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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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