3-Max SNG used to be my jam. I got to hone my heads-up play at them. When you win, it’s a lot of chips, and the stacks are so small, they’re usually over in like 5-10 minutes, so you can win a lot of chips with them very quickly. Thing is, you can lose a lot of chips with them pretty quickly as well. But they’re the best value for building chips in a short amount of time, if you’re good.
Looking back at that 2nd place finish in tonight’s Home of Hold Em MTT, in analyzing my play, I really didn’t play better. I just happened to get a few very lucky breaks.
I got dealt AK, flopped a King, shoved, got called by the big stack, who held K3 and had flopped 2 Pair KK33. I ended up with a Straight, A-5.
My biggest pot win, I had flopped a pair of Queens with a hearts draw on a scary board with 2 7s on it, and my opponent called my shove holding trip 7s, only to have me suck out hitting my flush draw with runner runner hearts.
One time, holding A4, I flopped into bottom pair, used a min bet as a feeler/blocker, got just a call, and then the Turn gave me trip 4’s, allowing me to bet down the hand. I didn’t get value for hitting the trips, since my pot-sized bet induced my opponent to fold, so I should have sized better for value. But I was happy enough to not have to fold. Can’t seem to find the link to that hand.
Here’s a hand: I have ATo, and raise from BB, and get 2 callers. I miss the flop, K29rainbow, and try to bluff by betting my overcard, and get called. The Turn pairs my Ace, so I shove and my opponent folds. Here I might have extracted more value as well, but missed the opportunity. If it wasn’t for the lucky Turn, I would have lost a lot of chips here, empty bluff against Kings.
A few hands later, I’m dealt J2s in the BB, limp in, hit a flush and don’t get value out of the river card because I bet the river too big:
Another time I got dealt J2o in the BB, limp in, hit top Pair with a runner-runner spade draw, and buy the pot, inducing 5 folds. Here, this was intentional, I wanted everyone to fold, because I was afraid of my Jacks not holding up, or my kicker not being good, so I bet it like I had JJ, and it worked.
Here I am, ATo on the button, I limp in because the blinds are so high and my stack’s not big enough for me to want to get overcommitted with AT, but I do want to play it, so we’re 5-handed to see the flop. The flop is scary – a pair of 3s, but I pair the Ace. First to act min-bets, only the SB folds. The Turn, a 9, no one bets, so I min-bet, and the first two players fold, leaving me heads-up for the river, a Ten, giving me 2 pair. I’m still beat if this guy holds a 3, but the CO checks to me, I min-bet it and he folds, even though his stack dominates mine 5:1 and I’m nearly all-in. I can’t say I played this hand well, but everyone else in it played it worse than me.
Here, I have K6 in the BB, blinds are massive. I limp, pair the King, my opponent the great big stack bets into me, I call, he checks the Turn and I min bet and he gives up. I recognize this – a player with a massive stack advantage will often try to bully the small stacks off of hands by betting into them, betting the minimum amount as a low-risk feeler bet – and it often works – but not when the small stack hits top pair.
Another one: I’m sitting in the Hijack, with KTo, and limp in. We’re 5-handed. Maybe I should have raised here, or even shoved, and tried to just buy the pot preflop. The blinds were so big at this point, it would have been enough. Instead, we see the flop, and I hit my King but there’s also an Ace. Heedless, I fire off a pot-sized bet, to which they all fold, and I take it down.
A6s in the SB, I limp, flop hits my Ace, I close the hand with a half-pot sized bet:
Blind steal with AK:
Overall, I think I played well enough to get 2nd place, relative to the talent I was up against here, with no small thanks due to the cards I got to play. But in several situations I left value on the table by betting too much, and that contributed to me having a significant stack disadvantage at the final table. I’m not saying that if I’d managed to get better value out of each of those hands that I would have won the whole thing. But it might have changed the outcome.
The problem I’ve been having, when I try to make the transition between betting too much when i think I’m ahead, and winning the hand through folding, and placing just the right-sized value bet that I can extract maximum value for my hand, I end up letting players back in to suck out against me on the turn or river, and then I end up losing value instead of extracting more. So at times I tend to be overly aggressive, particularly in river situations where I just hit my draw. Maybe the next thing I need to learn is how to value bet.