Non LB vs LB vs Promo LB Strategies

Each kind of LB has its own exploits and its own demands on the players.
Sng Monthly LBs are ( ave of xxx ) where xtra SnGs chg +/- that average.
MTT Monthly LBs are ( best of xxx ) where xtra MTTs only chg + the total.
League LBs can have ( 1st of xx ) where its frozen @ your 1st xx games.
Regional LBs are ( best of ) but capped @ 2 specific per day during 1 month.
Promo LBs can be just about anything, including marathon events.

Exploiting the differences between (ave of) (best of) (1st of) or any other metric is just the nature of the beast really. All of these tho can be exploited by the profit only player as well as the LB player.

This is a popular topic, so I gave it its own thread.
Hopefully we get an informative discussion that benefits newer players.


I’m interested in this topic. I play a lot of Astral league SNG, and I do try to play for the promotional bonus chips, on both the First 20 and Best 20 boards. I’m not sure about exploiting these leagues, but when I’ve been most successful, I’ve just played my best game. Maybe my “best game” strategy is distorted by the fact that I’m playing mostly SNG games, and I’m playing in such fashion that exploits the format, without realizing that that’s what I’m doing.

I’ve taken a variety of approaches week by week to play these games. Typically when I put up my best numbers on the leaderboard, I’m not playing a huge amount of these SNG games – Astral League gives us a First 20 and Best 20 board, and there’s also a monthly Best 60 board, where your points are the sum of your first 60 games, and once you reach 60 your points are the average of all games played during the month, multiplied by 60.

Of these, the First 20 board is the hardest to do well in. Your First 20 games are written in stone, and if you don’t do well in them, you can’t continue playing and try to do better. So for your First 20 points, you have to try to win as many games as you can, but you also want to avoid busting early. If you lose a big pot such that you’re no longer a threat at the table, you want to hang on for as long as you can and hope you outlast other players. So, fold, fold, fold, and hope the table ignores you and you get into the bubble.

For the Best 20 leaderboard, you can improve your position on the board by playing a lot of games. But this is usually not worthwhile, unless you’re winning chips in these games. Once you’ve logged your 20th game, any additional tournament points you earn don’t count toward your Best 20 unless you finish higher than your 20th best game, and the additional points that you get to add to your Best 20 are only the difference between what you actually earned for that game, minus the score that you pushed off the bottom of the Best 20. Because of the tournament point payout structure, this usually means you’re not going to advance much on the board unless you take 1st or 2nd in games 21+.

For the Monthly Best 60, if I’ve played very well for the entire month, and so find myself near the top of this board, I may shut down and quit playing once I reach 60 games, rather than risk losing tournament points by hitting a slide that lowers my AVG(60). Usually I’m not taking bonus chips from my Best 60 placing, because I usually go on a slide for a week or two each month, and end up with too many 6th or worst finishes, which kills my average. But on at least two occasions I’ve kept it together for an entire calendar month and ended up with 1st or 2nd on the Monthly SNG leaderboard.

One more thing: Astral League has 6-Max as well as 9-Max tournaments. I always play the 9-Max, because the tournament points earned per game is higher. If I get points from only 20 games, I want those earnings per game to be the most I can possibly get. I actually enjoy playing 6-Max MTTs more than 9-Max MTTs, which would suggest that I would also enjoy 6-Max SNG more as well, but due to the chip payouts as well as the tournament points payouts, I don’t usually play in them at all in Astral League.

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We can go thru this specific LB by specific LB,
we can also look @ this generically…

Lets take a look @ that Non LB Player, shall we…

They don’t care prolly about LBs, don’t check them, sometimes don’t notice what they are playing is for a LB, they are there for 1 reason - Profit.
If in general the V here is overly agressive ( for like a best of / marathon ) or passive ( for like a 1st of ) because of a leaderboard, then the non-LB player can use this to thier advantage by adjusting thier V’s range/tendancies accordingly.

