bingo! Time for a double up… if not then the hand is easy to ditch on the flop. Be more
careful with the suited connectors – top pair is not good enough to play a big pot. If you
hit the flop hard (2 pair or a combo straight and flush draw) by all means bet, if not then
keep that pot small…
o Cold Calling Raises in Multi-Way Pots.
This is a horrible play that you will see often in SNGs. Someone raises 3 or 4 times the
Big Blind and – boom – 4 people call. The question to ask here is ‘with what hands
would it be correct to cold-call a raise in a multi-way pot?’
- Small / medium pairs might fit the bill, but then again if the raise is more than 20% of
your (or biggest stacked opponents) stack then this is a negative expectation play –
remember you not only need to make the set but to get all of someone’s chips too…
not going to happen every time, in fact the rule of thumb to use here is make sure you
have 12 to 1 odds from at least one opponent (do not count with 2 opponents stacks
together as it is very rare to stack 2 people at once!).
- What about the Ace hands… AK / AQ / AJ / A10 or even lower. Well you will hit the
flop 1 in 3 times with one card (assuming no-one is sharing your outs) but how do
you know if your hand is good? There could be a higher ace out there, 2 pairs, trips or
a number of draws… its going to cost you money to find out.
- Maybe suited connectors or high cards, again dangerous – you simply can not expect
to make a profit on such a call enough times to make it worthwhile – say you flop a
flush – even the greenest novice is going to stop putting money into the pot with 3
suited cards on the board!