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Keep reading "Sponsored by: Online Casino Bluebook"

Back to Work!

Well, play time is over! After spending the past four days playing some non-turbos at Absolute Poker, along with a some heads-up and multi-table SNGs, I'm heading back to PokerStars' $16 Turbo sit-and-gos.

It took me four days to lose the $10 given to me by Absolute Poker. After winning a $7 sit-and-go, I managed to accrue a number of losses and eventually dumped all of my free money back into the poker economy. All in all, I played well but couldn't overcome a few bouts of bad luck nor could I manage to win a heads-up match to save my life. When it comes to heads-up play, if the blinds aren't big enough to make each hand a gamble for my tournament life, I seem to fail miserably.

As it stands now, my plans for the weekend include (i.e. excluding the strong possibility of my wife going into labour):


  • Playing the $16 and $27 Turbos at Stars. I've got the bankroll to play the $27s so I might as well try them out. I'm allocating $200 of my bankroll towards playing these higher staked games; hopefully, things will go better this time around than they did when I first tried Full Tilt's Turbo $22s. If things go well, I'll phase out the $16s entirely and stick with the higher buy-in sit-and-gos.

  • Playing in RakeTheRake's $10,000 freeroll taking place at Absolute Poker this coming Sunday. Traditionally, I've done well in RakeTheRake's freerolls and I hope this trend continues.

  • Buying my very own copy of SNG Wizard. Now that I'm beginning to understand how ICM works, I could really use this application to analyze my sit-and-go play. I know that I'm making quite a number of donkey moves that are costing me money, not to mention the fact that I'm undoubtedly missing a number of +cEV situations as well.

September has been a pretty good month for me so far and I hope to finish things off with a bang. I expect to be playing far less poker in October with the arrival of the baby. I may even have to hold off on playing sit-and-gos until such time that I'm sure to have an hour of uninterrupted free time. Whether this means more cash games (NL, PLO, or maybe even some LHE which I'll admit to missing somewhat) or more Xbox 360 remains to be seen.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Keep reading "Back to Work!"

Cool Nerd


NerdTests.com says I'm a Cool Nerd.  What are you?  Click here!
For some reason, I get a kick out of doing these online quiz thingies that pop up from time to time. You can thank Kajagugu for this.

Keep reading "Cool Nerd"

No More Cold, No More Hot Streak...

Guess what? My cold's pretty well gone! Unfortunately, this disease's influence is both far reaching and rather sinister...

Before writing any further, I need to apologize if this post comes across as disjointed or garbled. The wonderful head cold that invaded my body early Monday seems to have left me in favour of another host; the ill-fated receptacle of this fiendish disease being non other than my eleven month-old son.

There's no worse feeling than watching a baby struggle with a dripping nose and raspy chest. My son's cold got so bad last night that he wouldn't sleep. And so I found myself sitting in my son's room until four-thirty this morning, trying to comfort him enough so that he could finally fall asleep. I ended up winning the fight and my son finally passed out (almost literally) and was still sleeping soundly when I awoke at seven o'clock to shower, shave, and take care of all other morning business.

In poker news, the departure of my cold has signalled the end of my sit-and-go hot streak. I can't complain: I had a great run. Sixteen finishes in the money over the course of twenty sit-and-gos played and an ROI of well over 100%! Not too shabby for a self-proclaimed tournament donkey.

I should note, however, that my winning streak at PokerStars has not come to an end. While I've been feeling under the weather, I decided to stick to playing some non-turbo SNGs at Absolute Poker. They gave me some free money so I thought I'd play some SNGs on their dollar. I started off by playing a $7 SNG and took that down pretty easily. The players were terrible and I got lucky a couple times as well. By the time we were three-handed with blinds of t100/t200, I had a stack of about t11500 while my two opponents shared the remaining t3500. All in all, it was a pretty sweet sit-and-go for me and really helped me see just how far my sit-and-go game has come in just a few weeks.

Last night, I played a couple $11 SNGs at Absolute and was not so lucky. In the first, I went out when I pushed on the button with QJs after failing to notice that the chip leader had already limped UTG. Although I hoped that I'd get away with my awful mistake, the chip leader eventually called and showed me his A9. He flopped two pair and I was out in fifth.

The next SNG saw me pushing UTG with A♥ T♥. There were still 9 players left but the table was super tight and I had 8 BBs (t1650) left in my stack: more than enough to seriously cripple anyone who dared call me. Unfortunately, both the uber-tight CO (t800) and the slighty-less-tight chip leader (t3000) in the SB called my all-in. When the CO showed his Hilton Sisters (QQ) and the chip leader turned over his Big Slick (AK), my goose was cooked; I finished in 7th after the chip leader flopped a King.

I then decided to tilt away a bit more money by playing a few heads-up SNGs: I went one for three. In my defense, I did lose both SNGs after getting my money in with the best of it:


  • In my first loss, I got all the money in pre-flop with my QQ against the other guy's AQ. I hate getting all-in against AQ because I can't seem to beat that hand. Things were no different this time around as the flop came down A A 8 and I was drawing dead. My opponent had me outchipped by about t200 so that was all she wrote for me.
  • In my second loss, my opponent and I had similar stack sizes yet again: my t1250 vs. his t1750. I got all the money in with KK versus my opponent's AQ. The flop gave my opponent a queen and I was left to wonder when the second queen or ace would hit: on the turn or on the river? My sit-and-go ended when the turn card gave my opponent his two pair, Aces and Queens, and the river card failed to bring the King that I so desperately needed.

Although I'm no longer sick, I've had just north of two and a half hours sleep. Tonight will most likekly be spent walking about like a zombie until my son goes to sleep, at which point I may follow suit and collapse into bed. Be that as it may, there is $12 sitting in my Absolute account so I may play one sleepy sit-and-go before calling it a night.

Tomorrow night, I'll be back at PokerStars trying to clear my WCOOP2007 reload bonus at the $16 Turbo tables. If all goes well, I may even jump up to the medium stakes tables having recently increased my bankroll thanks to some help from Doubleuwhy.

Ok, time to head off for work before I fall asleep...

Keep reading "No More Cold, No More Hot Streak..."

Gesundheit!

Don't you hate it when you feel a cold coming on? You hope that it's simply allergies or perhaps a little extra something being pumped into the air at work. Then you get home, start sneezing, and before you know it, the snot factory's open for business. Unfortunately for me, business is quite good at the moment.

Sick or not, I wanted to play at least one sit-and-go last night to try out a new mouse I won off eBay. If you're interested, I picked up the Fellowes USB Micro Track Ball: it's a hand-held mouse that I'm hoping will help alleviate the constant tingling and numbness in my "mouse" hand.

