Every shove's a loser

About an hour and a half into a MTT, the field of 35 has winnowed down to 16, and it’s my turn to bust.

Hand #624185195

I’m dealt A8o in the BB seat, in for 1100 chips already, and sitting on about 7k, 14th/16 in the tournament, and a player in early position who has me covered by about 1200 chips raises to 3k.

I read this as a muck/shove situation. If I flat call, I’m in for half my stack, and will be all-in on the flop or turn for sure. If I shove, there’s a good chance V’s range beats mine, and I expect that to be the case about 7/10 of the time, and it’s very unlikely anyone folds to me when I shove, because my win-loss record when I go all-in preflop is about 7% lifetime.

On the other hand, if I fold A8o here, I’m probably overfolding, and failing to defend my BB. I will drop to 15th/16, and in another orbit or so if I don’t play another hand I’ll have bled down another 1.5BB, leaving me with a dwindling stack of maybe 5-5.5k. It’s possible I might see a better hand than A8o by then, but I don’t expect that. A8o is probably below the bottom end of my range, which is all the more reason to shove it if I think V might be persuaded to fold here, because I sure don’t want to try to outplay V postflop… but I’ve played this guy heads up enough and he knows I shove like a lunatic when I’m on tilt, and expects that I’m on tilt about 80% of the time or more.

So I re-raise all-in, and get snap-called by A4s. Flop pairs V’s 4, I miss the board, and am busted.

I note that this happens to me about 8/10 of the time when I have someone’s top card dominated with a better kicker, and it just doesn’t surprise me anymore.

All I’m wondering here is if the shove was a good move at this point in the tournament, or if I should have held on to my chips and bled slowly out to die at maybe 12th place instead, still well outside the chip winner slots. Obviously given the history I have with this player, it’s a no, and obviously given how I run in all-in hands, it’s a no, although everyone on these forums tells me that I’m not subject to some kind of fix or curse, and that these bad beats are all very normal. I get in “good” again and again against lesser hands and they come out better by showdown again and again. I’m thinking no, you just fold A8o and eat the BB for 1/8 of your stack in the face of a 3BB raise from early position, but I’d like someone who actually knows what they’re doing to weigh in, and tell me what this hand feels like for players who actually have halfway fair luck.

You should win there about 50%, lose maybe 30%, and chop the rest. I don’t think you had much fold equity, but you didn’t have 0, so I don’t mind the shove.

Then again, the universe loves me and wants me to be happy, and you are cursed, so you should probably fold.

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I might not be the best person to chime in here, but because I am comfortable playing with a short stack, I would’ve folded, unless you had a good read on the player. I expect a raise like this to mean he either has an Ace or a pair preflop. In this case, his kicker was worse, but paired. Usually when I shove AQ, it is into AA or AK, so I’d probably call or fold with A8. Your stack wasn’t short enough for me to take that risk, easier to fold here and a better spot will come. Of course, I am usually playing for tournament points as well as cashes, so every position counts. I watch people shove when the numbers say their stacks are low enough they should and I just fold to stay out of trouble. I might not win as much as some, but I make it a lot further than most. Most of the time I am within 5 positions of last place for long enough that 20+ people are eliminated before I am. :crazy_face: The key is patience and taking advantage of your table image. You figured this guy thought you were tilting most of the time, so that is when you tighten up your range, because he is probably going to call a reraise/shove and you want to make sure you are ahead. In my opinion, A8o just isn’t good enough.

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His table image only works the other way. :slight_smile:

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Patience is the necessary virtue. Without it, nothing else seems to work correctly.

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Thanks for the responses so far, everyone.

To clarify a few things… I’m more than happy to match up A8 against A4s for all the chips as many times as anyone wants to do it. Obviously the outcome is never going to favor me enough for it to be profitable, but on paper at least it should be.

Based on the matchup, this is a profitable place to shove, and I just didn’t get the good outcome this time. Probability tells me I’m good here, experience tells me anything but that, but I’ve been ignoring experience pretty much and expecting probability to take care of me in the long run. And maybe it is, since the slope of my earnings graph is positive overall, so if I look at it like that, maybe I’m just fine, not at all cursed.

I (mostly) get aggravated when my graph gets these “icicles” hanging off of it, which I’ve labeled 1-9 on this screen cap of my bankroll graph. Each one of them is a string of successive games where I ran bad, in a lot of times playing aggressively and getting bad-beat by inferior hole cards that coordinated just right with the community cards, but it kept happening to me, again and again, about 10+ games in a row, and always for big pots. (Except for #4, which we can ignore, as that was a time I sat down by mistake at a ring table for 4M chips and immediately left.)

But for purposes of this thread, my question is less about the specific matchup, and more about questions like these:

  • What range should I put an opponent on when they open to 3BB from that seat at this point in a MTT? (I was surprised to see he had A4s, was expecting something stronger, personally. I expected to see my hand dominated by a better Ace, or up against a pocket pair from 77+, or, best case, maybe a hand like KQs, KJs or QJs.)
  • What % of the time would shoving back into a 3BB open be expected to result in a fold?
  • How often should I be defending the BB against a 3X open, and with what kind of range can you do that profitably? (In this specific hand, I got a pretty good matchup; I don’t expect that A8o matches up all that well against what I typically expect would be V’s 3BB opening range in this spot.)
  • If sound poker strategy says I gotta fold A8o in the BB against a 3BB open for 1/2 my stack, then how patient can I realistically be?

My hand calculator tells me A8o is 58% against any two cards heads-up. One way to interpret that is that the hand is better than what I’d expect to randomly draw 58% of the time. On the absolute high end is AA, which is 85% to win against any two cards heads-up. If I increment my kicker from 8 to K, each stepping improves my hand strength only by about 1%, such that AKo is 64% to win against any two cards.

For pocket pairs, I have to go all the way down to 66, which is 62% vs any two cards – 77 is 65% vs. ATC.

So there’s clearly a lot of better hands than A8o that I could pick to shove, and I kindof knew that before I posted this thread. I think what I’d like to understand better is how many hands would I have to draw before I could expect to see one of them, how strong would that hand have to be before it’s really reasonable to shove a dwindling stack at this point in an MTT.

I mean, if fold absolutely everything, for several orbits, I may last 20-30 hands deeper into the tournament, and could possibly expect to see a few more players bust ahead of me by doing so. Which probably doesn’t put me any closer to finishing in-the-money, but if I’m also playing for tournament points, may be of benefit.

If I want to wait for a better hand to shove than A8o, then I’m looking for 55+, A9o+, A7s+, K9s+, QJs+ – it’s an interesting question to ask how patient do I need to be to see one of those hands show up, and will the number of hands I have to sit through to get to one of those better holdings be worth the drain in terms of blinds and antes sacrificed to see it.

If I might expect to hold out for 30 hands and see QQ+, but be down to only 1500-3000 chips by that time, is it worth it to double up at that point back to 3000-6000 chips, vs the lesser potential for doubling up with A8o when I have 7000 chips, albeit at the risk of busting 20-30 hands sooner? I don’t mind busting here if I can expect to double up 50% of the time and make a deeper run that will take me close to a money finish, but I’m wondering if I should rethink that. Being annoyed at being beaten by a weaker Ace that I dominate with this specific matchup is kindof beside the point, even if it sure is annoying to have outcomes like this seemingly 80% of the time when I play a hand for stacks.

It’s very difficult to eyeball-guess a thing like that, but I think A8o at this point is maybe pretty close to borderline OK to shove, but I expect it would be way better to shove from position, and especially if no one opens ahead of me.

I appreciate the insights and advice.

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He had zero fold equity and it was either a fold or a shove anyway. Neither player had enough behind to fold once they saw a flop. Of course the initial raise is nonsensical as well. Why don’t we reduce the fold equity we need but not have enough left behind to fold ourselves if we’re shoved back on? Shove or fold from this position (hint, its a shove) but don’t go halfway. You need to generate as much fold equity as possible with this type of hand and take the blinds/antes without a flop as often as you can.

@puggywug - This is really tiresome. You keep citing ridiculously small sample sizes that are 100% meaningless. You should know better. You do know better. Venting about these non-events does nothing for you or anyone else. I guarantee that I lost more all-ins yesterday than you have in the past 2 weeks (or more). The half dozen people I follow had more bad beats yesterday than you had in the past 3 months. This is for actual money, in many cases significant amounts of it. Everyone is playing dozens of MTT’s, plus rebuys. We all curse at the screen from time to time when our AA gets cracked by K5s but none of us think its anything other than random noise. None of us would even think about complaining about it to another poker player.

