Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Answer to Zac's Question

Zac Wrote:

Hey Taylor, I'm currently playing $5/$10 HU SnG's at UB looking to improve. Eventually, I want to play higher cash games. What's the most important things you learned from HU SnG's that helped make you a great cash game player? Also, what do you think helped improve your HU the most? Thanks in advance.

This question hits home for me as this is just how i started to play poker online.

The are a TON of things to learn from HU SNG's. I would recommend anyone that has a basic knowledge of NLHE to start playing these before they dive into the cash games.

First, you get to play a TON of hands. Playing one on one you should be playing maybe 8o% of hte hands you are dealt. However, along with playing a lot of hands, you should be noticing some things. Simply put, higher cards win more pots than lower cards. Same thing goes with pairs. You will start to see that hands with just one face card and a 2 or 3 just dont win too many hands. You basically have to hit your big card to win.

You should also concentrate on how opponents play their hands. When an opponent shows down a huge hand like a full house or something, go over the hand history and look at how he played it. Most poker players tend to check their big hands trying to trap the other player. Look at peoples tendencies. You can get a feel for how 'the average' player plays his big hands. Also, when you see a monster hand, think back to any pauses or inconsistencies in the way the player was playing. Did he make the bet really fast? Did he pause? Most times a player with a HUGE hand will change his pace a little bit because he will either A) bet really fast because he knows what he wants to do (bet) or B) wait a little longer because he is unsure of how to play it. If a player is usually chatting, or never chatting, changes in this might also tell you something about his hand.

You can go through the same rundowns of players when you catch someone in a bluff. Basically you just want to make a mental profile of what the average guy tends to do in different situations. You also want to make sure YOU are never doing these things either.

You should focus on playing hands in position as well. it cant be stressed enough in poker to play a hand in position as you have a lot more information with which to act on. When you raise a hand preflop and you are in position, you should make a bet near pot sized about 3/4 of the time. Sometimes if you flop middle pair or if you have two overcards you might check just to keep your opponent off balance. BUt you need to get in the habit of following up a preflop bet with a bet on the flop in order to try to win the pot there.

Once you start to do well at these games, you can start to move up in stakes. See my bankroll management posts for information on that. Once you start to master the higher stakes games, you are probably ready to try to apply this knowledge at the cash games. Along with playing these HU SNG's, you should be playing some full table SNG's too to get experience in full games.

Hope that helps, keep the questions coming.


No comments: