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DoN SnG Challenge Update 8

It's been a while since I've posted an update on my Double or Nothing Sit-n-Go Challenge.

I had a bit of a down turn. My last two updates were me reporting I was break even. It was a bit demoralizing and I wasn't putting in the volume I needed to meet my goal.

Instead I was taking a look at my stats and hand histories in working on figuring out what adjustments I need to make. It seems to have helped.

Since my last update my win rate has been ~ 58% and my ROI around 8% with a $120 profit bringing my challenge bankroll up to $627.

PokerTableRatings New Replayer

I noticed Daniel Negreanu tweeted that he was going to hit the 100/200 NLHE tables on Pokerstars after busting out of the EPT main event in Monte Carlo. I missed the live action so I turned to PokerTableRatings to check out the replay.

PokerTableRatings.com (PTR) is a site where you can check both your own and other players cash game stats (NLHE and Omaha only). You can even download hand histories to import into PokerTracker, PokerOffice or Holdem Manager to give your database a boost.

PTR provides a lot of information as well as the ability to replay hands and sessions. The PTR hand replayer was recently overhauled but I just noticed that there was another change that looks like it came online today.

PokerStars Taking On Short Stackers

PokerStars announced some upcoming changes to their NL/PL Cash Game tables.
Many USD currency Hold’em and Omaha games with No-Limit or Pot-Limit betting will be offered with new and different minimum, maximum, and default buy-in amounts. Most stakes of NL Hold’em and PL Omaha will be offered as follows:

20-50 bb, with default buy-in of 40bb
40-100 bb, with default buy-in of 80bb
100-250 bb, with default buy-in of 200bb and ante equal to 20% of the Big Blind
I'm not too sure this is the best way to deal with the problem. I'll go into details further down.

The reason for the change is to help deal with the large number of players that have been buying in at the minimum.

A lot of poker players have been complaining about short-stackers ruining the game. At first I didn't think it much of it. One or two at a table didn't seem like a big deal and they were pretty easy to beat but it's getting harder and harder to find a table that isn't just full of short stackers. So many of the tables look the like the one pictured.

Short stackers are a nuisance because there is very little post flop play when they're in the hand. They're either pushing all in pre-flop or on the flop. When you get involved in a pot with a short-stacker, you're flipping for 20BB in most cases.

PokerStars had previously set up 50BB min tables but the problem is that the competition at those tables seems to be tougher. The recreational players usually sit at the "normal" tables. You identify a weak player limping in, you raise to isolate them and short-stacker pushes all in. While you had a hand that you were comfortable playing on the flop, it's not a hand you want to put 20BBs in preflop.

There are strategies to deal with shortstackers but you're essentially adopting a short-stacking mentality yourself, which isn't a lot of fun and not very profitable. If players wanted to play a push/fold strategy they would just stick to sit-n-gos.

The way most shortstackers make money is through volume and rakeback/bonuses. PokerStars doesn't offer rakeback. Rewards and bonuses are awarded based on VPPs which are accumulated based on rake. All players that are dealt into the hand get a share of the VPP regardless if they put any money into the pot or not.

Not only are short stackers taking the play out of the game, when they sit at 24 tables with single digit VPIPs they are earning as many VPPs as the players that are putting their money on the line. This seems to be an abuse of the PokerStars VIP Reward Program and unfair to other players.

A Better Way To Deal With Short Stackers

My initial reaction to PokerStars' changes isn't enthusiastic. I like the additon of the 100BB-2500BB tables. Deep stacked poker is a much different game but I don't like the change of the 40BB-100BB and additionof the 20BB-50BB tables.

The 50BB-100BB tables should have been left as is in my opinion. I don't see any reason to lower the min buy-in at that level. The 20-40BB tables might have been better off being just a straight 20BB table.

I don't think the changes will really have much of an effect. Good short stackers will move up to the 40BB-100BB tables and just do the same thing there. Players that like to play very deep can play at the 100-250BB tables.

Players getting screwed are ones that like to play 50-100BB deep. We're either going to have to get better at playing deeper or deal with the new generation of 40BB short stackers.

A better solution in my opinion would be to put limitations on short-stacking. Since most short stackers play very tight and don't contribute much in terms of rake, especially when compared to the amount of VPPs they receive, PokerStars could limit players to a maximum of 2 tables where they bought in for less than 50BBs and no more than 1 or 2 short stackers per table. They can play as many of the special 20BB tables as they want though.

This would really make a difference in terms of short stacking. Without being able to put in the volume, they wouldn't have incentive to play that way. If they were gone from the site I don't think it would have much of an impact for PokerStars' revenue, in fact it might increase it.

It seems that much of the money short-stackers win is by stealing pots pre-flop with their shoves. Pots won before a flop do not generate rake. The ratio of VPPs earned to actual rake paid is probably very high for short stackers. PokerStars is paying out a lot in bonuses and getting little in return on top of making the site unpleasant for many.

PokerStars made the announcement in a thread on twoplustwo.

Ferguson and Negreanu Think the Micros are Hard!

When I first started this blog it was to document some of my progress as a poker player and some of my micro stakes bankroll building challenges. Some big names in poker have also done bankroll challenges and I've wound up writing articles about their strategies and progress.

I figured it might be a good idea to take this journalistic approach even further by creating WSJesque hedcut portraits of them. Pretty slick huh?

I messed up and didn't make the hedcut big enough so needing to fill up space I emailed a few questions to Chris Ferguson and Daniel Negreanu hoping one of them would reply. Much to my surprise, they both did!!

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