Someone who is playing quantity over quality will see more flops, have a wider hand, and will call/bet out/shove preflop more often, so … The NonLB player should be punishing those players for playing crap hands or incorrectly. Be carefull though if KOs are tracked, because KO hunters will look for any opportunity to bust someone.
Those playing quality only, will be less likely to call most/all of thier stack , early on , without a strong/premium hand. The NonLB player needs to play tighter against these playersm knowing thier range is prolly smalller.

Leverage and Motivation is the key. The profit-only player doesn’t care, nor should they make stupid moves. Thier game gets better, just by noticing what the rest of the players’s motivation is and using that to a leverage advantage when possible. The who-cares player also doesn’t care about any LBs, but they are lumped into catagory, the marathoners/ultra-agro players, basically as wild card players.

Lets face it, -BlackWidow- is a tremendous player. She makes it look effortless and seems never to get rattle’d. RPOS this year, I think she played 4 of the 10, Elite MTT events… yet was top 5(ish) on the LB without even trying basically. She didn’t play that different of a game really than elite rings, but she is aware of those players who are exploitable. Don’t think I have seen her play SnG, but I have rings/MTTs… so I’ll extrapolate her SnG game to be as good as her MTT game.

this is what @1Warlock is talking about, where a strong player’s game only gets better when they tweak it for the clash of strategies. Its the same thing that FloridaJetSki also talks about when he talks about exploitative gameplay.

Motivation becomes leverage for add’d pressure. Its no different than (2) nonLB players close to bubbletime… one tightens up, the other opens up. As SunPowerGuru has explained, when the table goes tight, go loose… and visa-versa. Not all that different either, is using your stack as your leverage.

Exploitation is just that, Exploitation. It doesn’t matter what your goal is, adding in those hands where you win due to just paying attn, increases the bottom line (profit/stack size).

Players like Puggywug want specific Exploits. While thats possible, its more helpfull, I think, to understand the mindset behind the exploits. Obviously if a player needs/wants a top 3 finish, and there’s 4-5 ppl left… then they will tend to play tighter untill it hits 3 players. Conversely, if its a marathon, a player might shove preflop with far less than a premium hand. If KOs are tracked thats even another layer to consider.

Its quite possible the top players simply know which players are more exploitable , and if-so how. Leaderboard metrics just tell ppl what the exact exploit is. They don’t have to guess what you’re playing for, they already know it, and just makes thier job easier.

NonLB players’s game won’t change much once they hit that “1st of” limit and progress into the “best of” territory, whereas the LB players’s game usually flopflops from tight to loose once they pass that limit. “ave of” shouldn’t change much either as these players play fairly consistently over time.

The biggest advanteges come when 2 stratagies are opposite. Like Tight vs Loose.


I was just looking at the promo LB. I noticed that most of the people who were top ten on one board were very close to the same spot on the other. For instance, you are 3 on one, and 6 on the other. For me, it’s 29th on t points, and 14th on KOs. Been that was from the beginning, and sometimes the gap has been larger. Any idea why that is?
I did get 8 KOs in my 2nd game, but that shouldn’t account for such an offset. were the points from the previous promo included in the total? I didn’t play it very much.

All Leaderboards, promo or regular, always start from scratch, there is NO carryover from another event. ( unless you count a 1st-7 game also counting for best-7 and the monthly )

SS-SnGs is a marathon w/KOs. I finished that same 6th (tpts) and 3rd (KOs). When you’re talking more than 150-200 SnGs, then you start to average out over time , both T-pts and KOs per SnG played.

You said you got 8 KOs in 1 SnG, thats awesome but not sustainable over time, but does account for the offset. While the maximum Pts are achieved by 1 person every time, Max KOs are rare…

Checking my acct :
I played 174 games, with a net profit around 75,000 bankroll.
I had 236 KOs earned, and 1,181,019 T-pts … wasnt even close to 5th.
Bonus was 300k for 3rd, and 120k for 6th, total of 420k in bonus.

When my KO ratio was 1.35 per game played, 8 KOs in 1 game is way above median value. Thats why the offset from 26th to 14th.

As all the regular promo players are playing, the +/- doesn’t change much over time. Yes players can catch up on really good games, but the biggest moves are made when some players are offline and other players are playing. Magnify that by who can multi-table effectively. More games per hour = more pts/KOs per hour.