You are playing games where people allow themselves to get ridiculously short stacked. At that point it becomes all about variance - who gets the best cards and who wins the inevitable flips. If you find yourself with 6bb and its not a result of just having lost most of your stack, you probably missed your opportunity a while ago. Rather than whining about things, maybe it would be more productive to look back and see if there were things you could have done better before this hand?

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again - I like you. I think you have shown growth in your game over the time I’ve seen you here. You obviously care about it enough to work on getting better. However, your mental game needs attention. Sometimes you approach things rationally and other times you go off on rage-tilts and tales of misery. Because I like you I’m going to tell you the blunt truth: No one cares. You shouldn’t either. Only absolute fish complain about things beyond their control. Don’t be a fish.

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(13,953,647/167,256,500) X 100 = 8.34% ROI

  • <0% Very Bad. You’re losing money in the long run and probably doing everything wrong.
  • 0% Bad. Breaking even but still not getting paid for the effort you put in.
  • 10% OK. This is ok. You’re making more money than 95% of everyone else in MTTs.
  • 20%-30% Great. This is a very good ROI for MTTs. You’re probably in the top 3% of the field.
  • 30 – 80% Pro’s. Professionals will aim for 40%+ ROI in MTTs.

8% ROI isn’t very good. I think you are your own curse. You take one bad beat, then give up. Your main problem is mental. Seek professional help. Real life has more stresses than free poker, how you act on the table reflects reality. I’m not kidding… SEEK PROFESSIONAL HELP before you hurt yourself or someone else.

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I do agree that my shove had 0% fold equity, especially against this specific opponent.

Blinds had grown large quickly in this tournament, and I needed to double up if I wanted to have a realistic shot at continuing. A8o was not an ideal hand to do it with, but I didn’t hold out a lot of hope of seeing a better hand before I lost another 1.5k of my stack to the blinds, plus 700 worth of antes. Which means if I don’t see a better hand by the next time I’m in for the BB, and I just fold everything that isn’t a shove-worthy hand, I’d have bled from 7k down to, what about 4800, 4500 chips, and have even less shove equity, and with a potential to double up to fewer chips and still be short-stacked? All to last just 9 more hands than I did?

I can’t really help that, other than to not post anything at all. The mods tell me I’m not allowed to post more than 1 hand per day, which makes it impossible for me to post a statistically significant sample of my hands.

Part of the reason there’s so few hands, though, is that this bad-beat stuff doesn’t happen on small and average size pots. I win my fair share of those, and lose nearly every huge pot. Some of that can be explained by getting called by better hands, but way too many of them are bad beats.

Boo hoo, no one cares about anyone else’s bad beats, I get it.

Yeah, there’s an element of bitterness and grousing in the title of this thread. In the moment, I’m just furious that yet again I get beat by a hand I supposedly dominate, as though that were the natural order of things. I don’t expect anyone else to care about it, or have sympathy for me. And I can’t very well get anyone to believe me that I really do have this terrible luck when I commit a lot of my stack preflop, regardless of what I’m holding or what the opponent who calls me is holding. Not unless I can data-mine my entire hand history and demonstrate conclusively that the numbers defy probability-based expectation. And even then who cares. It’s not your chips. It’s not real money. Right?

Why I care: I am trying to learn and improve my game. My rate of bankroll growth is a key metric for this. I grind out a number of wins, and feel like I’m playing pretty good. Then I go on a slide where, through typical variance, I lose maybe 2-3 games in a row. Then it snowballs and I lose 6-10 in a row. Or 18. Then I quit, come back the next day, and grind it back up again. My bankroll graph ends up with “icicles” which, if I could manage to eliminate them, I’d have the kind of win rate that @SunPowerGuru would call “great”.

I agree, an 8% ROI isn’t very good, but that’s over my entire Replay career, and I’ve definitely gotten better over time. More recently, I’m about break-even, which still isn’t very good, and certainly has me pretty frustrated a lot of the time lately. But then, I’m still seeing very modest bankroll growth while playing a lot of very high variance short stack SNG turbos. Maybe if I put that into the equation, the perspective shifts and I can recognize that I’m playing about as well as can be expected, and should just find a different structure of game where I can see my skills and decision making pay off better.

Let’s say half of those “icicle” losses are caused by me getting angry and throwing chips away because I’ve become convinced that the site is going to punish me for playing, no matter what cards I get or how I play them, and if I quit doing that, I solve most of my problem immediately. I could buy that. I haven’t managed to do it, yet, but I keep trying to master my emotions. I struggle with it at times, and it gets the better of me still. If I ever achieve it, I’ll be a much stronger player. I’m still trying to work at it.

