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New Challenge: SNGs and FPPs

Having just completed the PokerStars SNG Challenge, I thought it'd be high time to start another challenge. I think it's best to keep a few going at a time: a fixed-limit challenge, a no-limit challenge, and a SNG challenge.

I find that these challenges help elevate my overall game while keeping my bankroll growing at a steady rate - that is, except for the $1/$2 fixed-limit games which are my own personal kryptonite.

This new challenge is nothing all that exciting. Basically, I can't withdraw any money from PokerStars until I've finished clearing my current bonus. The $40 bonus will be cleared once I've earned 200 FPPs (FPP = Frequent Player Points, I think). At 5 FPPs for every dollar paid in tournament fees, this one shouldn't take too long.

I'll start at the $20 SNGs since that's where I left off from my previous challenge. I'll move up to the next buy-in limit if I win a SNG and move down a buy-in limit if I fail to place in the money. I earn 10 FPPs per $20 SNG that I play, so the longer I can stay up around that limit, the better.

As it stands, I'm starting this challenge having already reached the 10% completion mark. Let's hope that my bankroll's looking good once I've played another 20 - 30 SNGs.


And now, a quick update on my play last night.

I played $20 NL at River Belle last night and managed to scrape together a win.

At first, things did not look good. I was card dead for a good portion of my first hour at the tables. And then a pivotal hand: I picked up AQo in early position.

I'll admit that it was a little impulsive of me to limp with that hand UTG (I'm a nut peddler so I take no chances with sh*tty hands pre-flop...usually). All fold to the button, a through and through maniac (VP$IP = 40%, PFR = 30%, Aggression = 3.0), who raises it to $1. Knowing that I've probably got the best of it, I call.

Flop comes Q high and I bet $1.75 into the $2.30 pot. Maniac makes it $3 more to go and I call. When the turn comes with another blank, I check to the maniac and let him bet $4 into the pot. After I re-raise to $10 and the maniac pushes, we're all in.

Now...I'm aware that I've said time and time again that going broke with TPTK is a bad move. I'm also aware that I consistently ignore this piece of advice time and time again.

However, I had two things going for me:

  1. The pot was heads-up.
  2. The player was a maniac who played any two cards and played them hard to the river all the time.

When the maniac showed me his rockets, I could only watch helplessly as my buy-in slid across the table into his evil little pocket.

I quickly left the table, hoping against hope to stave off the "tilt" that I felt building. Of all the times for the maniac to pick up a hand, why then? Running into a cold deck is one of the worst feelings ever; I just had to remind myself that I did nothing wrong in the hand.

I finally managed to re-grab a seat at the maniac's table 10 minutes later. My first attempt to sit put me to the maniac's immediate right - screw that! I'm not letting some prick push me off hands after I've dumped some money into the pot. After another little wait, I finally got a seat that put me in good position with both the maniac and a TAG to my right.

While I was playing musical chairs at the maniac's table, I managed to take down a big pot at my other table. I played a suited ace from early position, hoping to catch a flush draw or some other monster hand. The table was extremely passive pre-flop and I knew that I'd probably get a cheap flop.

The flop gave me the nut flush draw and I came out betting. I did this for two reasons (another list?!):
  1. I didn't want to have to fold to a small bet from the other players in the pot - by betting, I gave myself odds to continue with the hand.
  2. My bet would disguise my hand if I did hit the flush and really improved the implied odds I was getting if I needed to call a bet on the turn.

Unfortunately, the fishy player in the SB check-raised my bet. We went to the turn heads up.

When the next card off the deck was the 3 of diamonds, I was golden! I checked and the SB bet $5 bet into the pot. I decided to put him to the test and re-raised another $10. This player never bet or raised, so I was sure he had a good hand - most likely a set or two pair. As expected, the SB called leaving himself with a measly stack of $2.50.

Unfornately, the river paired the board and I was worried. My opponent checked. The correct move here was to put my opponent all-in since he was pot-committed and would call with any reasonable hand. Unfortunately, due to my previous run-in with the maniac's AA, I was tilting on the side of caution and checked the river as well for the showdown.

My opponent showed trip jacks - he'd been playing his second pair like the nuts and had walked into a hand on the river. Strange that he'd bet so big with nothing but checked his hand when he finally hit something. Maybe he was going for the check raise...?

At that point, I was sitting at just north of even for the night. One buy-in lost to maniac and one gained from fishy. And then, I got my revenge on the maniac...

I picked up 44 UTG and limped. As was usually the case, the maniac raised to $1 from the CO. I think one of the blinds called and I called given good implied odds - the maniac had around $20 left and I knew he'd play for his whole stack even if I hit the flop hard.

Three of us saw the flop come down 4 3 3. Bingo! SB checked and I checked my monster as well. I don't like checking to the pre-flop raiser but this hand is far too strong to play hard.

The maniac bet $1 into the $3 pot and I smooth called. The turn was a blank and I came out with a good sized bet. At that point, I was trying to replicate the line I took earlier when the maniac busted me.

However, rather than go for the check-raise, I decided to jump straight to the part where I check-raised his bet. If I was right, the maniac would consciously or sub-consciously recognize the pattern and push.

Right on cue, the maniac pushed his entire $18 stack into the $6 pot. I made the call and he showed a 32o for flopped trips and no kicker. The case 3 did not hit on the river and I'd won back my buy-in from one of the crazier maniac's I've ever played against.

I stopped playing shortly thereafter and moved over to Absolute to play another $6 + $1 SNG. I managed to take 3rd place by playing tight and making moves at the right times.

I was pretty card dead for most of the SNG. I picked up cowboys once when the blinds were uber-high, although I got no action when I min-raised UTG with them. The SNG ended rather abruptly with the blinds at 300/600. I pushed on the button with my KTs (M=2 at that point), the SB pushed all in as well (ouch!), and the massive chip leader in the BB called both of us (double ouch!).

The SB showed a KJs and the BB showed JJ. Although I hit my ten on the flop, the chip leader managed to take us both down with his jacks.

Still - I can't complain. During the month of March, my SNG numbers have been surreal:

  • SNGs Played: 11

  • SNGs Won: 2

  • Total earnings: $109.70

  • ITM %: 73%

  • ROI %: 119%

I feel like I've really been braggin over the past two posts, but that's not my intention. I report the good results and the bad results. Although I know it's more interesting to read about the ultimate "fall from grace", the occasional "feel good" story isn't too bad.

That's all for today, time to work. I'll be at the tables again this evening trying to keep on, working at my game one dollar at a time.


Geez, that post seemed more like a real post than my usual thinly veiled attempts to push my affiliates. Let's just say that this post has been brought to you by the fine folks at PokerStars, InterPoker, River Belle Poker, and...I don't know...Eurobet!


Anonymous said...

Klopzi, you call him a maniac, but he got all his chips in with best hand the first time, and with a very strong hand the second the second time. Are you sure he isn't just a LAG or anything? In your revenge-hand against him, how much would you have lost if you were holding 77-TT?

I wouldn't call him a maniac until you see him (i) raising pre-flop too big and often, and (ii) pushing his stack in more often than is possible for him having the best hand.

Klopzi said...

I use the term "maniac" synonymously with "LAG" - anyone willing to play a bunch of cards aggressively is a maniac in my books.

In my revenge hand, I would have lost my entire stack in this case because I wouldn't have put him on a 32o.

As for your criteria, he raised to 5xBB on 75% of all the hands he played and raised everytime in late position.

He pushed almost every time anyone tried to push back.

So that's why I call him a maniac.

drewspop said...

Sounds like another successful night. The SNGs are treating you very well lately.

If you are on Stars tonight, we may cross paths. I'll rail you in the $20 SNG, let me know when you get on.

Klopzi said...

Sounds good drew - although I warn you: my SNG style is pretty boring. Lots of folding, then some limping, then some more folding, then two or three all-ins and heavy praying.

I'll probably play the SNG around 10-ish - I'll look you up when I'm on.

By the way, does PokerStars have a player search?