I put my new mouse through the paces by playing a single $6 Turbo SNG at PokerStars. I wasn't that pleased with the mouse, though I'll admit that I might sing a different tune after having had a little more practice with it.

I was, however, pleased that I managed to take first in the sit-and-go, despite the aching body, lightheadedness, dripping nose, and sore throat.

Tonight, I've got a bit to do after work but I plan on relaxing as soon as possible. I'm hoping to play a few $16 Turbos at Stars, though I may play fewer SNGs and/or at a lower buy-in depending on how I'm feeling. Right now, things aren't looking all that great for me and my failing health.

Keep reading "Gesundheit!"

The Coin Toss

How long will it take for me finally accept the variance inherent in the game of poker? When things are going well, I feel like I'm playing well and deserve my success. When things are going poorly, I can't help but blame the bad play of my opponents. Instead, I should just accept poker for what it is: a coin toss.

Maybe a coin toss is a little harsh considering my results and past performance. However, I'd rarely give myself better than a 53% chance of coming out ahead on any given evening of poker. That's enough to keep me going: even a 3% edge is enough to guarantee me a little bit of money down the road if I stick with it.

Lately, I've been flipping that poker coin and coming out a winner more often than not. I made a post last week detailing some of the horrible luck I'd experienced amidst a losing streak of thirteen straight sit-and-gos. SharkScope declared me a Fish with an awful ROI printly boldly in red and an embarrassingly bad average profit per sit-and-go.

Well, I'm happy to say that Lady Luck has definitely smiled upon me since last Tuesday. I've managed to dodge bullets, make the right moves at the right time, and the wrong moves at the right time as well. In my last fourteen sit-and-gos, I've managed to make the money on twelve separate occasions: four 1st place finishes, five 2nd place finishes, and three 3rd place finishes. By my count, this means that the coin's come up heads in forty-eight of the last fifty trials: now that's lucky indeed.

The other two non-money finishes both happened to be bubble finishes:


  • In one finish, I made the right move at the wrong time by pushing with QQ pre-flop and getting called by the button's AT. I flopped the set, he rivered the straight, my wife called him an asshole, and I moved on to my next sit-and-go.
  • The second bubble finish saw me making the wrong move at the wrong time. I pushed with 7♠5♠ from the small blind into the squeaky tight big blind: he insta-called with A♠ K♠ and that was that. In this case, my wife called me an asshole for being a push-hungry monkey.

I'm hoping to continue my hot streak for the foreseeable future. There are, however, a few likely scenarios that may slow me down at this point:

  1. The virus slowly spreading throughout my body, infecting anything and everything in its path, may force me to stay away from the tables or, in a more likely scenario, play poker at reduced capacity (a.k.a. donkey time).
  2. My wife going into labour: when it's baby time, poker time goes bye-bye.
  3. Lady Luck deciding that I've won my fair share of coin toss situations and passing my good fortune to the next unlucky soul.

In any case, I've thoroughly enjoyed running hot and will continue to enjoy my time on the happy side of variance until one or more of the scenarios above come to light. Until then, I'll just keep tossin' that coin...

Keep reading "The Coin Toss"

Helping Hand?

I'm looking for someone to give me hand with a money transfer. I am currently looking to trade some PayPal dollars for some PokerStars dollars. Although I could transfer the money from PayPal to a Canadian Bank Account to PokerStars, I would get killed by the exchange rate fees.

Of course, with the USD and CAD trading at par, I'd rather not pay any fees...which is where my loyal readers and trusted poker bloggers come into the picture.

So if you have a PayPal account, some money on Stars, and are in desperate need of some good karma, please e-mail me at klopzi@gmail.com.

Keep reading "Helping Hand?"

SAGE: The Sit and Go Endgame System

How many times have you found yourself heads-up in a sit-n-go? First place pays you 50% of the prize pool while second place leaves you with only 30%. In order to be a winning SNG player, you must make sure that you're winning more than your fair share of heads-up contests. But surely this is not something that can be taught, right? Experience is the best teacher and until you've managed to play a number of heads-up contests, you can't possibly be expected to take home the lion's share of a SNG's prize pool. Right?

Wrong! Experience is a great teacher but won't necessarily translate into a greater return-on-investment on your SNG play. If you want to make more money than the next guy (or gal), you should instead look to the Sit And Go Endgame (SAGE) system.

SAGE is a heads-up strategy developed by Lee Jones (author of Winning Low Limit Hold'em) and James Kittock (a math professor and all-round brainiac). What can SAGE do for you? In a nutshell, SAGE is a solid and unexploitable heads-up strategy that can help you overcome weak and strong players alike in a heads-up, no-limit hold'em situation. What does this mean for you, the lowly sit-n-go player? More money!

In order to use SAGE properly, the following conditions must exist:


  1. You are in a heads-up, no-limit hold'em situation.
  2. The ratio of the smallest stack size at the table divided by the current big blind is less than ten (10).


For example, if you find yourself heads-up with a stack size of t3000 against your opponent's stack size of t10500 with blinds of t300/t600, welcome to SAGE country! Why? You're current ratio is:
YOUR STACK / BIG BLIND = t3000 / t600 = 5


Ok, so it's time to use SAGE. How does it work?

SAGE works in two steps:

  1. You assign a power index (a calculated numeric value) to your current two-card hold'em hand.
  2. You compare this numeric value against the SAGE JAM/CALL TABLE (detailed below).


Determing your hand's power index is simple:

  1. Assign each of your cards a power number based on the card's rank. For face cards, assign the following power numbers: J = 11, Q = 12, K = 13, and A = 15.
  2. Determine the power index of your hand by doubling the power number of the higher ranked card in your hand and adding the power number of the lower ranked card.
  3. If you're holding a pocket pair, add 22 to the current power index.
  4. If your cards are suited (or s00ted), add 2 to the current power index.


Determining your hand's power index is crucial to using SAGE correctly, so let's go through a few examples.

Example #1: K♣ T♣
First, we assign the power numbers to the cards: K♣ is worth 13 points; T♣ is worth 10 points.
The power index is equal to twice the value of the higher ranked card (2 x K♣ = 2 x 13 = 26) plus the power number assigned to the other card (T♣ = 10 points): so, your power index = 26 + 10 = 36. And since your hand is suited, we add 2 points to the current power index: 36 + 2 = 38.


Example #2: J♥ T♦
Assign the power numbers: J♥ = 11, T♦ = 10. Double the higher ranked card's power number and add both cards power numbers together: power index = 2 x 11 + 10 = 32. Since the cards are neither suited nor paired, the power index remains at 32.