As far as points go, it was always really who spent more time playing or played more tables @ same time. All the top Spots were taken by seasoned Promo players, and that guy Jake_Rake who also played a very simmilar game to the rest of us. He did great. All in all I did slightly better than expected, only due to more games played that I thought I’d have time for/wanted to play.

What we don’t see is how many games each player actually played. T-pts ranged from 17500 down to 4000, with 2nd being 12500 ( I think ). My average per game was 6787. Thats prolly between 6-9th place per game, pure guess there tho.

The exploit if there is one , is always the Metrics themselves, in this case that was marathon tpts and KOs. I was taught read the rules, use to your advantage if u can.

I chose to maximize KOs at the expense of overall tpts. When I play to maximize tpts, usually I’m not concerned with whom busts ppl, just that they bust before I do. In my case here, I play fast/loose early and only play those games where I have some stack advantage ( playability ) to get me to final table. I do play quantity over quality kinda, but that which I do play , its almost all quality, but I’m still hunting KOs. Yes KOs happen as you play, but the better KO players actively seek out situations, or players … ripe for the pick’n, to pad thier totals with, and take thier lumps when they lose earlier.

Does that help any Wadius ?

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good post.
in retrospect, i wish i had started a new thread just pertaining to the promos. I shouldn’t have posted in advice threads since sound poker advice doesn’t always fit. Glad you did.

I didn’t really binge the games until the last day, and ended up with 53. I, too, focused on bust outs, and used a very, very, wide call range when any short stack pushed. I didn’t understand the preflop shoves. except that the tables were filling up fast. It seemed more of a t-pt strategy, but never figured out how many quick exits it would take to make up for the time it would take for a top 5, or better finish.

Fortunately, the few times i was at a table with Jake, i sat to his left. That way i could just fold until a top ten hand came around, and call. I realized he was playing a specific strategy, and didn’t associate it with his normal game, at all. Being OOP to Jake could have been quite annoying.

I didn’t play more than one table because i screw that up. Since there were no attendance restrictions, I assume many people joined every table, and ghosted 2 or 3 of them.They still picked up the points for whatever place they blinded out. That’s OK. I don’t have a prob with any tactic, within the rules, that brings in the chips.

Realizing I was getting the same payout on both board, despite the difference in standing, I switched to t-pts. There was no way i’m catching the leaders, so i played for the top 3 spots, in hopes of hopping another payout change
All in all, I make enought chips to not be bound to low stakes game, until i reup on the first, or next sale, whichever comes first. So, cool.

Next time, I need to copy my stats before and after a promo, so i can exclude them from a recent stats sheets, that i use.

Thanks again for comments. i like getting different views, and like to talk poker. Not able to add much, but still…

Actually, tournament points are only awarded if you are present for at least half the hands dealt in SNGs and tournaments, so that strategy doesn’t really work. SNGs don’t pull a player for not showing up, like they do in MTTs, and they pay a set number of positions regardless of attendance. In some of the SNG promotions with only 6 or 9 players, some people ghost the tables knowing that the regulars will probably try to finish the games quickly and they might luck into a paying position finish without even playing.

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I’m glad Wadius you found it helpfull or just interesting. You saw me in more than a few of those, and surely thats not my reg SnG game.

As far as preflop shoves, certainly 1st hand, think of it this way. The best time to get agro players is 1st hand, and everyone is even 1st hand, so if you do win that hand you’re guarentee’d 1++ knocks (KOs). Once you get a chiplead, anyone who calls you and loses gets KO’d too. If games are plentiful, worst case you just try again next game.

The t-pts part is easy. 1st- 17500pts , last was 4k pts … so if you can play 4.2 games faster than it takes to win 1, its a wash/breakeven on t-pts.

The ghosting issue, I sent support a msg, cause I wasn’t see’n the normal lvl 3 boot protocol, but the 50% participation rule should wipe out any pts for perm aliens ( grey ppl ) that never played.

Last the 1 table thingy, even on this tablet its hard for me to do more than 2, I was reg’n alot when games were plentiful cause worst case I fold 3-4 hands on another table while I either dbbl up or bust out on this one. That way you’re not waiting for games to fill, but you do need to manually fold your hands not just be grey for 2-3 minutes.

