Thursday, 28 June 2012

A Game Of Two Halves

The end of my 250 game Rio Sit N Go Challenge coincided with the end of Englands Euro 2012 campaign. Both efforts had some merit, some early success and some general progression but ultimately ended short of what could be considered success. Other than my early consolation win the second half of my challenge was much more effective than the first based on a key strategy change. The two finishing distributions tell the story.

In the second set I was much more active in pursuit of an early (but not high risk) double up. I identified a number of methods to achieve this and was able to use my more often gained double stack as a platform to secure more top two spots at the expense of thirds. Having more fourth spots did not matter as the overall second set of games was marginally profitable and much more so than the first. At some point I may generate a Rio strategy document to match my Maui one. I have got most of it in draft form already. If anyone is interested in it let me know.


One consistent theme from these Rio games is the amount of abuse players get from each other. I was targeted several times and ironically was berated again in my final challenge game which I won. In this game at the push fold stage my weaker ace was called by a better ace and I got lucky. I was advised to try winning a hand by initially having the best hand. I have made a note of this top tip. Good fortune it would seem is frowned upon in these circles. I am certain there would be great demand for some kind of Jackpot sit n go players support group where players could talk about bad beats, other players bad play and how the games are rigged. I do find some of this very amusing, though I have sympathy for anyone going through a bad run.
I will report in full on the outcome of my Rio challege in the next few days.

Friday, 22 June 2012

Regulars Fried!

In a week I will report on my  Rio Challenge results. Whilst it has been tough going I have really enjoyed playing the Rio Jackpot sit n go games over the last couple of months. I am not alone in this it would seem as during the time of day I play (9pm -1am UK time) there are a number of regulars who are chasing down that Jackpot dream. The trouble is even the best of regulars will struggle to beat the high rake in these games. Sure there are a few terrible players helping us out  but ironically it is the sheer number of regulars themselves that makes it so hard for them to profit from the game. Most regulars generally know what they are doing and don't make massive mistakes. I often sit down and know all the players at the table which really is often a negative EV situation.
Now why do I feel so hungry!

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Rio Challenge Strategy 3: Bubble Trouble

One of the hardest things to do in poker is fold when you are confident you have the best hand. Another really tough thing to do is shove a poor hand knowing that you will probably be called by a better hand. On the bubble in a sit n go is these situations are commonplace and important to master. Weakness in this area is a significant leak for many players, including me.
In Hand A we will look at the situation from the perspective of a player with 1000 chips on the big blind with the blinds at 100-200. The other shorter stacks fold and unsurprisingly the dominant chip leader shoves. What hands are worth calling with here? According to ICM the answer is strong pairs only, says nines or better. I would probably only call with Jacks or better. Ace King has to be folded here unless you are playing specifically for first or first and second as part of a jackpot sequence.

500 Fold
1000 Fold
3500 All In
1000 ?

This situation becomes even more complex in the very next hand when the big stack does not push and our player is left with a decision. This is an area I myself struggle with. In Hand B what hands should be shoved in this spot?
1000 Fold
3700 Fold (Would expect a shove here around 75% of the time)
800 ?

ICM suggests the small blind pushes with 80% of hands and the big blind calls with around 90% of hands. A key clash is imminent. It is the pushing range of the player with 800 chips that interests me here as you can understand the very likely call from the big blind. The math says you shove hands like 84 suited or 75 offsuit here. I think I am only shoving maybe 60% of my hands in this spot, folding these weaker hands to a likely caller. This is a mistake it would seam and something I need to work on and understand more fully. I will try to analyse post game some real examples in the weeks to come and maybe post about the most interesting one.
Some poker players have suggested that sit n gos are easy, robotic with few tricky spots and not a true form of poker. But could they fold AK in hand A and push 75 in hand B. I doubt it.

Anyway, meanwhile my Rio Challenge position is as follows after 190 games with 60 games to play. I have fought back somewhat over the last couple of weeks and come close to another consolation bonus.

Direct Profit-25150
Freeroll Wins14150

Friday, 1 June 2012

May The Force Be With You

The force was strong with Kartajana in May. I did not play particularly well yet had a very good month, hitting a Rio consolation bonus for $300 and two Sunday Million satellites for $215 each. All in a month I was accused of being the worst player on the I-Poker network! To be fair I have not been ripping up any trees this year poker wise but finally I am at least trampling on a number of shrubs. On the last day of the month I hit my second satellite win as follows:
PokerStars Tournament #568509688, No Limit Hold'em
Super Satellite
Buy-In: $8.00/$0.16 USD
36 players
Total Prize Pool: $288.00 USD
Target Tournament #575020010 Buy-In: $200.00/15.00 USD
1 tickets to the target tournament

Tournament started 2012/05/31 18:53:06 ET
Tournament finished 2012/05/31 19:05:41 ET
  1: Kartajana (United Kingdom),  (qualified for the target tournament)
  2: Supersvintus (Russia), $16.00
  3: SMKDSALMON51 (Canada), $16.00
  4: ankoval (Russia), $16.00
  5: Chop_Chop96 (Israel), $16.00
  6: sunshine077 (Germany), $9.00
The accusation of being the worst player on I-poker demonstrates the tilt that can be caused by the Rio games. In a game where I had been pretty lucky on the bubble and beyond, I pushed into the chip leader with T9 with high blinds and he called with QJ. We both had similar chips but the player in third was short stacked. According to ICM this was a push from me and a fold from my opponent. Lets just say he or she was not happy and I was subject to a sequence of abuse. Not only am I the worst player on I-Poker I know I am apparently. I think Boba Fett would have showed less patience than I did here. To be fair it is frustrating to lose with the best hand in a key spot and I was pretty lucky over a few hands but that's poker, in particular jackpot sit n go poker. To reinforce the variance point here, my short stacked opponent went on to win the game following a series of coolers, bad beats and blatant good fortune. That dude must be the second worst player on I-Poker!
Beware the dark side!