Example #3: A♥ A♠
How good are rockets in terms of the SAGE power index? Each ace is worth 15 points. Double the power number for one of the aces which gives you a power index of 45 (2 x 15 + 15). And now, add 22 points to the power index since you are holding a pocket pair: 45 + 22 = 67! Nice...


Now that you've got your power index, how do you use that information to crush your heads-up opponent? In the table below, there are three columns:

  1. Ratio: This is the ratio of the smallest stack at the table against the big blind.
  2. Jam: If you're in the small blind, you should Jam (ie. push all-in) with your entire stack when your hand's power index is greater than or equal to the power index listed under the Jam column in the row corresponding to the current Small Stack/Big Blind Ratio.
  3. Call: When you're in the big blind, you should call all-in or push all-in when your hand's power index is greater than or equal to the power index listed under the Call column in the row corresponding to the current Small Stack/Big Blind Ratio.


SAGE JAM/CALL TABLE

RatioJamCall
117(any)
22117
32224
42326
52428
62529
72630


Let's go through some examples just to make sure that we all understand how SAGE works.

Example #4:
Blinds 300/600

HERO (t11000)
SB (t1500)
BB (t1000)
Hero is dealt J♠ 8♠

Answer: Ok, this was a trick question. There are still 3 players left so SAGE does not apply in this situation. Although, for what it's worth, this is an easy push by the Hero.


Example #5:
Blinds 400/800

HERO (t5000)
BB (t8500)
Hero is dealt K♠ 2♦

Answer:
Since Hero is holding the short stack, the ratio is calculated as t5000/t800 = 6. The SAGE JAM/CALL TABLE lists a power index of 25 in the Jam column and 29 in the Call column in the row corresponding to a Ratio of 6. The Hero is in the small blind, so we are going to compare the Hero's power index to the value shown in the Jam column: 25. Hero's power index is (K♠ x 2) + 2♦ = (13 x 2) + 2 = 28.

According to SAGE, Hero should push all-in with K♠ 2♦ in this spot.


Example #6:
Blinds 400/800

SB (t5200)
HERO (t8300)
Hero is dealt 9♠ 8♠; SB pushes all-in for t5200.

Answer:
Ok, so our Hero has a choice to make: call the all-in or fold and wait for a better spot. Let's go through the process:

  • The current ratio is t5200/t800 = 6.
  • Hero's power index is (9♠ x 2) + 8♠ + Suited Bonus = (9 x 2) + 8 + 2 = 28.
  • The Call column shows a power index of 29 when the Ratio is 6.

Since the Hero's power index of 28 < 29, Hero folds.


Example #7:
Blinds 500/1000

HERO (t3500)
BB (t9000)
Hero is dealt T♦ 2♣

Answer:
Well, our Hero is getting pretty low here but how desperate should he be? Let's see what SAGE tells us:

  • The current ratio is t3500/t1000 = 3.
  • Hero's power index is (T♦ x 2) + 2♣ = (10 x 2) + 2 = 22.
  • The Jam column (recall: Hero is in SB) shows a power index of 22 when the Ratio is 3.

Since the Hero's power index of 22 >= 22, Hero pushes.


Example #8:
Blinds 200/400

SB (t700)
HERO (t12800)
Hero is dealt Q♠ Q♣; SB pushes all-in for his remaining t700.

Answer:
The quick answer: call! Let's double-check SAGE and see if our unexploitable strategy agrees with our snap-decision:

  • The current ratio is t700/t400 = 1.
  • Hero's power index is (Q♠ x 2) + Q♣ + Paired Bonus = (12 x 2) + 12 + 22 = 58.
  • The Call column shows that a power index of "any" is required to make the all-in call when the Ratio is 1.

Since the Hero's power index of 58 blows "any" out of the water, Hero calls.


Before finishing up, there are a few more things that should be noted when it comes to using SAGE.

Although SAGE is an unexploitable strategy, it is not always the optimal strategy. As the Ratio of the small stack to the big blind increases past 7 and even beyond 10, SAGE starts to break down. If you find yourself completely out-matched when it comes to heads-up play against your opponent (e.g. you're playing heads-up with Chris Ferguson), feel free to use SAGE no matter what the Ratio. By resorting to a fit or fold strategy, your opponent will not be able to outplay you; although, you'll most likely find your opponent folding hand after hand until finally picking up a monster and putting you out of your misery.

On the flip-side of the coin, if you completely outclass your heads-up opponent, feel free to stick with what's working for you. Although you'll be hard-pressed to beat the results that SAGE will give you, you may not want to gamble for first prize when you're almost positive that you can take out your opponent using conventional methods.

In general, you should try and play poker when the SAGE Ratio is above 7: doing so will give you some heads-up experience and, frankly, it can be rather fun to outplay your opponent after a hard-fought SNG battle.

One word of warning: SAGE is incredibly easy and incredibly powerful. If you were to play your very best heads-up game against an opponent using SAGE, I would not like your chances. SAGE works by completely stifling your opponent's creativity and poker abilities. It is a claustrophobic, suffocating feeling to be on the receving end of an opponent using SAGE. When you decide to bring SAGE to the table, don't be surprised to find your opponents folding hand after hand as you continue to push your entire stack into the pot. Surprisingly, this happens an awful lot and is immensely satisfying: imagine being handed first-prize money without having to play a single hand!

For those of you who take your poker seriously, I have just given you the blueprints to one of the greatest weapons you will ever use in a sit-n-go (or multi-table tournament) endgame. I guarantee that you will find that your first place finishes will greatly overshadow your second place finishes if you stick to using SAGE whenever heads-up.

I'd very much like to hear the success stories of my readers who've employed SAGE to great success, so please feel free to comment and let others know how well the SAGE system has worked for you.

Enough talk - go make some money!

Keep reading "SAGE: The Sit and Go Endgame System"

Managing Your Online Poker Bankroll

Many other sites out there have gone into the dos and don'ts of bankroll management. Basically, the rules are pretty simple: twenty buy-ins for no-limit cash games, three hundred big bets for limit cash game, fifty buy-ins for sit-n-gos, and one hundred buy-ins for multi-table tournaments.

But who needs numbers and math when there is an even easier way to explain proper bankroll management?

So...you're ready to play online poker? You have a bit of money but don't know where to start. What to do, what to do...

Here's one solid piece of advice: go read Ed Hollis' poker blog, 88% Concentration. Start reading Ed's archives, dating back to February 2006.

