A few years ago I wrote an e-book on SNG’s which primary practiced a time honoured strategy of playing very tightly during the early levels and then significantly increasing the level of aggression later on. As with all forms of poker and poker tournaments, well documented strategies become less and less effective the more people are aware of them.
This means that they are basically useless above certain levels and will only succeed against players who have failed to do their homework or who merely want to play poker recreationally. This means novice players of course and by that it also means low-stakes SNG’s. This process is exactly the same with any form of poker. Expect a lot of dead money in a 1000 player MTT that has $250,000 in prize money but also expect the top tournament players on the Internet to also be present.
Remember this, you may be better than the 500 “dead money” players and you may be better than the other 250 intermediates but are you better than the remaining 250 hard core poker tournament players and maybe the 50 top class online tournament players who happen to be amongst the best in the world?
It is these players who you will be competing against for the major prize money and not the dead money players. So this means that if you want to avoid the top players in any form of poker then simply play for smaller stakes. It may not be dramatic and it may not impress anyone but it sure as hell will pull in the dollars.
You simply will be too good for the numerous novices and recreational players at these levels. I would much rather make $5k a month and know that I was fairly certain to make it than recycle money trying to make $30k a month playing the best on the net.
Simple strategies work against simple players for the simple reason being that many of them have no strategy or they are not properly adjusting to the game as it unfolds. We can use the bell curve here to highlight what I mean. The greatest percentage of poker players when it comes to skill fall in and around the normal distribution and this means “average” poker players.
While it is true that the “average” player has more knowledge than a few years ago, it isn’t substantially so to cause a problem for a technically aware player and especially at the “recreational levels”. So at Sit and go tournaments then playing tight at the start and during the early levels still has tremendous value simply because of the fact that too many players simply play badly. Either because of a lack of knowledge or discipline or both, you can make a decent return on investment at the low-stakes SNG’s even though the juice is relatively high.
The trick with this tactic is that it attacks the very weakness that low-stakes SNG players have and that is to tighten up when they are approaching the pay-off places. You can often steal blind after blind after blind in these situations until someone finally wakes up with a calling hand.
Carl “The Dean” Sampson