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Tournament Poker >> STT Strategy

Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | >> (show all)
Collin Moshman
Author: New 2+2 SNG Book


Reged: 04/01/07
Posts: 227
Loc: Gambling, gambling
*Official STTF SnG Book Review Thread*
      #11482529 - 08/01/07 01:26 PM

Hi Guys,

I know there is also a review thread in B/P forum, but I thought detailed discussion of hands/analysis would be more appropriate for this forum rather than the more general comments suited to the books forum.

And hopefully our first entrant will be none other than STTF's own Slim Pickens, who has promised to discuss
"...jerkish know-it-all SNG players coming down from on high and providing answers defended with incomplete qualitative logical arguments..."

Let the fun begin.

Best Regards,
Collin


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Slim Pickens
Carpal \'Tunnel


Reged: 01/19/05
Posts: 5574
Loc: John Wayne's not dead.
SnG Book Review, Part 1: Low-Blind Play [Re: Collin Moshman]
      #11483337 - 08/01/07 02:10 PM

Part 1: Low Blind Play

Tournament equity is about the only thing this part needs to cover, and it does this well. The rest of it has a lot of good ideas and some debatable ones, and I feel people will want to argue a lot about them. Thereís not much point in arguing whether KK should be limped or raised UTG at a 9-handed table given a few vague early-game reads. Even though we could argue indefinitely about it, itís not terribly important to a new SNG playerís understanding of SNG play. As long as people understand how important tournament equity considerations are even in the early game, argue all you want.

Iím personally not so much into mid suited connectors as speculative hands in low buy-in SNGs, mostly because attempting to semi-bluff a strong draw into players who canít fold TPnK is really just an easy was of getting all-in as a 40/60 underdog, but I also think a wide variety of early-game play is acceptable as long as itís qualified with ďknow your opponents, know your reads, and donít suck at 50-100 BB poker.Ē


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Slim Pickens
Carpal \'Tunnel


Reged: 01/19/05
Posts: 5574
Loc: John Wayne's not dead.
SnG Book Review, Part 2: Mid-Blind Play [Re: Collin Moshman]
      #11483519 - 08/01/07 02:21 PM

Part 2: Mid Blind Play

The section on re-stealing was full of really marginal examples presented as obvious black-and-white decisions. I went through one (Hand 2-32) with PokerStove and an ICM spreadsheet and watched the numbers jump all over the place as I changed people's ranges slightly. There were definitely sensible ranges that could justify either pushing or folding in the example I worked out and his advice was basically just "obvious push since there are a lot of chips in there." My feeling is that one could uncover some pretty glaring inconsistencies by assuming the same opponent description in one hand implies a certain range that then makes another hand not work when the same ranges are applied. In other words, I think he has similar players doing something like limp-calling with vastly different fractions of their ranges in order to make all the decisions he's advocating look clear. This is just my suspicion and I haven't tried to put hard numbers into more than one example yet. DevinLake went through two other hands and found pretty much the same thing.

link

His postflop advice ranges from OK to disastrous, and most of the time he explains his reasoning for a play, it's wrong. A number of times he came up with the right play, it was for some very wrong reasons. I feel like I could make a solid living off the chips he wants people to waste bet/folding flops. Hand 2-4 is pretty bad.

I was disappointed the ICM section didn't go much of anywhere. I was hoping for some really clear examples of how obvious +cEV plays can be -$EV and how the payout structure affects this. Maybe it will show up later in the book, but it does surprise me that an author with such a solid background in mathematical theory wouldn't do much explaining of ICM from a theoretical standpoint, since in my experience most theoreticians can't shut up about various theories and how they think they can expand and improve them. Anyway, the stuff that is there is plenty good for the scope of the book.


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Slim Pickens
Carpal \'Tunnel


Reged: 01/19/05
Posts: 5574
Loc: John Wayne's not dead.
SnG Book Review, Part 3: High-Blind Play [Re: Collin Moshman]
      #11483598 - 08/01/07 02:26 PM

Part 3: High-Blind Play

This is easily the most important section of the book, as this is the stage of a STT at which it is least like any other tournament or cash game format. Anyone with even a tenuous grasp on a winning STT game knows prize pool equity trumps chip equity so often that discussing decisions in terms of chip equity can't be effective at determining correct plays. Independent Chip Model (ICM) prize pool equity calculations have passed many rigorous theoretical and practical examinations and have proven sufficiently accurate in the overwhelming majority of high-blind STT situations. ICM modeling is introduced in Part 2 and is covered sufficiently for a beginning player to grasp. Therefore, Iím quite surprised that prize pool equity is largely ignored in Part 3, and when it is applied, it is often applied in a very hand-wavy, qualitative manner nothing like the simple, methodical calculations most good STT players perform on a regular basis.

