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  #1  
Old 12-28-2005, 04:20 PM
downtown downtown is offline
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Default Theory: Approach to Very Short Stack Play

There's an interesting discussion among the fracas in GtrHtr's post $22: Push or wait with an uber short stack.

I've been thinking about making a post that addressed a similar situation, and maybe the same in theory. It stemmed from playing the hand below, and hands similar to it since.

$55 PP SNG
PartyPoker, Big Blind is t300 (5 handed) Converter on pregopoker.com

UTG (t1813)
Hero (t499)
Button (t2544)
SB (t2848)
BB (t2296)

Preflop: Hero is in CO with K[img]/images/graemlins/diamond.gif[/img] 2[img]/images/graemlins/club.gif[/img]
<font color="gray">UTG folds</font>, <font color="red">Hero raises t499</font>

Button was a 2p2er (Degen), and said I made a bad push, referring to this section in Darse's No-Limit Hold'em Tournament Primer:

[ QUOTE ]
Rule 8: Treat your last few chips as though they were precious, because
they are.

If your stack is so small that you do not even have enough for a decent
raise of the big blind, then you actually need a stronger hand to call,
since you don't have that added chance of winning the hand uncontested.
Now you are simply waiting for cards which you fully expect to be the
best hand going in. If it doesn't come, keep waiting until the big
blind forces you all-in (or close to it), and let your luck decide the
issue. The mathematics of tournament poker show that your last few
chips are actually worth more than each of the chips in a tall stack, so
entering into a border-line situation is not in your favour. For more
on this phenomenon, the reader is again referred to Mason Malmuth's
studies of tournament strategies.

If you are in the blinds, it will often be correct to call even with a
very weak hand. For example, if you are in the small blind and calling
the big blind will put you all-in, you should call with _any two cards_
(unless there was a raise indicating a very strong hand, and even then it
may be correct to call).

[/ QUOTE ]

First, I think this has different implecations for MTT play, where it is more likely that sticking around with a short stack will make you more money... and taking your chances in the BB is likely to give you life for another round at a full table, which could make all the difference in the world. In a STT though, I'm not so sure.

Since I/'m a big fan of SNG Power Tools, I countered Degen's argument at the time with some SNGPT numbers, showing that it was always +EV to push, regardless of calling ranges. Now in retrospect, I realize that it is likely that I will be called in more than one spot here being so short, and therefore I may need to be stronger Than K2o to push here. Though I see the merits of the Darse argument, I am not convinced it applies to STTs that well.

I like to think of the fact that should I double there, I have much more FE with a bigger stack, and another chance to push UTG on the next hand and be right back in the hunt for the money.

It is an interesting problem, and therefore I ask you the 2p2 STTer your approach to this situation, and &lt;2BB play in general in a SNG.

This is something I have definitely glossed over in the past, much to my detriment. It's too easy to say, "[censored] it, I've got 6 other tables left to worry about." It's leaving money on the table (or the 2001FPs) to not treat the table where you are shortie with as much thought as you would the table where you have a huge stack. So I ask you...

Push on your first opportunity?

Wait for the SB/BB?

Totally depends on the table? (I'll admit it at least somewhat depends on stack sizes, etc., but there is still a valuable discussion here in general.)

To me it seems this could be worth a lot of $EV in the long run, especially for us multi-tablers that frequently run into this spot. Interested to hear your responses. -DT
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  #2  
Old 12-28-2005, 04:24 PM
Sciolist Sciolist is offline
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Default Re: Theory: Approach to Very Short Stack Play

I think there's a bit of a difference between having 2.2 BB and having 1.65 BB. I'm probably going to wait for the BB here, unless I get given TT+, AK+, AQs+. I think that the J8 push in the other thread is right though. I also think that that his a lot closer to being a hand I want to push if I were the button, or the BB might be thinking of folding (say he has 2 or 3 BB himself and is thick).

