Sunday, May 20, 2007

What Have You Learned

There are a few things you learn about poker from playing a decent amount of SNG's:

1) How to take a beat - Since SNG's are primarily a preflop game you really begin to develop a deep understanding of hand probabilities. Everyone who studies the game knows that there are few preflop dominant hands and nothing emphasizes this more than SNG's. The beats can really seem sick sometimes but if you can't handle them, you won't be a long term winner.

2) There is great value in mid range connectors - This relates back to number one. Do to the preflop nature of the game you will often be seeing all five cards. With this knowledge drawing hands gain value since you cannot be "bet" off your hand on later streets. This has also led to the opening up of my MTT game. Almost every tourney I play now (which hasn't been that many lately) I'm able to effectively trap my opponents and gain a decent chip stack early. This leads to the security needed to play more flops in the mid to late stages.

3) Aggression matters - Although aggression matters in all forms of poker, the SNG is aggression taken to the next level. I would never dream of limping into a pot in a SNG. Fold equity becomes paramount in the later stages and that fact must be exploited at every opportunity.

4) Being a Donkey is a good thing - Ok, hear me out. I don't mean that actually "being" a donkey is a good thing. I mean that if your opponents are incapable of understanding your play and often "call" you a donkey, then that's a good thing. To go along with this... never explain your actions to an opponent. You may have a completely valid reason for playing the way you did, but if his notes on you simply say "donkey", you have an advantage.

These things are paramount to success. Without the knowledge to wield them properly you simply cannot survive the SNG jungle.