Now, I promised you some bankroll advice, right? Now that you've read everything over at 88% Concentration, my advice boils down to one simple point:


Do the exact opposite of everything Ed does in his blog when it comes to choosing your table stakes and when building and managing your bankroll.


Simple, eh? And I may have just saved you thousands upon thousands of lost dollars right there!

(As an aside, Ed's blog is pretty entertaining in that "train-wreck" way, much like RedPill's site. You have to give the guy credit for jumping into some of the biggest stakes games available. Oh, a thanks to Wes for pointing out Ed's site.)

Keep reading "Managing Your Online Poker Bankroll"

Online Poker IS Rigged!

Poker is a brutal game when you're winning and far worse when the cards really don't cooperate. I've been on the losing end of a lot of bad beats over time and have, on occasion, even pulled out the occasional two-outer to steal a pot. However, below is a hand that I believe proves, once and for all, that online poker is most definitely rigged!

Actually, maybe I should re-phrase that. I don't think online poker is rigged against every player out there: that would be silly. In fact, judging from my experiences and the blogs I read daily, I'm going to go out on a limb and declare that online poker is rigged against the following three players:



How is it that I can possibly begin to compare my woes to those of Fuel and Waffles?

The following hand takes place amidst another horrible losing skid at PokerStars $16 Turbo SNGs. This hand put my losing streak at thirteen straight SNGs. Thirteen straight buy-ins lost with not even a second or third place showing for my troubles. Is is bad luck or bad skill that's keeping me down and out?

Take a look at the following hand and you tell me...


PokerStars
No Limit Holdem Tournament
Blinds: t100/t200 + t25 Ante
5 players
Converter

Stack sizes:
Hero: t2865
CO: t1465
Button: t4395
SB: t3275
BB: t1500

(FYI: SB had just finished doubling up through me on a previous hand. A3 vs. T9s all-in pre-flop; I caught an ace on the flop but SB caught runner-runner to make his straight on the river.)

Pre-flop: (5 players) Hero is UTG with A♥ A♣

Hero raises to t500, 2 folds, SB raises all-in t3250, BB calls all-in t1275, Hero calls all-in t2340.
Uncalled bets: t410 returned to SB.

Flop: 8♣ 3♦ T♠ (t5915, 0 player + 3 all-in - Main pot: t4550, Sidepot 1: t2730)

Turn: J♦ (t5915, 0 player + 3 all-in - Main pot: t4550, Sidepot 1: t2730)

River: 9♣ (t5915, 0 player + 3 all-in - Main pot: t4550, Sidepot 1: t2730)

Results:
Final pot: t5915
SB showed Qs Qd
BB showed Qc Qh
Hero showed Ah Ac

(This hand was so sick. My wife was upset at SB for sucking out on me on the previous hand, so you can only imagine her outrage at these results. I could only laugh and be content that I had just witnessed the worst bad beat that I'd ever seen over the past couple years.)

Since experiencing this soul-sucking defeat, I've managed to string together a few cashes and a win at PokerStars' $16 Turbos. Winning is definitely the best medicine out there!

And so I'll continue to grind away at Stars in the hopes of exacting my revenge on all those other players who've seen fit to make bad calls on the bubble, shove with any two cards in the face of my UTG raise, or call off all their chips on the flop with bottom pair only to hit two-pair, a straight, or flush on the river.

Hopefully, the last laugh will be mine...LOLLOLLOLLOLLOLLOL...

Keep reading "Online Poker IS Rigged!"

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Keep reading "Sponsored by: Gamblecraft.com"

Cards and Cribs

Although my weekend started off being all about the poker, Saturday morning saw me trading in my poker hat for my "daddy" hat. It felt good to help get things ready for the arrival of our new child and the time away from the tables let me simmer down a bit after that pounding I took at the tables on Friday night.

Friday night started with a bang. I got home from work; gave my son a bath; picked up a Purolator package from an obscure store in a half-abandoned mall; stopped at the liquor store to pick up a little something; and finally, I made an expensive trip to Wal-mart to pick up a new crib, a four-drawer chest, and a slew of other baby-related sundries.

I managed to get everything home in one piece thanks to the help of my wife's family. I ran everything upstairs into the new baby's room. As my wife put our son down to sleep for the night, I high-tailed it to the TV room to prepare a spot for my wife and I to eat dinner. With our son soundly asleep, we ate a huge plate of nachos (well, I ate a huge plate of nachos) and then we managed to clean things up just in time for Mr. V. to arrive.

From that point on, I went into deep relaxation mode. I had some drinks and played six sit-n-gos at PokerStars over the next three hours or so. So, how did my initial foray at PokerStars' $16 Turbo SNGs go? As has been the case for the past couple weeks, my answer is the usual: not so good...

The only positive aspect of my poor results on Friday is that I now had an unbiased observer in Mr. V. He witnessed the atrocious cards and horrid luck that have permeated my game over the last thirty sit-n-gos. Some of my favourite moments include:


  • Getting it all-in with my cowboys on a J T x flop and getting called by some donkey holding A Q. When the turn brought a 9 and the river an 8, I could only assume that said donkey was actually a soothsayer playing some poker until the next Ides of March.

  • Getting it all-in on the bubble when the chip-leader tried to steal from the button again. The short stack called in the small blind and I insta-called in the big blind with my Hilton sisters. Chip leader showed K♣ 4♣; short-stacked SB showed A♦ 8♠; flop showed K♥ and I was out in third. I was just happy that an ace didn't find its way to the board...

  • Pushing all-in from UTG with 9♠ 9♣ with seven players left and getting called by the small blind holding AK and the big blind holding JJ.

I would provide another few examples of crap luck but I seem to have blocked them from my memory. This is probably for the best seeing as how I plan to return to the tables tonight and avenge myself...yet again.

Saturday and Sunday were spent putting furniture together, shopping for baby clothes and car seats, and watching movies with my wife.

No matter how bad poker gets, my wife and kids are always there to remind me that while I may be a mediocre poker player, my true talents lie in being a good husband and great father.

But that still won’t preclude me from bringing down my wrath upon the players at PokerStars’ $16 turbos tonight!

Keep reading "Cards and Cribs"

Reload at PokerStars!

Just got word that PokerStars is offering a WCOOP 2007 reload bonus! It looks like the bonus is 25% up to $125 with bonus code WCOOP2007.

Assuming this is legit (I can't verify any of this right now), it looks like Stars will be getting the bulk of my business for a while. As long as the bonus is no worse than 15x (update: it is a 15x bonus), I'll make the move.

Don't worry Full Tilt: I'll be back once the bonus is cleared!

Full bonus details can be found here.