This is true; in the game that the hand this post is talking about happened, I had some pretty good hands early on – KK twice, and won nice pots both times, I’d been up as high as 10k chips, but had tried to play a few hands and had to fold them when they didn’t work out for me, and drained down to 6k. Along the way, I had to tighten my range up, and stop considering playing middle connectors, and missed two straights that would have won me some very nice pots and put me right back up toward the top of the leaderboard. Maybe I should have played those hands. I don’t know how I can though, in the face of the types of opens that players lead into the preflop action with, though. Maybe I just have to lose that fear, or maybe I need to trust my “psychic” sense that tells me when I feel like I might hit a big draw. I don’t believe in psychic powers, but when I get those feelings they’re often right, so maybe I should forget about ranges and math and trust my gut more. But I don’t think so.

You’re also right that the tournament formats on this site all tend to turn into short-stack games where variance is a major factor. Variance may or may not be constant, but it is always felt most acutely when the stakes are highest. We don’t notice variance if two players limp, check to the river, and one wins with bottom pair over two unmatched overcards that the loser was afraid to bluff on. If they go all-in preflop, and 34 hits a pair of 33s and KO’s AK who blanks the board, we notice stuff like that.

Thing is, if I try to counter this subjective perception of variance by trying for a small ball strategy, I tend to get bluffed off of pots where I really had a better hand. I put in 1/3 pot for Top pair Nice Kicker, and get raised 3X pot by middle pair, weak kicker. And when I do call, 2/3 of the time they’ll hit trips on the Turn or else pair their weak kicker.

So when’s the variance supposed to swing my way? Well, in order to do that, I guess I have to play more junk hands, so I can get lucky with them. But the junk hands win for me about as much as probability says to expect them to, so that only loses me more chips.

And you’re right, no one cares.

I play a lot of high variance games because that’s what I need to do to figure out how to prevail more in high variance games.

But maybe I should try mixing in some of these short stack turbo SNG games, and play some ring where the blinds never go up and you can always be at 100-200BB stack size. Or maybe I should play some LHE in addition to no-limit, and absorb the lessons of experience that probability really does work out the way it should there, so I can quit second guessing my murphy’s law luck, and rather than playing single games so I can focus on making good decisions, I should play a high volume of hands and just let the law of averages smooth out my variance to where it doesn’t feel like anything anymore.

Actually, it’s not. ROI is a much better indication. The slope of your growth is highly dependent on stakes and volume, and neither of these has much to do with skill. Just for comparison…

aa roi

So 38.5% ROI. Is this great? I don’t think so, but it’s probably a better metric. You aren’t playing to impress me, I’m not playing to impress you.

There’s an idea. Table/format selection id a crucial part of pokering.

You know and admit that tilt is a big part of your problem, and have tried to master it for a long time. You have failed. There’s no shame in talking to someone who can help you with this. I’m serious, you should consider talking to someone before you do something to hurt yourself or someone you love.

Everyone should keep in mind this is a Poker Strategy, Hand Review or supposed to be.

This hand “feels” like you got it in good & got a little unlucky and now expect sympathy. Yes its unlucky, but its short stack MTT poker. This will happen often considering blind structures are not great on RP. Players will get it in bc the structures don’t allow for much deep stack play and dictate the necessity to shove or fold often.

Im not a good MTT player so no I don’t really “know” what Im doing in a MTT, but I would barely bat an eye lid over this loss. This kind of thing happens semi often to me in SnGs & ring games especially when I’m running really bad, which happened for about a week recently. Accept the fact you got it in good & learnt something about Villain that is helpful for future meets. I would have often folded but you made a good decision to shove it in good & got unlucky.

For a fair while now I’ve been trying to think\focus about how a losing hand makes me feel and very often impedes my ability to intelligently & objectively analyse. I’m trying to be less result orientated, get less upset by bad luck, bad play getting rewarded, even laugh, and be happy I got it in good.

Generally speaking this hand isn’t groundbreaking, significant or overly interesting. It’s not terribly bad luck, nor did you play it badly. It’s mostly just something that happens often at times to every player - a bit of bad luck.

It seems your pretty ok with how you played the hand, & OFC you should always be reasonably happy to get it in good and even more so when your decision to do so was overall good.

Specifically RE this hand & every other hand you post try to be objective & not result orientated, otherwise the discussion isn’t really a discussion & is mostly pointless or against the purpose of: Poker Strategy, Hand Review.