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Puggywug ,

You have a pretty good handle on SnG LB formats. I agree with you that as far as hardest (most skill dependant ) is the 1st of 20 weekly … then I’d say the Ave of Monthly, finally the best of 20 weekly.

I also agree that increasing your Best 20 does involve top finishes, but I disagre that playing on is worthless. It can be problematic to the monthly board due to too many games played. So which LBs in a month you shoot for should be an overall strategy to maximize all 3. You gotta admit, if all that helps you are 1st/2nd, they pay ok.

Your “best game” strategy mirrors the Non-LB player who is motivated by profit alone. It is what ReplayPoker wants, everyone just playing thier best, in the end giving bonuses to the top players… Rather than players like me that try and find every possible angle to boost performance.

When 1 player’s “acceptable risk” is another player’s “too risky”, then explotation is possible. To me the stock formula’s/formats themselves distort the results. Case in point the semifinals of the RTC challange. When all 3 team members placed in the top 6, but thier team didn’t make the finals ( top 6 teams made the finals )… more than a few players didn’t understand why.

Unlike the SnG boards, the MTT boards must take into account different size fields. Its much harder to find a happy medium as far as “apple to apples”.

You covered all your bases for Reg SnGs , I was surprised I didn’t see you in the Promo that just ended. Cheap entry, and didn’t effect reg LBs. They were 6max, just 3 tables deep. SnGs are SnGs and you wouldda exposed yourself to a different style of play. I played 1 set of LBs for awhile and switched to just promos. The Metrics continually change, even if some events are repeated. Now that those are stale, and the only way for me to move up, is switching to High Rings.

I refrained from starting a Leaderboard only thread, because I have done threads on a couple Promotions that didn’t elicit discussion, they were more of a how-to. I also didn’t want to re-hash the points system itself, down the road I bet that happens.

I hope we get worthwhile discussion here.


I guess what threw me was that they proclaimed the attendance restriction on all the tourney info, but not the promos. I think i read it in chat, as well. Thanks for setting me straight.

I would say the 1st/20 is maybe equal to or less skill dependent ( less harder ) than the monthly board mainly because its a longer time frame, more games, and more over all opponents and board strategies to monitor. You can focus and play 3 weeks of the 1st/20 which makes up your 60 games for the month and your done. The best way to play them is skipping the 1st week of the month and play your 60 games the other 3 weeks if you wanna cash in on 3 weekly 1st/20 boards and the monthly board. If you are going for those weekly and monthly boards then playing those weeks 2 thru 4 will give you that end of month strategy that you have to utilize as far as where your competitors are on the monthly board towards the end of the month and it gives you more room to maneuver to get that top spot you are shooting for without having to play more than 60 games which may jeopardize dropping any spots on the monthly board in case you dont finish well on any games played over 60. Playing your 60 games ( 20 each week ) the 1st 3 weeks now leaves you a week of idle time for your opponents to take control that are behind your current placing leaving them with strategies to surpass you knowing you are more likely going down in placing then up ( if your at or near the top average wise )This way you can take down 3 of the weekly 1st/ 20 boards and monthly board giving you time to strategize your month end finish too as far as opponents you need to monitor either ahead of you or behind. If you play all 3 weeks very well on the 1st/20 boards then you should place well for the month if you monitor the monthly board closely, especially your last 5 to 10 games. If you just play the monthly board then you can spread your games out more and just focus on that board the whole month but you might as well take 3 other board payouts at the same time if you can play 20 games a week. You cant compete for top spots on the monthly tho if your also going for top best/20 spots for those 3 weeks. I did win 1st/20 and best/20 games in 20 games once, along with the monthly but now these players winning best/20 are playing like 40-50 games so just stop at 20 to not decrease your monthly finish because all those games played are averaged into your monthly games and players play those not caring as much how they finish because they have time to play or wanna play 50 or so games a week… It still comes down to which boards you prefer to play and how many games you can or wanna play and what your goals are for each of those boards but at the same time you have to factor all those things in as part of your strategy.