The Fundamental Theorem of Sit Ďn Go High Blind Play is really more of a good general principle that follows from correct mathematical play. It is too general of a statement. There will be so many ďexceptionsĒ that if this ďFundamental TheoremĒ is taken as such it would cease to look very fundamental at all. There exists a very simple approach to solving high-blind STT problems. The author very obviously knows it well and applies it to a number of his example hands. What I donít understand is

a) Why this problem-solving methodology isnít the singular focus of Part 3 until it is fully explained and
b) Why chip equity even shows up at all outside of a comparison to highlight the differences that can arise between it and tournament prize pool equity.

I need to form an argument to debate some of the authorís conclusions in his hand examples, but this is extremely difficult. What I want to argue about is the hand ranges, but the way the material has been presented, it isnít clear to the reader that opponentsí hand ranges are a critical parameter.


Understanding and executing correct play during the high-blind sections of STTs at the highest levels consists of four steps.

  • 1) Understanding how to execute push/fold/call calculations given the input parameters of chip stacks, prize payouts and hand ranges, and a good prize pool equity model. This is basic STT mathematical mechanics and is very similar to what is considered basic and essential knowledge in every other poker format.
  • 2) How to determine reasonable hand ranges given any information about opponents. This is the ďpokerĒ and ďfeelĒ element unique to STTs that non-STT players usually lack and it is crucial for an introductory STT text to cover it.
  • 3) The sensitivity of the results to changes in a players hand, his opponentsí hand ranges, and the chip stacks at the table, as well as the limitations of ICM equity modeling and cases requiring special treatment. This is usually what separates the winning high-limit players from the break-even mid-limit players, at least it does todayÖ maybe not two years ago, and might be beyond the intended scope of this book.
  • 4) How to alter all parameters except the exact hands dealt to players in real time. This is what separates the good high-limit players from the absolute best (and usually highest-limit) players, and would be well beyond the scope of an introductory text.


All of Step 1 is in there somewhere. Itís not central to most of the section, but itís in there. Step 2 is also included, although usually much more qualitative and mushy. Also, it is not demonstrated how critically-important this step is. I doubt Collin needed to get Step 3 to think he knew enough to write an SNG book. He probably gets it himself, but itís not covered except for a few isolated examples that should be pretty obvious to decent players. Anyone who knows anything about Step 4 wonít share. Iíll leave it at that.

So OK, I think I can reconstruct good high-blind SNG play from the information presented, but so what? I already know how to it. Itís my opinion that a decent poker player new to SNGs would learn something somewhere near proper strategy from reading the Part 3, but would be utterly helpless as to explain why any of lol donkament-looking plays are correct. He would also be utterly helpless against changing game conditions; perhaps changes that have taken place since the bookís author last played SNGs seriously. Without a Crystal Pepsi-clear understanding of the methodology behind these plays, a player will be completely lost.

The implicit collusion and micro-stack sections are decent, although I think it all makes much more sense as a variation on the same calculation we should have already done forty times by the time we get to these sections. The examples really aren't that elucidating, as I think most players could guess the correct play without really knowing or caring why.

The heads-up section, all the preflop stuff should be really simple using our methodology. The instruction needs to focus on a discussion of hand ranges, unexploitable play, and profitable variations from unexploitable play. I donít like many of his post-flop lines. Hand 3-55 is an example of what I think is a really bad logical flaw that shows up in a lot of the example hands.


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pineapple888
Carpal \'Tunnel


Reged: 06/01/05
Posts: 6558
Loc: Getting rivered by idiots
Re: SnG Book Review, Part 3: High-Blind Play [Re: Slim Pickens]
      #11487968 - 08/01/07 06:38 PM

Huge thanks to Slim on behalf of the forum.

Slim, any overall summary, or recommendation for which type of people should buy this book?


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STALLOWN3D
addict


Reged: 07/25/06
Posts: 685
Loc: Using Crosswalks
Re: SnG Book Review, Part 3: High-Blind Play [Re: pineapple888]
      #11488194 - 08/01/07 06:53 PM

Quote:

Huge thanks to Slim on behalf of the forum.

Slim, any overall summary, or recommendation for which type of people should buy this book?




Seconded, your reviews and discussion are much appreciated. I too would like to know what level of player you'd recommend this book to. For someone who is at the $6.50/$16 level, I'd hate to read the book only to have an incorrect understanding of some key fundamentals.


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Oubliette
enthusiast


Reged: 08/06/06
Posts: 340
Loc: mai pen rai
Re: SnG Book Review, Part 3: High-Blind Play [Re: pineapple888]
      #11488260 - 08/01/07 06:58 PM

slim.

v thorough review, well done


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quadaces9999
journeyman


Reged: 05/23/07
Posts: 96
Re: SnG Book Review, Part 3: High-Blind Play [Re: STALLOWN3D]
      #11488274 - 08/01/07 06:59 PM

Is this book worth the time to read or is the type of book that will lead you down the wrong path?

