You know, lately Im noticing that Im usually behind in the first half of a SNG. We’ll start with 10k and really, half an hour in Im always at like 6 or maybe 7k left.  I end up winning or getting second place more often than not, but I always, always notice that Im playing from behind for a large portion of most games.  Ya sometimes you hit those streaks where you double up, or triple up in the first 10 minutes, but they arent very common for me.

So I find myself thinking “why?” Why am I playing from behind most of the time.  If I win alot of the games where I have to come back from a deficit, surely, if I never fell behind in the first place, would I win that many more games!?

So Im aware, and trying to get to the bottom of why I am behind. Ive seen that I was inclined to limp in on the small blind a lot with any suited cards, like 83 or J4. I think its kind of a bad habit of mine but it does pay off sometimes.  But maybe not as well, or as much as I thought.  It certainly contributes to me slowly chipping my stack lower.

And also opening when im first to act right when the cards are dealt.  I love 67suited but its not helping me so much these days when I open with it under the gun pre flop. Too many people left to act and I often get reraised and then someone raises that again.  Too much to call with, and the times I do call I miss the flop.  And next thing you know, I am sitting at 5 or 6k. I think I am going to try and discipline my opening card selection a little, and at least wait until mid position to open with 67suited.  Same goes for AJoffsuit or A7 suited. etc.  Its just not paying off so early in a tournament.  Take out a few players and that story changes big-time, but if theres a full table then its just not seeming worth it.

So when I am under the gun pre flop, I am now folding AToff, 78s, even KQoff.  I mean, it depends on the table right? If its a really tight table then I would probably open with this stuff, but it seems lately that more and more people are playing aggressive.  If you teach everyone Spanish, slowly but surely, everyone will speak Spanish at similar levels.  Well I think with the hundreds of books out there, anyone who takes poker more seriously than XBox will have sought out the knowledge that they sense is lacking, and as a result more and more people I play on a daily basis are proving to be a little more skillful than say, the average fish to shark ratio per table, 2 years ago.

So you have to adapt right? Dont get me wrong, theres millions of fish everywhere. I just happen to think that larger handfuls each year are taking their game a little further.  And the tables I play at lately are, I dont want to say callstations, but more inclined to hold a wider range of hands, and therefor, opening so early with mediocre hands like QJoff can be costly on many levels. I am tightening my early-pre flop range and its helping me keep from having to come back from a deficit midway through a sng.

But here is another theory of mine. Folding on the small blind. I just finished explaining that limping in with 85suited and Q8off on the small blind is costing me more than I am earning with it.  Well, what if you KNEW that the big blind would check, and close the action?

I always take notes on people who check the big blind pre flop every time. This is where I am convinced limping in with anything is ok. 93off! sure. If you know he wont raise it, and the other people at the table are in too, the pot odds are great, the flop will be cheap and pretty much guaranteed, and if you hit a monster, someone is bound to call or bet to you. Sure, you will miss more often than not, and you can throw away the hand as soon as it misses.  But when it hits, chances are you will win back what you lost and take a huge chunk of one or two other players’ stacks. I fold most small blinds, but if I know for a fact that big blind will check, and Im getting 4 or 5:1 on my money, I think the call is good with just about anything. Unless of course you are running out of chips.

This post is more for myself, to actually read what I am thinking so it might help me remember to be more disciplined with my opening range from early position, and my limp habits from small blind.  And the summary is this : 

If you KNOW for a fact that big blind will CHECK, AND there are at least 3 players including yourself in the hand, then go ahead and limp in from small blind with ANYTHING.   As long as you are not short-stacked.

and

If you are first to act pre-flop, and you are making a decision to enter the pot, release a lot of your favorite hands and tighten your range up a whole lot.  also depending on the table..  If you are viewed as ‘tight’ and you have folded many hands and showed down good hands earlier, then disregard all this.  But in an unpredictable game, fold the 67suiteds’ and the A8suiteds, and especially the KToffs and even KJoffs.   If someone acts before you pre-flop, and he calls, you have some breathing room here to limp in or even raise with those hands, this rule i invented here only applies if you are first to act after just receiving your cards. 

And that just might be the difference between getting first place 62% of the time and 66% percent of the time.  Or something.

Thank you, come again.

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