Keep reading "Reload at PokerStars!"

Less talk, more numbers!

Another weekend upon us which means more time for family, more time for poker, and one week closer to our new addition to the family. But today's post isn't about my wife, my kids, my house or my job: today it's all about the poker. And instead of discussing strategy or long term goals, I'll be focusing on just one thing: my sit-n-go results.

Are you ready for some results-oriented discussion? Let's do it...

It's been two weeks since I started exclusively playing sit-n-gos. Overall, things are alright: I'm playing well and making moneyhitting the SNG tables. I just happen to have summary of my play so far:

Buy-inPlayedFinishesWon/LostROI%ITM%
1st2nd3rdBubbleOther
$5/$6411101$28108%75%
$10/$112874557$23270%57%
$20/$2219103510($236)(52%)21%
SUMMARY519591018$243%45%

While it's still too early to come to any conclusions, I do feel good about my game and my numbers. Excluding the tough break I had at the $20/$22 buy-in SNGs, I've been pretty rock solid. I'm getting to the bubble more often than not and playing as aggressively as possible in order to give myself a good shot at taking first place. Even in the case of the $20/$22 SNGs, a good chunk of my finishes are in-the-money or on the bubble (and there are a good number of fifth place and sixth place high-blind finishes).

My short-term goal is to earn myself a few more wins at Full Tilt's $11 + $1 Turbo SNGs. From there, I'll play five $22s and see how things go. Assuming I can keep it together, I'll try to make the move permanent. Don't get me wrong: I'm not afraid to play the $22s. I also have the bankroll if I happen to hit another losing streak at the higher buy-ins. I am, however, very competitive and I'd like to finish the month in the black, if possible. If this means reducing my variance by playing the lower stake $11 SNGs, so be it.

When I was first considering posting these early results, I envisioned myself defending my numbers by discussing some of the awful beats that I'd endured at Full Tilt's $22 + $2 SNGs. And then, I realized that these beats are just part of the game and none of my readers would give a single thought to my sub-par luck or my losing streak. However, I would like to mention (for the record) that AQ seems to be the hand that has caused me the most trouble so far. Whether I've shoved all-in with it on the bubble or whether one my opponents saw fit to call my push with AQ makes no difference: AQ is the bane of my SNG existence. Hopefully that'll change soon, if simply for variety's sake.

Tomorrow, I'll be spending a good amount of my day finishing up the new baby's room. But tonight, it's all about selfish, old me. Mr. V. will be coming over this evening and many SNGs will be played. If I can pick up a few ITM finishes tonight, I'll be happy enough. Throw in a couple drinks -- can't go crazy just in case the baby decides to make an early appearance -- and it should be a fun night!

Keep reading "Less talk, more numbers!"

SNGs and Dirty Diapers

There is lots going on in my life right now and poker is definitely not at the top of the list. But poker's been a good friend to me over the past couple years so I'm making time to hit the tables no matter how complicated or busy things get.

Of greatest importance to me right now is the upcoming birth of my second child. We expect the new baby to arrive any time in the next four weeks! It's crazy to think that I'll be a father again so soon after the birth of my son less than a year ago. My wife and I decided to go for the "ripping the band-aid off quickly" approach to having kids.

The advantages to having a second baby so soon after the first?


  • We're used to not sleeping, so having a second baby around will not affect our mental capacities all that much.

  • My son and his brother/sister will be close enough in age to be able to hang out and play together.

  • My wife and I are still in diaper-change mode: poopie diapers are still the norm in our day to day lives.

  • Finally, my wife and I will never have to return to baby-mode once are kids are a little older...although the number of children isn't yet set in stone, though it may be difficult to afford more than two kids without first winning the lottery (or the PokerStars Sunday $1 Million Guaranteed tournament).


And the disadvantages?

  • We have to buy a second crib since our son is still using his crib.

  • Our family car is too small to fit much more than my wife, me, and our two kids.

  • We have to buy even more stuff, including extra strollers, drawers, clothes, and lots of baby food and formula. The list is so long that my wallet is shaking with fear...

  • My wife and I have not had a great night's sleep for well over a year and that's not about to change anytime soon.

Advantages and disadvantages aside, I am really excited about meeting my second kid! My son is great and I'm sure his brother/sister will be top-notch as well! I'm not sure how my life will change with two kids in the house, but I'm ready for whatever happens and looking forward to the trials, tribulations and joys that come with having kids.

The only reason I bring this up is to warn my readers that there will most likely be a one-week period in the near future where I'll be unable to post. Everyone goes on vacation from time to time and this will be my vacation for the year.

I don't see myself stopping on the poker front with the birth of my second. I may stay away from the tables for a week or so, but I'll be right back at it once my wife and I have figured out our new daily routine. I actually started playing poker a couple weeks after my son was born: I recall taking down a tournament at PartyPoker while my son slept in my arms. And don't bother asking: I will not lend out my kids as good luck charms for those of you needing a big win. They're my kids and they mean everything to me! Besides, if anyone's going to use my kids as good luck charms, it'll be me!

Over the next few weeks and even after the birth of our new son/daughter, I believe I'll stick with sit-n-gos as my game of choice. SNGs appeal to me right now since they are fairly low variance and can be played even when exhausted. If no-limit hold'em is art and limit poker is math, SNGs are like gym class.

Although there are rules to sit-n-gos and some playing styles are better suited to winning than others, winning a sit-n-go boils down to a little luck and a little timing. Much like going top shelf in hockey, the difference between scoring the winning goal and missing the net is a matter of inches. And believe me: you have to take your shots if you want to win these things. Sure, you may look like an idiot when you push on the button with your 7♠ 6♠ and get called by the BB holding A♥ K♦; however, you're still no worse than a 2 to 1 in most all-in confrontations. And that's why I tend to stick with the "push early, push often" SNG strategy.

And speaking of taking chances, I've decided to hold off on returning to the Turbo $24s at Full Tilt until I've managed to pick off a few more wins at the $12s. I really got knocked off kilter after the horrid string of bad beats at the $24s and I need to regain my confident and unemotional approach to SNGs. I must remind myself, day in and day out, that bad luck is just a part of the game and it's better to go out swinging than to desperately cling to the hope of sneaking into third place.

I'm actually running quite well again at the $12s, though I've only played six sit-n-gos since dropping back down from the $24s. I don't expect it to take too long for me to pick up a few more wins but I'll concede that Lady Luck may have something to say about that. In the meantime, I'll be doing my best to keep up my aggression on the bubble and make the best decisions I can at every opportunity.