Personally I’m inclined to fold & am probably over folding this spot bc I feel like Villain often has a hand that has Hero crushed very often. I would shove based on an understanding that Villain is betting in EP with some weak hands, & the short stack especially considering its isolated to HU.

That said I’m probably playing too conservatively & looking for an opportunity that may not come and when/if it does a shorter stack will pay less & almost never force a fold anyway. As I think you realise & have made the point, and many others have too: this opportunity is as good as it probably will get. You can’t wait to get lucky at the cost of shrinking your stack. I’m sure you have made this type of play against AK/AQ etc to get lucky & sucked out without giving it a lot of thought & forgetting fairly quickly.

The fact that Villain shows up with such an unexpected weak hand adds to the fact that intuitively and subconsciously your shove was better than you realise & better than I would have guessed - it was a good shove.

I don’t think a decent player is ever folding after raising nearly 40% of their stack. Maybe less than 5% of bad players could possibly fold occasionally to a shove & play bad enough to make it a worthwhile consideration? Its a situation not really worthwhile contemplating IMO as it should be so rare? OFC my assumption (5%) is purely whimsical and a bingo bango guesstimate. I can’t expect many players to raise and then fold - it makes no sense. OFC I have seen things that are much more ridiculous than that but I’m not betting on it.

There seems to be a lot of “tough love” regarding this hand already. I know it hurts but I think it could generally help improve your overall game significantly if you could objectively filter the meaningful & intelligent “tough love.” Some of the “tough love” is criticism for the sake of criticism and not Constructive Criticism, but most of it is genuine.

I think you played the hand OK, and are trying find a way to generate more luck. Realistically I don’t think there is much to learn from this hand.

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MTTs Played 2829
MTTs In The Money 1023 (36.16%)
MTTs Net Profit 14,063,647 chips
MTTs Buy-In Total 167,456,500 chips

I’m at 36.16% MTTs ITM, which is considerably more than your 29.33%, but my ROI sucks compared to yours.

I gather you must have a much larger portion of wins, while I must have a lot more 3rd place finishes, in order for the ROI figure to be so drastically different.

And yeah, I’d like to figure out how to fix that.

So, you might ask, how does one learn how to do better past the bubble so that they can convert more of those 3rd place finishes into 1st place finishes?

My answer to that has been to try to get experience in that situation by playing a lot of short stack 3-max turbos. I’m trying to learn to win them regularly, but it seems that I’m not learning the right lesson. I haven’t asked the question, “what’s a reasonably good win rate at 3-max?” If the game has any kind of skill to it, a good player can expect to win them better than 1-in-3. But there’s probably an upper limit to how much someone can expect to win this format as well, and I don’t really have any idea where math would put that limit. Is it 50%? 2/3? 80% 40%? I really have no idea.

So if I’m aspiring to be good at 3-Max, and I think that means a 60% win rate, and math suggests that a very good win rate at 3-Max is, say 45%, then I’m going to drive myself nuts chasing the unattainable, thinking there’s something wrong with me, or something wrong with the cards, when really it’s just the way the game is set up.

I also expect that if I’m learning, a byproduct of this will be that my play will be profitable. But can’t I also learn when I’m losing? I think if I put the focus on learning rather than winning tournaments, it could change my perspective dramatically. I could learn from 100% of my games, then, and stop fooling myself into thinking I’ve learned because my win rate happens to be up over the last N games.

Maybe I will try to think about the game in that way.

I do also think that format selection is another part of this that could be throwing me out of whack emotionally. If I’m playing exclusively high variance formats, and I’m not emotionally geared for it, I’m going to go on tilt a lot. I can either learn to handle it or not. I have struggled, and I have no problem admitting as much. Poker’s a hard game, and to get good at it you have to play against opponents who challenge you.

You say I’ve failed, I guess you could say that, and maybe you’re right. I’d rather say I’ve had breakdowns and setbacks, but real failure happens if I give up.

I’ve had a large number of failures to control my tendency to go on tilt, and when it gets really bad I have acted in a manner that I’m not proud of. I’ve done it more “publicly” than other players, maybe, because of what I say in chat and on forum. Maybe that’s a mistake, too. Maybe it’s just another part of my learning process.

I could say that I can’t handle the stress of the game, and that the lesson to learn from repeated failure to be perfect at handling the stress is to give up. But I don’t think I should have to be perfect. I think I just have to do better. And so you may see the failures because I come here and publicize them, but maybe you don’t see the progress as much.

