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Old 12-29-2010, 08:47 PM
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Default 6Max & HU SNGS: A Passive Strategy

All right, you all are much more on the pulse of poker trends, training techniques and tactics, so I need to throw a question out there: is there a new passive strategy for short-handed and heads-up SNGs?

I just finished up in a $5 six-max SNG on Stars. At my table was a player who had an unusual strategy. As best as I can tell from a limited sample of one game, here's a summary of it:

PREFLOP
Limp/call or flat nearly your entire range preflop. If I were to guess, his VPIP was in neighborhood of 60 percent to start and higher as we got shorter and shorter-handed.

But...

Raise preflop if you're a) extremely strong and b) you don't want to attract a lot of limpers behind. His PFR was probably 5-10 percent. The two times he did show down a preflop raise, he had KK and QQ. In contrast, he once limped-called the button with AQs.

POSTFLOP
Check/call any hand you make, regardless of its strength, all the way down. This includes hands like sets, decent draws, two pair, top pair + draw hands, but it also includes certain ace highs and small unimproved pairs. In two cases, he clung to A5 on a board of T-5-8-8-3 and 33 on a board of 6-6-8-Q-T. (In both cases, his hapless opponent had AJs for the NFD and bet two streets before giving up. I won't mention the opponent's name, but his screen name is based on a 1980s supergroup.)

But...

Bet or raise postflop only if a) you have a huge hand and b) it's a wet board or ace-high, where players are more likely to pay it off. He busted two players with flopped sets against big draws. Otherwise, check/call, check/call, check/call... If I used HEM, I'd probably find his Agg Pct to be less than 10 percent.

Obviously, it made him almost impossible to bluff or semibluff (as that unnamed player found out). And it wasn't even all that easy to value-bet unless you yourself had a huge hand (which I never did). Another player crippled his stack firing three shells with an overpair, totally unaware that our boy had flopped top two with T8o. Check/call, check/call, check/call, owned. On the flip side, he often drew to hands cheaply because players did not want to fire multiple bullets into him without a strong holding. But he didn't bet them when he got there, either.

After I busted in third (shoved KQ in BB, he limp/called the button with A9), I went over the Sharkscope to see his stats. I figured this was a fish who ran well in my particular tourney, which we know happens all the time. No one could play with such little aggression and be a winning player, right? In fact, he has played almost 1,000 events, almost exclusively $2 and $5 six-max and HU SNGs, for a respectable ROI of 11 percent.

Anyway, 'tis why I wonder if there is a book or a training site that espouses a new "all-passive" strategy as a counter for the overall aggression usually preached for online short-handed games. I tell you, it was highly effective for this guy, almost impressively so.
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Old 12-29-2010, 09:26 PM
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This sounds like the easiest player of all time to play against, and he's just taking advantage of how AWFUL everyone else must have been.
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Old 12-29-2010, 10:57 PM
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This sounds like the easiest player of all time to play against, and he's just taking advantage of how AWFUL everyone else must have been.
Yes and no. There were a few times when I'd think, "STOP BLUFFING HIM!" Of course, this was after I had whittled my own stack down to about 1,000 in the first level after double-barreling with two busted NFDs.

In fairness, two players crippled themselves betting in otherwise reasonable (and normally profitable) situations given his style. One was the overpair guy mentioned above. The other one was someone who potted the flop and turn with top two, then checked back when the flush card arrived. Our boy had made a low flush and checked it. This second player also had a hand where bet flop and bet river with A8 on an ace-high board, only to lose to A9. Stuff like that.

On the flip side, another player got two free cards to make a straight on the river. He shoved for about 6 BBs and our ultra-passive guy snap-called with a flopped top pair. Another player got three streets of value with second pair (our boy called all the way down with an underpair). So his style backfired in those two spots but the losses were offset by all the pots he was winning playing the same way.

The funny thing is, I went to the gym after posting this thread and spent the entire time thinking about this player, trying to determine how he could possibly make such a strategy a winning one. Usually people who run well doing this for a tournament have horrendously bad results in the long-term.

The only thing I could figure is this: he doesn't normally play this way, but decided to switch gears to a passive/trappy style when this table proved to be aggressive from the start. So I saw a small sample of uncharacteristic play spurred on by some specific table conditions.
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Old 12-29-2010, 11:17 PM
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My advice: start multitabling
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Old 12-30-2010, 12:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Hughes4 View Post
My advice: start multitabling
yes.
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Old 12-30-2010, 04:06 PM
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My advice: start multitabling
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Originally Posted by rrumsey View Post
yes.
Eh? I don't get this.
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Old 12-30-2010, 04:30 PM
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Too much attention. You're paying it.
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Old 12-30-2010, 04:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hughes4 View Post
Too much attention. You're paying it.
Hahah, gotcha.

Not that it serves me well. A few days ago, I had a guy at my table who had what I call "old-man shoving range" when he was short. I see them every now and then in the $5 SNGs. He pushed for 7 BBs and I snap-called with two eights, as if it was possibly good. (He had KK). A bit later, I opened with A9, he shipped for something like 8 BBs and I called like an idiot. (He had AK.) So despite knowing that this guy would not ship light, my play didn't adjust for it.

Nah, I don't get multi-tabling. I understand why others do it -- to decrease variance, increase overall win rate, etc. But as soon as I get to four tables or more, I have no idea what anyone is doing. Is the HJ raising because he raises every pot, or because he has a hand? Is the BB three-betting because I've raised three of the last four, or because he has a hand?

At that point, I've turned poker into a card game, and I'm drawing dead at a card game.
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Old 12-31-2010, 01:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hughes4 View Post
Too much attention. You're paying it.
play like a robot is small stakes!!!
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Old 01-04-2011, 12:40 PM
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This is very standard at $5 SNG's. You can still have a full table when each of you has 10 BB's or less. Just passive. you've just got to be patient with the hand selection. DON"T bluff... Raise your suited connectors into these guys. Don't c-bet your AJo if you whiff. They are playing very straight forward passive....
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