I'll back in the next day or two to discuss my SNG results to date. I like to post my results on this site from time to time: it keeps me honest and I always get a kick out of looking back on these "results" posts six months or a year down the line.

I'll leave it at that for today. Now if you'll excuse me, I hear Full Tilt's tables calling my name...

Keep reading "SNGs and Dirty Diapers"

Vengeance will be mine...

I had a great weekend spending time with my family. I also had a terrible time at the tables. Having had great success at the Full Tilt's $11 + $1 Turbo SNG tables, I was really pumped about trying my hand at FT's $22 + $2 Turbo tables. Unfortunately, you know that old saying about the best laid plans...?

Everything started off quite well. After playing six $22 SNGs, I was close to break even after bubbling twice and finishing in third place three times. The players were not that great and I'd been a little unlucky to finish as poorly as I had.

Friday night, I took the night off to watch a movie with my wife. I figured that a relaxing evening away from the poker tables might help me re-focus and give me an edge when I next sat down to play poker. Also, I like watching movies with my wife so it was a win-win situation for me.

Saturday, I squeezed in a few sit-n-gos after spending the bulk of my day vaccuuming and cleaning. My plan was to do the cleaning so that my 36-weeks-pregnant wife wouldn't have to do any work. Unfortunately, after a couple hours of work, I went upstairs and found my wife scrubbing the bathrooms. Oh well, I did my best.

Anyway, I managed to take down one a first place finish in one of the SNGs on Saturday, putting me back in the black for the $22 sit-n-gos.

And then came Sunday. I was registered to play a $1500 freeroll at InterPoker, courtesy of the fine folks at RakeTheRake (referral account RTR03302). With 226 entrants and the top thirty spots paying, I was feeling good about my chances to make a little money.

While slowly making my way through the tournament, I played a number of SNGs at Full Tilt, hoping to build on Saturday's momentum. Alas, this was not to be.

I currently find myself on an eleven game losing streak: no wins and no in-the-money finishes. The only consolation that I have is that I've managed to get my money in with the best of it (or at least with a 50/50 shot) on all but a few occasions. I seem to be playing alright, though I can't seem to catch any cards or win any coin flips.

My best chance to make the money came in one sit-n-go where I found myself with T2500 in the small blind and holding KK. With the blinds at 150/300 and only four of us remaining in the SNG, this was an easy push into the chip leader sitting in the big blind with a T4500 stack. Although the chip leader thought for about 15 seconds, he finally made the call with A8. The flop came down A T 8 and I was done.

To make matters worse, I found myself holding KK in the InterPoker freeroll at the same time. I got it all in with two other players pre-flop: both my opponents held AK. I thought I was about to become a chip leader in the tournament and be a strong contender for winning the whole damned thing; unfortunately, the deck disagreed with my assessment by bringing an ace on the river to bust me out in 64th place. LOL donkaments...

If you play a lot of sit-n-gos, you'll know that the key to winning is fold equity. You put pressure on the tight, medium stacked players by pushing all-in hoping to pick up the blinds. And if you happen to be called, you're usually no worse than a 2 to 1 dog in the hand. [This process of jamming against tight, medium stacked players is the SNG strategy tip that I was discussing last week. Pretty obvious to most SNG players, yet it is a technique that very few players use - especially when playing on the bubble with a short stacked player about to be blinded out.]

I happen to be in the midst of bad luck streak. Hey, all I can do is make what I believe to be positive equity decisions at the table and let the cards fall where they may. I just hope that these cards will start to fall my way again sometime soon. I dislike dropping a few hundred dollars in buy-ins but variance is a part of the game. I'm sure it'll all come back to me someday as long as I stick to my game plan and avoid tilt.

In the meantime, I'll drop down to the $11 SNGs at Full Tilt and stay there until I've managed to pick up a couple wins. It's not that I don't have the bankroll to play the $22 + $2 games, but there's no point playing these higher-stake games unless I'm confident in my ability to crush the competition.

Once I have a little more money back in my pocket and regained some of my faltering confidence, I'll head back to the $22 tables.

Sweet, sweet vengeance will be mine...

Keep reading "Vengeance will be mine..."

Testing the Waters

This isn't the sit-n-go strategy post that I promised yesterday. Instead, I have a recap of last night session at the tables.

First off, I have to say that playing sit-n-gos seems to be satisfying my poker addiction and my video game addiction. I satisfy my poker jones by playing poker and winning money; I fill the video game void by being able to declare "I win!" after I take down a sit-n-go. Hopefully I can keep this up when I invariably go through a cold streak at the tables.

Last night, I made my way to the $20 sit-n-go tables. I decided to play a regular $20 + $2 at Titan Poker and a $22 + $2 Turbo at Full Tilt. Since the blinds increase so slowly in regular sit-n-gos, I figured I'd easily manage to finish off the Full Tilt turbo well before things got interesting over at Titan.

I know discussing results of sit-n-gos is like discussing the intricacies behind a coin flip, but bear with me and I guarantee that we'll easily kill off 5-10 minutes of your workday...as would staring mindlessly at the wall or cleaning your nails with that lone paper clip sitting at the edge of your desk.

My first two attempts at the $20s worked out well. I'm a firm believer that it's better to go out firing on the bubble than to sneak into third and lose with the short stack. Granted, I'd much rather take down a big pot on the bubble and get in the money with the big stack. But if wishes came true, it'd rain pancakes and bacon every morning...and McGriddles...and maybe some of those new Tim Horton's Breakfast Sandwiches (aka Tim McMuffins). What was I talking about?

Anyway, in my Full Tilt turbo, I decided to push into the other medium stack on the bubble with my 5♥ 2♥. Unfortunately, I was insta-called by A♠ A♥. I don't mind bubbling out, especially when I've only invested 30 minutes of my time. I'd be interested to see if my fourth place finishes correlate with my first place finishes; I'll check back on this in a month's time perhaps.

I also managed to bubble out in my Titan SNG. I was under the gun holding an 8♦ 9♠ and the table had tightened up rather dramatically once the fifth place player was bounced from the game. With somewhere between 6 and 8 BBs left, I figured that I had pretty good fold equity if I pushed all in - and that's what I did! Unfortunately, the guy sitting in the big blind woke up with AK and decided to flip for his tournament life. I imagine he was quite happy when I flipped over my cards. The flop hit both of us but his pair of kings easily beat my pair of nines.

While finishing up the SNG at Titan, I decided to check out the multi-table tournaments they had running. I believe Scurvydog, or perhaps Kajagugu, had mentioned that Titan had some great tournament overlays and terrible players. As I browsed the upcoming tournaments, I found a $1000 Guaranteed $5 + $0.50 Re-buy with Add-on tournament starting at 9:30 PM EST. More importantly, I noticed that only 14 players had registered to play. With only twenty minutes left until game time, I liked my chances and signed up.