I am not ready to give up. I will re-center myself and try again, as many times as it takes, until I learn the right lessons, or until I become ready to give up.

I’ve actually been running pretty good lately, which is neither here nor there, I suppose. Maybe it means I’ve learned something and maybe it doesn’t.

Here’s what my record looks like going back to June 24:

Format Finish
3-max 1st
3-max 3rd
HU 1st
HU 1st
6-max MTT 24/33
3-max 1st
HU 2nd
3-max 1st
3-max 1st
HU 1st
3-max 1st
9-max MTT 16/35
HU 1st
9-max MTT 32/35
HU 2nd
HU 1st
HU 1st
HU 1st

So, OK, I did pretty darn lousy in the MTTs, but that’s a lot of wins, and overall I’ve been profitable over this run, which helps me feel OK. Probably there’s things to learn about MTT, or maybe the skill level of the field in those games is just that much harder, or maybe I just couldn’t catch a break for 3 games in a row. I’m not kicking myself over it. Sure, I got mad at the one hand that resulted in my exit in 16th, which started this thread but that only lasts a short time, and I think from the W/L record since then, I haven’t had a problem with tilt preventing me from winning games.

Thanks, @DogsOfWar.

I would say that I’m not looking for sympathy when I post bad beat hands like this; I only seek understanding. How is it that I get in “good” and time and time again see the hand go south?

I think the rest of your analysis/advice is well considered and well-said, so not a lot of need to respond to it. I hear it, and I agree. I posted this hand not because I wanted sympathy, but because I was pretty split as to whether the shove was good or not, and I wanted to get some perspectives and consensus.

Outcome aside, I agree – at the time I felt like my opponent’s range should crush A8o, and I was surprised/relieved to see I had his Ace dominated when we flipped up. I only feared him hitting a flush board or his bottom card, and sure enough he hit his bottom card. Whoops, just my luck, once again. Oh well. I was very close to folding this hand preflop, too, but given the SBR and the rising blinds, I felt like I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to wait for something better, even though it wasn’t a premium hand to die on.

This thread started out about that hand specifically, but has taken a turn to talk about my tendency to tilt after bad beats. So I just had a game where I think it illustrates that this is perhaps somewhat overstated, and I’ll talk about it here.

First, yes, I absolutely do rage-tilt way too much. But it’s not predicated on a single bad hand. It’s usually 3-4 game-ending hands in a row where I had my opponent’s hole cards badly dominated and they somehow sucked out. Or when I get someone down to their last couple hundred and can’t put them away, and they come back and win it from me after I had dominated them for 20-25 minutes, by winning 2-3 hands in a row once the blinds had gotten big enough that it meant a lot of the chips were going in the middle.

Anyway, the hand in question. I woke up this morning around 4:30am after sleeping for maybe 2 hours, waking up from a bad dream. I check the lobby and see a guy sitting at a HU SNG 25k, so I jump in and we get going.

I don’t have history with this player, and I’m not too sure of myself, but he seems to be pretty good at winning hands and also at getting me to fold. I managed to get up over him, though, and had a 4k:1k stack advantage when this hand occurred:

Hand # 624625322 – I’m on the button with about 4k, V is in the BB with 1k. I’m holding QTs, and raise to 2BB, to 60. V raises to 210, I call. Flop is 44T, giving me top pair, but a worry about the pair of 4s. I don’t put V on a random 4, so when they shove, I read it as a bluff, and I call. V flips up A9s, they’re bluffing air, and I have them. Except they river an Ace, and I don’t have them anymore.

If I’d been in the midst of a 4-game string of games that all ended in such fashion, I’d probably get increasingly tilted. Here, though, I take it in stride. I absorb the loss, now I’m about 3:2 over him in stacks, so I still have the advantage, I just need to keep my cool and go to work.

I still don’t really know what I’m doing against this guy, I just try to play as best I can and hope that I have a good read on his line post-flop.

I hit bottom pair, 44s with 54s, and it holds up, I win 180 chips. I get KK the next hand, V folds the SB to me and I lose the opportunity to win a worthy pot. I get A6o and raise small, he re-raises from 80 to 540, and I honestly don’t know if he’s just playing weak raises like this for steals, or if he really has something, so I give it up. The next hand I get pocket 22s and shove it; he folds.

