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Token SNGs Made Easy

I recently mentioned how I play the FT 2-table token SNGs in a very formulaic manner. Since I am about to attempt a turbo token SNG to earn my buy-in to tonight's Hoy, I figured it may be fun to do a tournament simulblog.

My rules are simple for 2 table token SNGs. Since the top 5 spots all pay out the same prize, I am not playing for first place. I am playing for 5th, or even 6th, which earns a small cash profit. My goal is to limit myself to playing strong hands, with the hope that the weak players or dwindling stacks relative to the fast escalating blinds will allow me to double up when I do hit a strong hand. In later stages, I may make some plays, but it will be very rare and very situation-specific. The goal in those instances is to win the pot without over-exposing myself.

I easily fold for the first few hands, until I am dealt 77 in the fourth hand UTG+2. I am tempted to fold, but I may limp. Nah. Fold. A player after me raises from the 40 blind to 480. By folding, I saved 40.

In my first BB, I am dealt 56o. UTG limps and SB calls, preflop. The flop is AJ9, and we all check. The turn is a Queen and the UTG bets 80. SB and I fold. In the next hand, in the SB, I have 67o. It folds to me and I fold as well. The BB (who was formerly the UTG) has been fairly active, and I don't need to mess around.

AJs in the CO. I am extremely tempted to play to a raise, with blinds of 25/50. But I fold. It folds to the BB. If not for this blog post, I probably raise there, but I am hoping to use this post to keep myself in check and test my theory on playing uber-tight.

I fold 55 in MP. Folding is harder than I thought. The button raises preflop and the BB calls. The flop is JT9. Folding once again saved me a BB, which is very useful in the later stages of these tournaments.

I'm back in the BB and receive Q8o. I'd really like to see a flop just to feel like I'm playing poker. The CO calls, as does the SB and I check. The flop is AJ6. We all check. The turn is a 2, and we all check again. On the King river, teh SB bets pot (180) and takes down the pot uncontested.

In the SB, I am dealt K30. I am glad when a player in MP raises to 280 (blinds just went up to 40/80). I fold happily.

Without playing a single hand, I am in 10th place out of 15 remaining. It isn't a bad place to be, as three players have already busted and one double-up places me in the top 3.

Fold, fold, fold. Nothing to see here. Blinds are about to go up to 50/100. There are two players hovering around 900 and one around 1000. I fold twice as I type this. My fold finger is getting a workout.

I am now moved to the other table. A9c in MP gets folded. We are down to 14 players with 5 at or below the 1000 mark. One busts and I am 8 of 13 without playing a single hand.

JTc in the BB. Everyone folds to the SB who calls. We see a K42 flop with two diamonds. He bets pot and I fold. If he checks there, I probably bet out. I am now at 1155 with 60/120 blinds. I fold my SB with crap cards to a min raise from the button. I am now in push or fold mode. I am at 9 our of 11 and blinds are going up to 80/160. If I don't get a pushing hand soon, I'm in trouble.

AQo in UTG+1. UTG is loose and raised to 320 (min raise). I push over the top, everyone else folds and he calls with ATo. Neither of us hit, and I'm at 2550. Like clockwork.

I'm now in 5th out of 10. It's a good place to be in right now. I'm aching for the final table instead of these shorthanded 5-person tables. Usually, I love 5-person tables.

I see a flop with T6o in the BB vs. the SB. The flop is A34 and its checked to me. I min bet. He min-raises. I am reminded of why I am playing super tight. I fold.

Blinds are at 100/200. I have 2130 after I fold my SB to a raise from the CO. He ends up busting the BB and we are at the final table. I'm in 6th of 9...and immediately placed in the BB. Damn. QTo. Better now than when the blinds go up again. I fold to a limp by CO+1 and a raise by CO that takes down the pot.

In the SB, I'm dealt AJs. This may be a place to make a stand, depending on the action. A player in LP with 1430 pushes all-in. I fold. I'm playing for 5th, I remind myself.

On the button, I'm dealt A6o. The SB has 2600 and the BB has 7k. A player in MP limps, so I fold. Better safe than sorry. Blinds are up to 120/240 after this hand.

In the Hijack, I'm dealt 66. If it folds to me, I push. A shortstack (the same guy who recently pushed over my AJs) limps and I decide to push. Everyone folds and I'm back to 2430, 6th place out of 9.

The same shortie pushes all-in, UTG. He has 1490. The SB is even shorter, but manages to fold, leaving him with under 800. He pushes in the next hand and the UTG shortie is now the BB. Everyone folds to the under 800 guy. Damnit. It's like the two shorties just got a free orbit.

In the BB at 150/300, I'm dealt 83o. I'm back into push or fold mode, for the most part. The SB is very short, so when he pushes, I'm inclined to call. I lose to his Q8. The next hand, I'm dealt J5o. It folds to me and I have to fold. With only 1370 left, after pushing the last hand, I cannot expect the BB to fold.

The very next hand, I am dealt KK. One shortie with 1100 pushes. The next player with 3900 pushes. I call. I am facing A2c and QQ. The turn is a Queen, but I four-flush the river. I am up to 4280, 2nd place out of 8 remaining players. I can go back to folding with impunity. Blinds just went up to 200/400.

Desperation sets in and a player pushes with AT into QQ. AT is busted. 2nd out of 7 remaining players. We have reached the bubble.

A shortie doubles off of the big stack, who seems to be calling all-ins with anything.

In the BB, I am dealt A8o. It folds to the SB, who folds to me. Easy. In the SB, I get Q4o. I'm glad to fold to an EP's all-in for over 3k.

Another shortie doubles off of the big stack, when the big stack calls with 66. Shortie had AT and flops an Ace. Blinds are going to 250/500.

The big stack doubles up another shortie, with the big stack's 44 v. TT. Yikes! Still 2nd of 7, but even I'm a shortstack now. Everyone else is looking fairly healthy. I have 4280 and everyone after me has 2370 and up. The big stack dropped from 10k+ at one point to just over 5k. One player has taken over the 2nd place spot with 4500.

In the BB, I am dealt Q6o. I hope it folds to me. Hope fails. The SB min raises, and I choose to fold.

In the SB, I'm dealt A3o. The BB is mad short at 1870. That's still more than half my stack, but I push anyway. He folds and I'm back up to 4280.

In the next hand, the SB pushes and the BB chipleader calls. This time, the chip leader finishes him off. I'm ITM with 3rd out of 6. Now I just need one more player to bust to get my token.

Three hands later, the chip leader takes out another player, TT v. AJ. I immediately push all-in with 9To in the next hand, since I won my token. I hit a straight and bust two more players. I then take out the rest in the next hand with T6o. Go figure.

It bears noting that I played 14% of the hands only. I won my major hand with KK, as planned. I doubled up twice, as planned.

It also is worth noting that my goal is to get into the high-blinds/low-stacks section of the game. I joke about being a Short Stack Specialist, but there is some truth to that title. I enjoy the aspect of the game where you have to make the hard decisions, like pushing with crap cards like A3o against a short stacked BB. It's knowing when to steal and when to fold that really makes the later stages so interesting for me.

Even so, I can pretty much play this game with my eyes closed. It is worth noting the one dilemma. Inevitably, there will come a time when the KK does fall to the QQ. By playing super tight, you basically place your entire game in the hands of luck. When you finally push with your JJ, you may be facing QQ-AA. Even when you wait for AA, you may get sucked out on merely because mathematically the other player has to call given the stack sizes or blinds. With this in mind, my real goal is to minimize the amount of times I'm all-in, to avoid the chance of a suckout. In a normal tournament, I may play a wider range of hands because I know that it won't be an all-in or fold situation anytime soon OR because there is a benefit to accumulating chips early. In token tourneys, I only want 5th place, so I fold until I have to push.

I may take some time to elaborate later in the week. However, I hope this was somewhat helpful to any players curious about the ease of token SNGs.

With token in hand, I will see you at the Hoy.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 5:38 PM,


At 8:44 PM, Blogger TripJax said...

Fushizzle. See you there.

At 9:33 PM, Blogger Fuel55 said...

Folding presto is sacrilege.

At 9:07 AM, Blogger MrGoss said...

Very informative. Hope to cross paths with you at the BoDonkey.



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