(adding to Bahia’s post )

Aren’t both MTTs and SnGs tournaments? Why a lvl3 boot in 1 not the other ?
The “never players” are more disruptive to other players in a SnG than a MTT.
Isn’t the whole point to either the lvl 3 boot or the 50% attendance rule, to deincentivise players from entering then never playing?? . You either award both t-pts and payout, or neither… but not just 1 of them.

This topic needs its own thread cause, not only was I hosed recently for playing exactly 50% of the hands ( miss’d hand 1 cause I was NEVER notified in time the next SnG was starting, busted on hand 2, got 0 tpts ), but it takes well into lvl 6-7 before the “never players” actually blind out. The “spirit of the rules” seem to be ignored.

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I don’t think that’s what I said. What I meant was that, say you have an ITM% of 33% (which is close to what I actually do have).

Once you’ve hit 20 games, your expected points return from subsequent games to improve you on the Best 20 board is diminished, since you will only be adding points to this total if you finish higher than your worst Best 20 finish so far.

At the 100k buy-in, 9th is worth 6000 tournament points, and 1st is worth 18000. Between these extremes, the points climb slowly. To get 9000 points, you need to finish 4th, but if your worst Best 20 is 9th, 4th will only net you 3000 more points on your Best 20 total, and that’s best case. If your worst Best 20 is 6th or 7th, you’re only gaining around 2000 points, and not winning chips for the effort. So if you’re ITM 1/3 of the time, that means that 2/3 of the time you’ve spent 100k chips to gain 2-3k tournament points in the best case, to pursue a higher finish on the Best 20 board which might only be worth an additional 50-100k chips. Even if climbing a slot on the LB is worth an extra 200K or more, it is often a net chip loser to chase it.

If you do finish ITM, then you are fine, since any ITM finish is profitable in itself, plus you are getting a more worthwhile gain in your Best 20 tally, especially for 2nd and 1st place, which will net you 6728 or 12000 if it pushes out a 9th finish, and even if your worst Best 20 score is 3rd, it’s boosting you by 3728 or 9000 points. You’re taking in chips from the win, and possibly winning more bonus chips by moving up the leaderboard.

If you’re on a hot streak, winning ITM reliably, it’s worthwhile, but if you are struggling with reaching ITM its going to cost more than it returns. If you don’t care about the chips returned, and only care about placing higher on the leaderboard, then that may not matter to you.

I find that on a very good week, I will ITM closer to 50-60%, and take 2nd or 3rd on the Best 20 despite only playing in 20-23 games, while the players above me on the leaderboard have 35-40+ games in the books for the week. Obviously my week will have been far more profitable than theirs.

The whole point of this thread has been lost, :roll_eyes: so lemonade it is … heh

I’m trying to talk about the interplay between different strategies effecting gameplay where under the same circumstances , except playing for a different LB, hands in particular are play’d differently. How the mindset of the player, changes gameplay.

I try to bring to the forum unique topics that really have never been discussed in specific ways. Through the discussion I hope it both informs others but teaches them something @ the same time.

In the beginning there were only MTT Regional Leagues, and Promotions, other than the 2 basic Monthly SnG/MTT LBs. Then they add’d (MTT) Gemstones and Bankroll Builder but later terminated the BB ones. Next came the (SnG) Astral as well as a 4th MTT Regional. Then they add’d Promotions just for Ring players, but still no Ring leagues per say.

1 focus was the casual player vs the maniac player, thats why the Leagues were started then tweaked. 1 SnG, 9max, with 9 good players @ a decent buyin level, can take up to 1.5 hrs, mostly as long as a full blown MTT. Even 20 games per week is hard for a casual player who doesn’t multi-table. Thats why Gemstones and some Promos have as little as a “1st 7 LB”.
You’d be really suprised just how competative some leagues or promos actually are.

You keep concentrating on small sample size, but thats exactly what makes it even harder. When skill MUST defeat luck consistently, and cannot be lazy and let varience itself defeat luck, its on the players to take charge and dictate gameplay.