I'll get back to the tournament later in the post...

I played a couple more $22 + $2 Turbos at Full Tilt. Unlike my previous two attempts, I managed to cash in both of these. Unfortunately, I ended up placing third in both games. Strangely enough, I went out with the KQ in both games:


  • SNG #3: I pushed my ten remaining big bets all-in from the button and got called by the small blind holding AQ. Some might say that the small blind's call was a little loose. And yet others would say that AQ is a monster hand when three-handed. I'm just happy that I made it into the money with a good-sized stack and got to make a good play for all my chips.

  • SNG #4: I pushed all-in from the button and got called by the small blind holding 77. Geez, these small blind players are a crafty bunch, aren't they?

I was worried that I'd find the $20 SNGs difficult but they were quite similar to the $10 buy-in sit-n-gos. In a strange twist, many of the $20 players were playing much looser than the $10 players. I guess it's easy to think that you need to loosen up and play more aggressively as you move up the buy-in ladder. Do I think that this applies to $20 sit-n-gos? Nope. I'll worry about changing up my play when I start playing the $100 SNGs; until then, I'll stick with my standard push-bot strategy.

And now, back to the tournament...

I believe that the last time I played an MTT, I managed to take first place for about $1000. This time, I placed 13th out of 90 players - 76 players signed up for the tournament in the final 3 minutes of regsistration - for a prize of $0.

My main goal for this tournament was to see how well my sit-n-go strategy would work in a multi-table environment. I believe that my strategy may very well work for MTTs given my comfort level and the level of play of your standard micro-limit tournament player. Had it not been for an unfortunate event involving Big Slick, I would have undoubtedly cashed and stood a good chance at making a solid run at the final table.

I was really enjoying playing the $50 NL cash games and now I'm really, really enjoying playing SNGs. Poker's quite a game, isn't it?

Keep reading "Testing the Waters"

Up, Up, and Away!

After my session last night at Full Tilt, I've decided to move up to the $20 buy-in sit-n-gos. I've only played twenty-two SNGs since last Friday, and only eighteen at the $10/$11 buy-in level, but I feel quite ready to take on the bigger buy-in games. If I were to tell you my ROI% right now, you'd punch me in the face and call me a liar. In any case, short-term variance or not, the siren song of the $20s are calling my name.

Where to play, where to play?

Full Tilt has been very kind to me in the past few days and I'll definitely give them a good chunk of my business in the coming weeks. However, I know for a fact that the SNGs running at Titan Poker are some of the fishiest around. Whereas Full Tilt's 9-person Turbos take roughly 45 minutes from start to finish, Titan's 10-person Turbos struggle to reach the 30 minute mark. In fact, in one SNG I played at Titan over the weekend, there were only five players left by the time level two started. Now's that fishy!

The only downside to Titan Poker is one of limited traffic. For example, Titan had very few sit-n-gos actually running at 9 PM EST last night. And of those at the $10 or higher buy-in level, there were no turbos running. I guess I could always play a regular 10-person SNG at Titan while running the turbos at Full Tilt. My overlay at Titan Poker is a little higher than what I get at Full Tilt; however, sit-n-gos are a volume business and business is quite good at FT.

Decisions, decisions, decisions...

I was also thinking of giving Hollywood Poker's $20 SNGs a try as well. I've been told by Mr. V. that OnGame's sit-n-go players are not the greatest in the world. I managed to browse the games running at Hollywood Poker last night and was a little disapointed by their lack of traffic (a common theme nowadays). I'd rather not have to wait ten minutes for a sit-n-go to start when I know that Full Tilt can deliver the goods in under 30 seconds.

One final option would be to try out the games running at PartyPoker. Mr. V. has told me that the players at Party are of the fishy variety and he has the numbers to prove it. Still, I'm all about the overlays though and if Party is not offering any bonuses, I tend to stay away. As a PartyPoker affiliate, I should probably try to give them more of my business. Then again, maybe Party should offer me more incentive to play. I think this is a catch-22 type thing.

No matter where I end up playing, my primary goal is to continue playing well. If I can maintain solid ROI and ITM percentages at the $20 SNGs, I may consider giving the $30 SNGs a shot. I've heard some of the more conservative 2+2ers argue that having a bankroll of 100 buy-ins is better than simply settling for 50 buy-ins. Normally, I'd agree. However, I don't mind moving down a buy-in level or two when my bankroll dips below a specific number of buy-ins. I view my bankroll more as an assessment of my current skill level and not as pile of money that I can tear through in a desperate attempt to make back my losses.

Tomorrow or perhaps on Friday, I'd like to discuss one aspect of sit-n-go strategy that has really helped generate better results as of late. If I can help any of my readers pick up an extra win here or there, I'll be happy.

--

PS: I think Trip's last post, Taking Shots, has inspired me to try a few heads-up SNGs along the way. I'll be focusing my efforts on the witless masses of online poker players who are happy to give their money away. O only say this since there are a number of poker bloggers out there who are content to take each other on: I am either too cowardly or too smart to even attempt matching wits and bankrolls with anyone who writes about poker on a regular basis.

I'll also be looking for heads-up SNGs with blinds that rise rather quickly. I'm not looking to outplay my opponents: I'll happily settle for out-flopping them instead.

Keep reading "Up, Up, and Away!"

Hey There!


This is a message to all my loyal, or first time, readers out there who happen to have web sites, blogs, or any form of online media distribution:

Please link me up!


Unfortunately, I'm not one to go around from site to site, leaving comments such as:

"Hey! Great site! I have a site too! Wanna exchange links?"


Generally, I was going under the assumption that if someone came to this site and liked my content, I'd get linked up in short order: I guess that makes an ass out of me and umption.

Don't get me wrong: I'm not trying to tell you what to do here. This is more of a favour which I'll return in kind if you have a poker-related blog that you'd like to have linked on my site. I try quite hard to provide the best content I can while maintaining my primary focus on poker. I'd feel awful asking anyone to link to this site if I felt that its content was sub-par or unrelated to poker.

I haven't really cared all that much about who linked to Klopzi's Mediocre Poker and I've taken the "sit back and watch the site grow approach"; however, that plan hasn't worked out quite as well as I'd hoped (though I had set my hopes pretty damned high).

So do me a big favour and do yourselves a small one: put up a link to Klopzi's Mediocre Poker. Just think of how your BB/100 will increase due to the extra karma!