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Slim Pickens
Carpal \'Tunnel


Reged: 01/19/05
Posts: 5574
Loc: John Wayne's not dead.
SnG Book Review, Part 4: Sit 'n Go Career Play [Re: Collin Moshman]
      #11488518 - 08/01/07 07:18 PM

Part 4: Sit 'n Go Career Play

This concluding section of the book is excellent. I recommend it highly for anyone looking to get started playing SNGs. Pretty much everything he says is spot on. In particular, bankroll management is something that's often discussed and his take on it really should be made the default advice for new players.

The only weakness to this section is that it was obviously written for Party Poker v2.0 (before the US blackout but after dropping Empire, Eurbet, et. al.) and this causes some of the sub-sections to be much less relevant to today's game conditions than they would be to game conditions of a few years ago. For example, Stars and Full Tilt platforms don't allow for seat selection, so table selection can only be based off of the list of players registered. There is also one example that assumes a player can see a blind-level clock and that blind levels go from 100/200 to 200/400. Structures and visible information are not consistent site-to-site and it's important for players to understand what changes in structure do to the game so they can make the proper adjustments.

The only other minor beef I have with the section is in the multitabling sub-section, he advises "multi-tasking," meaning mixing online poker formats, reading, eating, and pretty much OK's anything you feel like doing with only one hand occupied on the mouse. I think this is a poor approach for a beginning serious SNG player, who should be focusing 100% of his attention on the current game(s).

Anyway... very good show overall on Part 4. The book might be worth buying just for this section as a SNG philosophical primer.


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Slim Pickens
Carpal \'Tunnel


Reged: 01/19/05
Posts: 5574
Loc: John Wayne's not dead.
Re: *Official STTF SnG Book Review Thread* [Re: Collin Moshman]
      #11491302 - 08/01/07 10:37 PM

Appendices

Appendices A, C, D, and E are all good stuff to put in there. Itís widely available but Iím never opposed to a well-collected resource.

Appendix B seems to have enough typographical errors I donít want to get too involved in it until Iím sure weíre not having some sort of failure to communicate. Charts are OK in general when theyíre used to illustrate concepts. Anyone trying to play from a chart is going to get squished at higher levels and be only marginally profitable at lower ones.

Appendix F: Consecutive Hands Starting as the Bubble Short Stack

It bugs me that the stacks donít always add up to the same amount. Maybe itís just me being a nit, but it seems a little too careless for a finished product, especially when a lot of the decisions might be very sensitive to stack size. Itís also annoying to have the stacks posted minus any blinds, but whatever. Itís made pretty clear whatís going on.

Iím going to use SNGPT with the minimum edge set to 0.3%. Thatís a little less than most people use so it will slant toward wider pushing and calling ranges. To me, that seems more appropriate for the stated buy-in level. Iíd tend to raise the minimum edge at a lower buy-in.

Hand 1: fine

Hand 2: This isnít even close to an any-two-cards (ATC) push from UTG at 200/400/A25 and another shortish stack around. With a ďtight-aggressive regularĒ on the BB, if heís got any skill at all in a >$100 buy-in SNG heís calling fairly wide here, especially if heís ever seen you push wide. If I put Button on {44+,A7s+,A9o+,KJs+}, SB on {66+,ATs+,AJo+}, and BB on {44+,A7s+,A9o+,KJs+} also, the proper pushing range is less than the top 50% of hands, and those ranges are way too tight for players who any shred of a clue. As opponentsí calling ranges get wider, the correct pushing range gets tighter. I do agree that AJo is a very obvious pushing hand.

Hands 3-5 are fine.

Hand 6 is fine, but I think it confirms what I said about the ranges in our previous UTG hand, Hand 2. If Hand 2 is an ATC push then Hand 6 is too. I agree Hand 6 is a sort of ďdecent hand that doesnít need to be muchĒ push spot. If I use the same ranges as Hand 2, I get a 14.5% push range back. That also seems to confirm that the ranges I selected in Hand 2 are too tight.

Hands 7-10 are fine.

Hand 11 is so not even close itís not worthy of discussion it gets. Also, lol@cEV.

Hand 12 is fine.

Hand 13 is an interesting one. Iím not so convinced T3o is a fold. It really depends on how much SBís calling range will tighten up as Heroís stack gets larger. Especially with the read on BB as being very tight on the bubble, Iím not so quick to muck T3o. With SB on {66+,AJs+,AQo+} and BB on {22+,A9s+,ATo+,KJs+,KQo}, T3o is a +0.8% push.

Hand 14 is fine.

Hand 15: I agree with the read that Button is pushing wide enough to make K8o a call and that would be an excellent hand to demonstrate a +$EV all-in bubble call.

Hand 16 is sensitive to Buttonís pushing range, but I agree over-pushing K9s is correct.

Hand 17: Q3s is close enough to unexploitable, if itís exploitable at all, that pushing here is absolutely the correct play.


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