View Full Version : How to turn 2nd into 1st more often

01-24-2004, 02:43 AM
Hi there,

Been playing a lot of sit n' go 10+1 at party and have been doing pretty well.

But heres my problem...I finish 2nd about twice as often as I make 1st.

What I'm asking is for some general advice that will help me turn some of these 2nds into more 1sts.. at a $20 value each it would make a big diff.

What are your standards for raising? Pushing in to steal the blinds? Calling when they push in? How can you induce a bluff? Do you slow play you AA from the SB? I guess it's all situational.. but I seem to have a good handle on the tourney as I money a little better than half the time.. I just... can't... take... the... cup....

A lot of the time the tourney doesn't last more than 60 hands against opponents you've never seen.. and will never see again. So it's hard to get a read sometimes.

Thank you very much

01-24-2004, 02:52 AM
Matt this is a toughie with just the info you have given, but I will try to help. If I'm short stack I move in with basically any ace if the blinds are any type of threat. So if I had t3000 and the blinds were 200/400a25 any ace I would move in there. Also almost any pp isn't a bad play niether.

For calling all in raises against most players I like AT and up and pp's 88 and up.

You can slow play top pair a lot more if you choose too. You don't have to worry about that many hands that will beat you. I think one mistake a lot of players make heads up is calling an all in bet on the flop with hands like bottom pair and such.

For raising it depends if I'm short or big stack. If short I usually move all in if I'm going to raise because I hate getting played over the top of. If I'm a big stack I just try to take as many blinds as possible.

Slowing playing big pairs is pretty good heads up but if you are either always raising or folding preflop, a limp will probably tip your hand away.

Also getting some heads up exp wouldn't hurt.

01-24-2004, 02:54 AM
When trying to get a read on last few players one thing
is critically important ...


Beyond that try to classify your opponents aggressiveness
and tightness (look for extremes).

Hope this is a start.


01-24-2004, 02:58 AM
You should practice by playing in the "heads-up" sit-and-gos.

01-24-2004, 03:10 AM
Hi Matt,

What are your standards for raising? Pushing in to steal the blinds? Calling when they push in? How can you induce a bluff? Do you slow play you AA from the SB? I guess it's all situational.. but I seem to have a good handle on the tourney as I money a little better than half the time.. I just... can't... take... the... cup....

[/ QUOTE ]

Relax and focus on your heads-up play. You might read the Heads-op and Short-handed Forum for more ideas, but here is my basic approach:

First, I am extremely aggressive heads-up. I want every pot where I have or flop anything, and every pot where neither of us has or flops anything. That leaves my opponent with only those pots where he has or flops a hand and I don't ... and that's not much. Obviously, it doesn't always work out that way, but that's what I'm aiming for.

Second, heads-up play is all about playing the PLAYER, not playing the cards. Bet anytime you sense weakness. If in doubt, bet. Anytime you think you can pick up a pot, even if only the blinds, bet.

So ... what are my standards for raising from the SB? Almost any two cards. If I have total trash -- or a big pair -- I may just complete. I rarely fold from the SB in a heads-up situation.

What are my standards for calling a raise from the BB? It depends on the amount of the raise and how much of my stack I'd have to call. On deep money, almost any two cards. On shallow money, any A or K, any pair, and any hand which in Blackjack would total 18 or more.

What are my standards for betting on the flop? I'm going to bet any A or K, any four-draw, any pair, anytime I was the last raiser pre-flop, and anytime I sense weakness. Remember that with only two hands being dealt, more often than not the flop won't help either player. That means it probably didn't help my opponent ... but he doesn't know it didn't help me. Again, play the PLAYER, not the cards.

I hope this helps,


01-24-2004, 03:22 AM
unfortunately, by the time it gets up to these blinds at heads-up, pushing in every hand is very close to correct strategy against an opponent who isn't too loose. most will at least require a king to call you, if not an ace or pair.

the best way to improve your chances is to start heads-up play with more chips. the best time to build your stack is when it is down to five or four players, assuming you aren't in danger of going broke while doing it. don't risk an unnecessary amount of chips on one hand unless you've got the goods (or the chances of a bluff working are very high), but take advantage of the opponents' desire to survive to the money. this plan works especially well when you already have a good number of chips (2000 or more) and there are two or more small stacks that each want to outlast the other.

01-24-2004, 03:55 PM
What are my standards for betting on the flop? I'm going to bet any A or K...

[/ QUOTE ]

Cris, I know you well enough to know you literally ANY A or K. Incl Axo and Kxo.

Would you do the same with 3 or 4 players (incl you) at the table instead of HU?


01-24-2004, 08:04 PM
Heads up play on Partypoker is essentially about finding hands that will win almost half the time.

Given the blind sizes in the later stages of a Party Sng, Trying to make too much of a game out of it can be disastrous. You just need to find coin flip hands and get all in with them. Small pocket pairs and even medium suited connectors are perfect for this. You will steal most of the time, and if you do find yourself against big cards, you aren't going to be that much of an underdog.