Geez, it's been a while since I so shamelessly promoted myself in public...feels dirtier than I remember...

Thanks.

--

FYI: I've linked up Poker for Donkeys after Iggy pimped the blog on his site. A good site with lots of poker-related news and videos (for the reading impaired).

Keep reading "Hey There!"

LOL Donkaments

I started playing poker in early 2005, around the time my wife and I were married. Like most players, I started out at the play money tables. And like most players, I soon discovered that poker without money isn't really poker. As if sensing my displeasure with the online poker scene, Tiger Gaming stepped up and gave me $5 of real money to use at their tables! And so it began...

A bankroll of $5 leaves very few options when it comes to playing poker. Luckily, Tiger Gaming catered well to low-budget poker players:


  • No-Limit Hold'em: Tiger had a number of $5 buy-in NL hold'em cash game tables. Although quite reasonably priced, I was not willing to put 100% of my bankroll on the line. Even in the beginning, I was instinctively driven to keep my bankroll alive and healthy. I have to thank my wife for this since she's the one who was very wary of me making any real money deposits to any online poker or gambling establishments.

  • Limit Hold'em: Although Ultimate Bet had the lowest stakes limit hold'em available ($0.01/$0.02), Tiger Gaming was not too far behind with their $0.10/$0.02 tables. Although I dabbled in these limit hold'em games, I lost more than I won and was left with very little bankroll to fund my degenerate gambling.

  • Multi-Table Tournaments (MTTs): LOL Donkaments...

  • Sit n' Gos (SNGs): At the time, Tiger Gaming had SNGs running with paltry buy-ins of $0.10 + $0.02. Talk about getting a lot of poker for next to nothing! These sit-n-gos used the Winner Take All (WTA) format, thereby promoting a lot of coin flips and crazy gambling action. Of course, I didn't understand poker at all and relied on Mr. V's extremely limited poker knowledge (at the time...he's a poker genius now) to guide me through my early sessions. After my first twenty attempts at these SNGs, I found myself up $10. Mr. V. then lent me Harrington on Hold'em: Volume 1 which I proceeded to read through twice. Over the next couple months, I played eighty more $0.10 SNGs and managed to walk away with an additional $20 in winnings.
What I'm trying to get at it is that sit-n-gos have always been pretty kind to me.



In fact, over the past two years, I've had a number of posts about SNGs, my attitude towards them, and the success and failures that I've experienced while dabbling in these one-table donk-fests. Here's a list of some posts that come to mind:

  • Testing the Online Poker Waters: Part II
    First-hand account of my time at Tiger's $0.10 + $0.02 SNGs.

  • SNGs are good: August 2005
    Disgusted with my cash game play, I decided to try playing some more SNGs. The fact that I was content winning only one of out twelve sit-n-gos really shows how much my attitude has changed towards poker. First off, I don't care so much about my short-term results. And secondly, winning one out of twelve sit-n-gos is not so good...

  • Sit N' Gone
    Proof positive that I did not understand how SNGs worked. Any time you find yourself complaining about being card dead in a sit-n-go, you're not in the right frame of mind. SNGs are about one thing: blind stealing and fold equity. Ok, so SNGs are about two things...well, three things if you count SAGE as your default heads-up strategy...And always remember to have fun. Those are your four keys to being a winning SNG poker player!

  • 100 SNG Challenge
    Before going on hiatus earlier this year, I used to make public any poker-related challenges that I set out for myself. One such challenge was the 100 SNG Challenge whose primary purpose was to play in 100 SNGs over the course of 100 days or less. Although I completed the challenge, my results were below average. I managed to finish "in the money" over 40% of the time but earned very little money overall due to my habit of placing second or third in sit-n-gos rather than simply winning the damned things!

  • Double or Nothing PokerStars SNG Challenge
    This was a fun little challenge that saw me buy in to sit-n-gos for as much as $20 in my attempt to convert my remaining $61 on PokerStars into $122. I completed this challenge, though the path to greatness was not without its perils.

  • SNGs and FPPs
    The last SNG-related challenge that I took on was the SNGs and FPPs challenge. The goal: earn 200 FPPs and clear a $40 bonus at PokerStars. I started this challenge amidst a honest-to-God SNG hot streak, having won two SNGs and placed second in three others in my past five SNGs played. In an unprecedented turn of events, I actually found myself playing a couple $50 + $5 sit-n-gos on my way to completing this challenge. The SNGs and FPPs challenge is probably one of the highlights of my short poker career since it allowed me to move beyond my comfort zone and really challenge myself against some better players.
So why all this talk about sit-n-gos? Well, after a night of drunken SNG play last Friday, I decided to try my hand at a few more SNGs over the weekend. And guess what? I'm having fun! And not only am I enjoying my poker immensely: I'm also holding my own at the tables!

I've only played about 18 sit-n-goes since Friday but I've done pretty well so far. I've started out at the $11 + $1 Turbo SNGs at Full Tilt and the $10 + $1 Turbo SNGs at Titan Poker and plan on moving up to the $20 buy-in SNGs in the next few days. Although I'm not abandoning my cash game play, I tend to focus on those games that make me the most money. And right now, sit-n-gos are paying the bills.

If I follow the fifty (50x) buy-in rule, I have the bankroll to play as high as the $30 SNGs. If you've been a regular reader of this site, you'll know that I'm never one to jump into higher stakes games simply because my bankroll says that I can afford it.

I'd like to first work on my game a bit. That means that I'll play the $10 SNGs for a few days, then focus primarily on the $20 SNGs until I'm confident that I've got an edge on the competition. I haven't decided how I'll determine whether or not I have an edge, though I presume I'll rely quite heavily on my return on investment (ROI) and "in the money" (ITM) percentages. Besides looking at the numbers, I also take my comfort level, confidence, and decision-making abilities into consideration as well.

All bankroll and buy-in level issues aside, I'm going to try and enjoy poker for the next little while. Many critics might argue that sit-n-gos can hardly be considered poker and, on some levels, I agree. SNGs are about knowing which moves will increase your tournament equity and having the stones to take appropriate action when the right opportunities present themselves. And that's what I find exciting about sit-n-gos: sitting quietly, folding hand after hand, until you suddenly find yourself all-in on the bubble with only a 7♠5♠! Now that's poker!

In the next couple days, I plan on writing about some of the resources that have helped me improve my SNG game. Though I still have tons and tons...and tons and tons to learn, I've definitely managed to jump-start my game with some help. In that same vein, if any of my readers happen to have any advice, resources, tips, or tricks when it comes to dominating the sit-n-go scene, please feel free to leave a comment or drop me a line at klopzi@gmail.com.

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