Can we get on topic about how gameplay is effected, within specific hands, such as the clash between a KO LB player vs a marathon t-pts LB player in the same event or a nonLB player vs a reg/promoLB player.
Do we just wanna talk about “how to crush xxxxLB” or “which LB is the best” ???

If I’m playing for a LB, then profit to me is the +/- between my LB payout, and what I spent to play. Sure what I spent to play can be offset by cashes (ITM), but my focus is the LB itself.

Maybee, maybee not, and thats if your goal is just profit. What if it wasn’t profitable cause that player didn’t WIN the LB ( to them ) profit be damned.

Can you see now… thats exactly why I started this thread… the profit mindset vs the LB mindset and how they can clash as you’re playing hands. Hopefully the overall strategy for 1 person is both, but not necessarilly.

Let me give you an example :
The Metric used will be “tickets won LB”, where a couple of the daily games are unlim rebuys for 30 minutes and are 1 of the better paying games ticket wise. Some players may choose to pay whatever it takes untill break in such games, to give them the best chance of a high finishing posistion, so they earn max tickets.
They are NOT driven by profit concerns, they are only driven on how many tickets they win… keep your eye on the prize. So within those games, normal gameplay won’t occur as often… So that hand where you thought V should fold to your move, per std odds, doesn’t happen and you get busted sooner than you could’ve because you didn’t recognize properly the motivation of Vs play.

Can you see what I’m trying to talk about here ?

Yes, and it doesn’t disagree with what I’ve said above. If you care enough about 1st place that you will play as many games as it takes to get there, that’s fine, but it’ll probably cost more chips than it brings in, unless your performance without the bonus chips is also profitable.

When I first started playing promotions, I was trying to get myself away from my comfort zone by playing different games and formats. I was mostly trying to improve my game, not really looking to make much from the leaderboard. I was basically taking advantage of the fact that I could actually find omaha ring tables running or that the satellite tournaments I liked were actually getting enough players to run, lol. My focus was on making a profit from the games themselves, rather than from the leaderboard. This strategy worked to get me some extra chips from the leaderboard (all profit), but kept me outside the top 10 most of the time.
The SNG promotion that just ended, is a good example. The first time I played it, I concentrated on tournament points and ignored the KO board, since that was a hole in my game I hadn’t yet managed to fix. Since I was still playing to get a profit from the games themselves, I quickly realized that I should play no more than 2 tables at a time, since I was finishing top 3 half the time playing 2 and only 1/4 of the time playing 3. I would sit back and fold, watching the players who were trying to get KOs take out or damage a majority of the field and eventually play would calm down and I’d work on making it to the end. This works pretty well if you are only going for tournament points, since with 18 players, last place gives you 4177 points and first place gives out 17718 points.
This year I played differently and wanted to place well on both boards and didn’t mind if I lost a little on the games themselves, as long as I had a net profit from the leaderboards. I played more tables than last year, didn’t cash as often, but usually ended up in the top half of the field, so I got good points without having to play too long and went on to the next game when I lost. I have worked hard to improve my KO rate, though I don’t play for them quite the same way others do. My strategy with KOs is to make sure I’m in the hand when the shorter stacks were playing or likely to play. If a ghost player was being pushed all in I’d limp with any two cards and hope to catch something or bluff the others off the pot. Some players would see the same situation and push to get the other players to fold so they are HU with the short stack. I can’t argue with their results, because that works too. However, even playing extremely loose this past week, people still seemed scared to call much more than minimum bets or small raises from me, so I would nickle and dime play until I could go for the KO. So when a short stack was in the BB, I would make sure and limp in and lure them into pushing, by downplaying my hand or make minimum bets on each street until everyone else folded and he was pot committed. The short stack wants to stay in and pushing at him preflop may make him fold or make the pot big enough that someone with more chips than you comes along for the ride. Since I wanted to avoid that situation, I often limped in. This worked well when I wasn’t at tables with the KO leaders, who would often go all in to isolate the short stack. A lot of players were just playing the games or trying to get top 50 and get a few chips - these players aren’t going to risk everything for that KO. That’s why watching the leaderboards can tell you a lot about how certain players are likely to play, which allows for better exploitative play.