I stick around and cross my fingers a lot in these situations, though generally 4 handed rather than 5. Hey, you never know, the next hand the blinds could get AA vs KK :]
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Old 12-28-2005, 04:25 PM
Sciolist Sciolist is offline
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Default Re: Theory: Approach to Very Short Stack Play

I just realised that the fact I'm thinking about ranges here means that a push with anything is probably right due to the size of the pot and the value of one player already being gone.

OK, I'm more interested in what the better players have to say now :]
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  #4  
Old 12-28-2005, 04:34 PM
pooh74 pooh74 is offline
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Default Re: Theory: Approach to Very Short Stack Play

In the J8 hand, hero has a little over 2BBs. SB has 75 invested and would need to call around 25% of his stack to get involved. Add to this that BB might wake up with a hand in SB's mind and SB will fold more often than you guys think. Therefore....having this sort of FE over half the players left in the hand is a HUGE deal to me, and way more than one should typically expect from a situation when you have 2.2 BBs.

Your hand is a little different because your FE is less and the # of players to go thorugh are more. Although I wouldnt fault this push either off the top of my head.
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  #5  
Old 12-28-2005, 04:36 PM
microbet microbet is offline
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Default Re: Theory: Approach to Very Short Stack Play

In general I don't mind the sentiment of treating your last chips as precious and I'm not pushing just anything in this spot, but K2o seems good enough.

I know there was a retraction in the post with the really tight pushing range, but passing on something like AJ or AT or any PP here would be criminal.
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  #6  
Old 12-28-2005, 04:42 PM
UMTerp UMTerp is offline
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Default Re: Theory: Approach to Very Short Stack Play

In a spot like this, I sometimes like to get in behind an open-pusher with any two, usually giving me a chance to triple up or better. Of course, I'll still open-push any ace, faces, etc. I think pushing the K2 is fine. It's one of the next three hands.
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  #7  
Old 12-28-2005, 04:45 PM
Sciolist Sciolist is offline
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Default Re: Theory: Approach to Very Short Stack Play

Yes, I quite often find myself sorely tempted there too. I guess this needs a SNGPT fiddle to work out his pushing ranges. Five handed it's a lot better for you of course. Four handed it's only good if he has the whole table covered, otherwise he's probably got something worth playing.

I guess ideally you want someone on 5 or 6 BB to be pushing just before you here, with decent FE over the BB.
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  #8  
Old 12-28-2005, 04:57 PM
rvg72 rvg72 is offline
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Default Re: Theory: Approach to Very Short Stack Play

The push was good IMO in a $55+ - lower buyins it might not be since you will often get multiple callers.

Button and SB will generally play this tightly because of the risk of someone coming over the top. BB will be forced to call this and you're very likely ahead. If it was Q2 then it is too weak here but K2 is easy push for me in this scenario.

rvg
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  #9  
Old 12-28-2005, 04:59 PM
microbet microbet is offline
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Default Re: Theory: Approach to Very Short Stack Play

Good idea. I don't really do that. I don't know about any two, but like little suited and/or connected cards sound good. I'll look at the numbers on some of these spots.
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  #10  
Old 12-28-2005, 05:16 PM
Shillx Shillx is offline
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Default Re: Theory: Approach to Very Short Stack Play

It is pretty easy to run the numbers for these spots. They will be a bit ambitious due to the fact that SNGPT doesn't account for overcallers, but here is what I'm getting on the button.

5 players, 4 BB and covered 5 fold in all spots = push top 36%

It goes up a little bit as you get shorter, but the calling ranges become so wide that you have to account for getting called in 2 spots (tougher to do). The top 1/3 of all hands is a good estimate for when you have 2 BB in an SNG (in an MTT it would be 33% &lt; x% &lt; 50%). As your position gets worse, you have to tighten up a little bit. As you add more people, you can widen your range somewhat. So you might push the top 40% with 2 bb and 10 people left while you would only push the top 25% on the bubble. With an infinate number of people still in, you would shove very close to 50% of the time.
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