The next hand, I get 85o and pair the 5 for middle pair, neither of us puts in anything after the flop, and I win 80 chips. So the mood or tone from one hand to the next is all over the place – one hand we’re super aggressive, the next we’re afraid to put in a chip. I raise A7o, he folds, I get Q6s, and flop middle pair, 66s, check the flop, and he pots it at me. I check the Turn and he pots it again, and I call, probably a bad move. On the river, I shove, and he folds. The board ran out 36J78, so I guess I convinced him that I hit a straight, and maybe it got him to lay down top pair; if so, good. Or maybe he just had nothing and was trying to bluff me with strong bets from position. Either way, it’s the Play of the Game for me: Hand #624625842.

Now I’m back up again to that same 4:1 stack advantage where I was at when I lost the Tens and Fours to a river Ace.

I fold the next several hands: Q3o, 64s to a big raise, 75o, 83o, 62o. I get K9o and raise, he folds. A7o, I call a 2BB raise, and pair the Ace on the turn after a no-action flop, bet it, and take 160 chips. Stacks still at 4:1.

I raise T9o 2BB, and he re-raises to 357, I fold. I get T9s, and he raises 3BB to 120, this time I call; I flop a straight, 7-J, and check it; he shoves A2, pairs the Ace on the turn, but it does him no good at all, he’s drawing dead and I win the hand and the game.

Apart from shoving the 22 there, I don’t think I did anything particularly risky. I think calling with QT for top pair, TT44Q against a shove of the size that he had shoved is probably mandatory, and I would have been pretty unsurprised if he’d done that with a hand like A4s making Trips, Nut kicker. To get beat on the river with his Ace was slightly annoying, and not getting any action whatsoever when I had pocket KKings was too, but I didn’t let it upset me, I just played on and got to a situation where calling the shove was virtually a guaranteed no-lose proposition, got the shove, and took the win that he handed to me.

I don’t know that it means I played especially well, or that I learned anything; but I had a good game, I enjoyed it, and the outcome wasn’t bad, either.

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I think that plugin counts SnGs as MTTs. Most (?) SnGs pay the top 33%, and I think MTTs pay the top 10%. I mostly play MTTs. 29% ITM when 10% get paid is almost 3x the expectation, while 36% is just over the 33% paid threshold. I do play some SnGs, so my numbers aren’t “pure,” but that accounts for at least some of the difference.

I didn’t say you failed at poker, I said you seem to have failed to get your emotions out of the game, at least so far.

Also, when I said you present a danger, I don’t mean you are going to grab an assault rifle and unload on people at the mall. If poker affects your mood so much, it has a negative effect on you and those around you. It’s all too easy to take our frustrations out on those around us.

I’m not going to detail the long list of disturbing behaviors you have exhibited here on the forums, at least not in public. I’m 100% serious when I suggest you find someone you can talk to about it. PM me and I will detail my specific concerns, but I am in no way qualified to help you.

I think you should play a lot of the lowest variance games you can find. Forget 3-max for now. I suggest you pick one of the regionals, and try to win the leaderboard.

I might also suggest that you watch the average chip count, and vary your aggro to stay a comfortable amount above it. When below, crank it up, when above, dial it back a bit. Get to the final table with an above average stack, and you will be in a good position to win.

You’re right that the plugin counts SNGs as “MTT”. I recognize they’re different things, but I don’t have an easy way to separate the two co-mingled datasets at the moment. I could do some spreadsheet wizardry to figure it out, though, with a few hours of spare time if I wanted. But for the purposes of this conversation, I don’t know that it’s necessary to go beyond what I can immediately tell you, which is that I play almost exclusively SNGs, and very few MTT. Since late July of 2018, I’ve been playing mostly 9-max SNGs, starting out at 10k or 25k, and moving up to 100k about a year ago. I’ll play ring NLHE once in a while, usually if it’s late and I can’t find a SNG that’s filling up quickly enough, and I have the itch to get some hands in. And I will very occasionally take a sample of Omaha or Royal, but I don’t particularly enjoy either of those games.

For the past few months I’ve been playing mostly 3-max and HU, for the reasons I’ve stated above: to try to figure out how to play the endgame phase of SNGs and MTTs better, looking for an edge that will give me more 1st place wins, or get me as deep in to the money as I can in the larger MTTs.

