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SNG Lessons

TripJax and GCox posted their lessons learned from the SNG Challenge, in which the two aforementioned bloggers, Kipper, DNasty, SteelerJosh, and I started with $55 and played SNGs solely with $25 on the line for each player. Winner gets $125. 2nd Place gets $25. I get nothing. I’ve already busted.

So, what did I learn while I lost my SNG Challenge Bankroll. More than I expected, really. This may not be very strategy focused, but that’s what you should expect from someone whose strategy involved losing. A lot of these are common sense. This may even bore you. Regardless, this is what I learned, looking back. Here goes:

Lesson 1: Poker is Fun with Others
I love poker. No doubt about that. But I enjoyed poker the most when I was at a table with any of the aforementioned players. There was someone to get my jokes, or to play into my “disguises,” like the time I pretended to be a new player. And losing is a lot less traumatic when you can talk out your donkey plays after the fact with two players who know you, know your poker, and saw every hand from the start.

Lesson 2: If You Play to Lose, You Will Succeed…at Losing
In my last SNG before busting out, I was coming after a stretch of five losses in a row. It was late, and GCox was still on. I thought, well, I might as well lose the last one now, and call it a challenge. And I succeeded at losing. Bottom line, you must always play to win. When you feel that you will not win, don’t play. This applied throughout the Challenge. It applies in life. I’m sure it will apply the next time I hit a casino and think “I never win in casinos.” I’ll work on that though, thanks to the lesson learned in the SNG Challenge.

Lesson 3: Bankroll Management is the Most Underrated Part of Playing Successful Poker
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Bankroll management is KEY to being a winning player. You are going to lose games or hands even though you should have won. The variance monster is going to jump out from under your bed and eat up you trips Aces on the flop, after shmucko calls your all in and hits runner runner straight. It will happen. If you play with your entire bankroll in that one game when it happens, you will go broke. Then, you will bitch and moan about the bad beat on which you lost your entire bankroll. News flash! You shouldn’t be betting your entire bankroll. The SNG Challenge was slightly different because toward the end there is incentive to playing with larger chunks of your bankroll. After all, not only can you win the SNG money, but there is an additional $125 to sweeten the deal, which changes your expectation. However, I bumped up the stakes too early. I was able to fight my way back to my original $55 from a low of about $25. Then I switched to $10 SNGs (from $5 SNGs), lost five in a row, and was broke. If I stayed with the $5 SNGs, I’d be down to $30 (assuming I lost 5 SNGs). I can come back from $30. I cannot come back from $5.

Lesson 4: Play YOUR Poker
I’m a showboat and a loudmouth, especially when competing. Some people find it annoying. I don’t think that those people know where I’m coming from (and why would they know). Other people get it. I’m a ham. I don’t mean it when I say, “If you are nice to me, I’ll carry you to second place.” or “Why don’t you just give me your money and save us the trouble.” I do it because there is something funny (to me) about the guy who is uber-confident. It’s a farce. That is how I am at the table. With my showboating personality comes a certain style of poker. I play a variety of hands, I play them loose and fast, I change things up a lot, and I go on big swings (of course, changing things up all the while). After losing a series of SNGs and watching GCox, I thought that my style of poker doesn’t work in SNGs. The swings put me at a disadvantage to bust early. So I switched to a more conservative approach. I was wrong. Trip plays aggressive AND he wins. It was probably some bad variance on my end. Changing my style of play worked in certain situations, but in the end, it wasn’t me. I think I would’ve been better off playing my style in the right environment. This leads me to:

Lesson 5: Choose Your Games Wisely

Do not play a 10-person regular speed SNG when you are in a rush. If you are conservative and have time, go for it. It’s made for you. Just ask GCox. Do not play a 6-person Turbo SNG if you are a very conservative player and only play a limited group of starting hands. You’ll be blinded to death, and bubble out more so than not. If you are an aggressive player, though, hop into the Turbo 6-person. It’s made for you. Go nuts, and have fun. I should have played more 6-person Turbos. Coulda woulda shoulda.

Lesson 6: If You Are Not Having Fun, You Aren’t Playing Poker; Poker is Playing You
When I’m not enjoying myself, I lose more often than not. This is usually when I’ve played 3 SNGs, lost them, and feel that I need to catch up with one more. I might be tired, or (god forbid) bored with poker, but still I play. Not good. When I’m up for it, though, winning or losing, I’m enjoying myself. So, if I lose $5.50 in an SNG, I’m paying for entertainment. And when I win…I WIN!! Poker is a game. A fun game. When it becomes a chore, take a break.

Class is out. I’m going to play some Noble .50/1 limit until my connection goes out again. Have a good weekend.

posted by Jordan @ 4:34 PM,


At 10:12 AM, Blogger GaryC said...

Good lessons J.

I think we are all in the same boat with you on this one. I wish I had already known what I know now about SNG's. It's amazing how playing so many in such a short time teaches you things that you thought you already knew.



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