View Full Version : Postion Reversal

02-09-2004, 04:06 PM
I've been thinking about positional advantages in NL SnG's and I've come to the conclusion that the value of position in the late stages of a typical 1-table SnG is reversed from the early stages. I'm interested in what other players think about this.

Basically my position on position is that once you get down to 4-handed the most valuable position to hold is the BB (all else being equal) for a few reaons:

1. The BB is last to act before the flop.

2. In 1-table SnG's the blinds accelerate so quickly that by the time it get's down to 3-5 handed most pots are contested with an all-in before the flop.

3. If the pot is not contested preflop then it will most likely be heads-up to the flop and stealing at this point becomes paramount. The BB has the opportunity to push in right away, and since one needs a better hand to call an all in than to bet one this can be very important.

4. How many times late in a tourney is the money not in by the turn? Since there are only two betting rounds max. that are likely to be contested and the BB acts last in the first one, I believe this is the ideal position.

Okay, now, am I totally off base with my thinking here? Or is this obvious and not even worth discussion?

02-09-2004, 05:05 PM
I've been pondering your position on position and perceive it to be positively preposterous... /images/graemlins/smile.gif.

Seriously...in looking quickly you might be onto something here. I'll be interested to hear other, more experienced opinions. A couple of points to consider, however...

You're in the blind and you hold a hand like ATo. Button raises all-in. What do you do? This is sort of the reverse of #3 which gives the big blind an advantage postflop because he can push in first...so wouldn't this "advantage" be reversed preflop?

Second, I think #2 (blinds raising so fast that it becomes an all-in fest) is definitely true at Party, but at Stars and UB you will sometimes have money deep enough taht this is not the case. In an SnG at Stars the other day we got to 4-handed with all four players right around the T3400 mark, and I believe (sorry for my lapse in recollection) were at 100/200 with 25 ante. So this is not a completely valid generalization.

I also think that #4 becomes less valid heads up. If the money is close, I have had a few encounters that had some postflop play.

Interesting ideas, though.


02-09-2004, 05:25 PM
Thanks for your comments...

I guess you're right in that preflop the Button would have an opportunity to be the first one in on a steal, just as the BB would have the first opportunity postflop. However, I think that it may be more of an advantage postflop as the Button raise is a more obvious steal (and an easier call) than pushing postflop. Basically it becomes nearly impossible for the button to call if he misses the flop entirely while preflop the BB can call against a suspected steal with any hand that is better than random. Not saying this is correct, just that it is my reasoning.

Of course, my reasoning does not apply at all if the blinds are reasonable in comparison to the stack sizes, I tried to make that clear in my original post but I guess it wasn't.

I'm only looking at position in the late stages of a SnG when the blinds become such that there is very little postflop play.

02-09-2004, 06:15 PM
Grifter -- yes, I think what you say makes sense. If you have AA or KK in the late stages of a SNG you'd generally prefer to have it in the blinds. In the earlier stages, you'd prefer to have your AA or KK in middle to late position.

Reuben and Ciaffone make a similar point in their book "Pot-Limit & No-Limit Poker". They note that position is much more important when the money is deep than when it is shallow.

02-09-2004, 06:17 PM
Mine is not a “more experienced” view, but here’s $.02 worth:

A month or so ago, somebody made a post quoting from a poker book (not one of our authors) that you always lose to the guy on your right. I doubt that's true, but I did suggest that unlike golf, in poker the first liar wins. The comment I got back was "I'll have to remember to tighten up my button play." The sarcasm is, of course, correct at a full table, but maybe not short.

The question you raise is, On a short table: Do you want the information advantage of betting last?, or Do you want the potential Dis-Information advantage of betting first?

I think it is a valid question that depends as much as anything on your style of play in short games, how much you loosen up from full table play, how much you bluff or steal, and your read on the opponent's style.

I'm not sure there is a "right" answer to your question, other than that the more experience you have head up, the better you will use whatever position you have at the moment.


02-09-2004, 07:26 PM
Interesting Doc.

Looking at the information vs. dis-information advantages it would seem that the BB would have it best both ways by acting last preflop and first postflop.

As I said in my reply to CCC's post when the blinds are very high (and therefore the money is shallow) I feel the greatest advantage is to have information preflop (anything less than an all in may suggest a great deal of weakness) and to have the advantage of dis-information postflop (since if someone misses the flop it is really tough to call an all in).

Before the flop someone holding A10 or KQ can call any bet shorthanded with very high blinds. But postflop if these hands do not pair off will they call an all in??

I'm interested in whether or not people agree or disagree that it is best to have information preflop and be able to put people to the test postflop...( I realize another consideration is when people hit postflop, but I'm speaking just from the aspect of stealing since of course you will generally hit the flop equally as often)

Lately I've been using a style shorthanded where I push my hands much harder in the blinds than say, UTG or on the button, and I'm wondering if others use similar styles.

02-09-2004, 08:25 PM
I went back over a number of hand histories since I first read this and found that a good percentage (far from a good sample) of my advances in chip count were from the BB when shorthanded and high blinds. To be honest, this is a scenario that I had never considered and it might be very useful. Thanks.

02-09-2004, 08:42 PM
I've been noticing the same thing lately, that most of my moves were occuring out of the BB. I usually play Prima SnG's so the blinds are VERY high by the time we get shorthanded (depending on which table you sit at).

I'm still not sure if this is due to the BB being an advantageous position or if it merely compels me to gamble since x% of my stack is involved however. Obviously if the blinds are 55% of my stack I'm probably going to move (one way or another) in chips on that hand.