Right now you are only winning 33% of the time you make heads up. If you could guarantee yourself a heads up all-in with 78s against an equal stack with AK every tourney, you would win over 40% of the time. This is not great, but it would be an improvement.

Add to this the fact that most of the time you push in, you will not get called and you will steal. When the blinds are as high as they are heads up, you don't need monster pots to whittle an opponent down to nothing.

I'm sure in most big tourneys there is room for more skillful play, but on party, the blind sizes just don't make this realistic. Get in when you think you have coin-flip odds and hope to get lucky.

Additionally, you should never raise the minimum. If you have AK and your opponent in the BB has 52o, believe it or not, he is still going to win about 35% of the time. By raising the minimum, you are giving any two cards correct odds to call you, and position after that. Similarly, if you are in the BB and are raised the minimum, you should be calling with almost anything.

I posted a question about this recently and have since been playing ANY TWO cards against a minimum raise when I am the BB. This works! These days, the only time I wouldn't call a minimum raise is if I have garbage and an opponent who NEVER min-raises suddenly decides to.

On the flop, I would again try to get in with whatever draws I could find. A four flush is gonna pay off about a third of the time anyways, and even if you find yourself against top pair every hand - 33% is no worse than you are currently doing. The reality is, you will NOT find yourself against top pair every time, and most of the time you will pick up the pot.

Another important point is to take advantage of big chipleads when there are 3 or 4 players left and the other players are about equal. These players will all see their survival in jeopardy and can be easily bullied. With two or three players just trying to NOT be the guy who gets fourth or third, you are in a great position to build a formidable lead. It is nice to get heads up with double or triple the chips your opponent has.

Now I know my "get all-in on a coin flip" advice is probably not exactly what the very best players are doing, but if you are only finishing first half as often as 2nd, then you just need a better strategy and I think this is an easy approach that will give you better results.

I should also mention that this advice assumes you are finding yourself heads up with roughly the same size stack as your opponent (or more) ie- 3000+ chips in a $10+1 party sng. If you find that you are consistently short stacked in the final, your problems may not be your heads up play, but your play earlier in the tourney. Are you the guy who is not trying to win, but just trying NOT to be 4th?

Hope this has been some help
Brad S

01-24-2004, 11:00 PM
Hi Doc,

No, with three or four players, there's a 50-100% greater chance of someone having a higher Ax or Kx than me. With only two players, odds are my Ax -- even A2o -- is the best starting hand, and is still the best hand at the flop.


01-25-2004, 03:13 AM
Thanks to everyone for the advice that has been offered.

From the responses I could see that I was being far too passive once it got to heads up. I was folding WAY too many SB and was kind of waiting to trap him.. or make a sure thing. I gotta let it go and push the small advantages cause when I dont.. my oppenents usually are /images/graemlins/wink.gif

Frankly I'm not used to heads up play. I'm sure this is a unique heads up situation as well and not really comprable to extended session of heads up play at fixed blinds. But.. where to practice? are there cheap heads up sitngos at any of the sites? Frankly I could use the practice to all aspects of my HU and short handed game, any suggestions for the cheepest place to hone my skills?

So to make a short story long I just had time to play my 1st Sit n go since reading and digesting the responses and guess what? I won! I used the advice here and I found that my final opponent was passive so...

<ul type="square"> I would raise all in with any A or PP or other select high hands.
Limited my calling of my opponents all in to an A or PP of my own.
Call ANY SB (raise the big ones of course) and then Bet if checked to me. (was just betting min 400 or 600 here to avoid traps)
If my opponent called his SB and I had garbage I waited for the flop and then wasn't too shy at betting if I caught any part of it. [/list]

Worked great. I'll play another 10 or 20 and let y'all know if it improved my ratio which was about a 1:2:1 of 1st:2nd:3rd place finishes and share what I've learned.

Thanks All! /images/graemlins/cool.gif

Kurn, son of Mogh
01-25-2004, 10:27 AM
What are your standards for raising?

Lately, I'm winning about 2/3 of the time when I get heads-up, and I don't really want to give too much away about what I'm doing, but...

Heads-up, folding too often is a huge mistake, and your cards are really pretty irrelevant. Attack and keep putting max pressure on your opponent.

01-25-2004, 03:00 PM
What are your standards for raising?
Lately, I'm winning about 2/3 of the time when I get heads-up, and I don't really want to give too much away about what I'm doing, but...

[/ QUOTE ]

I hear ya... As of lately I've come up with some tactics myself that seem to be helping me at what I think is the most critical phase of the sit-n-go 5-4 ppl left. Without giving away all I've got so I'll just say that like cold war adversaries.. there is more to be gained through inducing war by proxy /images/graemlins/wink.gif for the leaders of a sit n' go. I'm sure the better players know what I mean?

I've not read too many poker books but have read a TON online... I can't recall reading very much about single table strategies and tactics though. Ant recommended reading? Do any of the books cover this format? What about.. whats it called.. tournament poker for advanced players?

Thanks all