I think it’s good advice to seek some lower-variance games as well in order to balance out the variance, and maybe that will help me to accept the higher variance in the 3-max games. Maybe I’ll find that it’s so profitable to play in these lower variance games that I’ll forget all about trying to figure out 3-max, or at least accept that in those situations, a lot of the time I’ll lose despite having whatever skill edge I might have, or think I have. I do think that the idea of trying to play them for profit, when I think I’m playing them to learn something about the game, is one that I should abandon.

All things considered this hand evened out for the most part. Yes you were unlucky to get sucked out on but were lucky to hit a flop anyway. The button raise was good. I have no idea about this V but I would seriously consider folding preflop to the 210 raise which is pretty strong and throw away 30 chips. Obviously depends on V but I think he tells you your beat & to beat it, fold & look for a better spot. Maybe you understand this V is 3betting light? Then you could make a case for calling QsTs otherwise it just feels like unnecessary gambling.

The blinds are still minimum & you have done great to get get over half V’s stack. I’m pretty confident you could probably pick your spots better, gamble more responsibly & outplay this player. With min blinds, a big stack you got plenty of time left & no pressure.

OFC QsTs is not a terrible button 3bet call, but IMO you should realise its probably a gamble. You cant always call with the best hand, or expect to play the best hand in position.

You will need to gamble responsibly in poker especially HU. You need accept the risk if your prepared to gamble and you need to understand that everything you do at the table is a gamble

@puggywug - I understand that you are trying to get better at this game. So, other than playing more, what are you doing to improve? Are you spending any time at all off the tables studying the game? You have access to tons of free material and I hope you are taking advantage of some of it.

For tournament content that is practical, try https://gumroad.com/assassinato - sign up for the free strategy updates and you’ll have material to study nearly every day.

I have a suggestion for you to make these Forum threads more productive: Instead of posting a specific hand, why don’t you try to ask a question about a recurring spot that is giving you trouble? Maybe you are having issues with opening ranges or with when/how much you should c-bet? How do you play top pair multiway or how do you play certain draws? IMO, it would be more helpful to address the concepts than worry about any specific hand. There are quite a number of people here who would be happy to help you out.

ADDED: If you are trying to get better at the game, stay away from the hyper-turbo SNG’s. They are nearly worthless for your stated purpose. All they will do is tilt you because of the high variance (unless you are playing 8+ at a time and 100+ a day to get you used to it).

ADDED PART 2: Don’t try to compare ROI’s for MTTs to SNGs as you will not get any useful information out of it. MTT players will experience much higher variance and should look for significantly higher ROI’s than SNG players.

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I’m not sure I am understanding what you’re saying here. Are you saying that MTT players need a better ROI to overcome the higher variance? Isn’t the variance already accounted for in the ROI?

I always look for a higher ROI, I just never seem to find one.

If someone plays 100 tournaments in a month and adds 2 million to their bank, then plays 200 tournaments the next month and adds 4 million, this doesn’t mean they got twice as good at the game. If you are trying to gauge progress, it seems to make sense to normalize for volume, stakes, formats, and so on. ROI seems to be a better metric.

Like any metric, small sample sizes won’t give you very meaningful data.

I don’t really care about free chip “profit.” 5 million, 50 million, 500 million, what’s the difference? Multiply each by it’s value (zero) and it’s all the same. The same is true for ROI, of course.

My main metric is FF, or fun factor. I measure this in giggles, in how many times I spray coke all over my screen, and how many times I laugh so hard that snot gushes out of my nose. My profit is the number of new people I meet, the friends I make, and the conversations we have. Any other metric seems ludicrous to me.

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Yes. In a SNG, you have a 1:3 chance of cashing. In a standard MTT you have a 1:8 chance. The maximum win in a 9-player SNG is 4.45x buyins (inc fees) where in a large field MTT, the top spot can pay 100’s-1000’s of buyins. Because there is a higher risk factor in entering an MTT vs a SNG, the prospective returns must also be higher (or no one would play them for money). Its the same economic principle that requires equities to have higher expected rates of return than government bonds. More risk always demands higher returns.

Also, MTT ROI’s are extremely unreliable on their face. You can have 1 large win (WSOP Main) and not cash a single other tournament for the rest of your life and still show a massive ROI. What does that ROI really tell us about the skill of the player? On its face it shows a crusher but if we look deeper, we will likely see a massively losing player who had 1 exceptional lucky run. SNGs don’t have those wild swings so present a much better picture of how a player is doing at any given stakes. There are ways to normalize MTT ROI’s to give better information but that’s not relevant here.

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