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Question about All In Equity - Micro Stakes HU SNGs

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  • Question about All In Equity - Micro Stakes HU SNGs

    I have just re-read this after writing and realised the first 2 paragraphs are mainly filler. I have a horrible habit of typing much more than needed. Please skip to paragraph 3 for the short version.

    Hey guys. Bit of background, played poker for years since i was very young in small home games and at my local pubs. (£10 or less normally) I have read a few poker books (Super System, A Bigger Deal* and am currently doing my best to take in Tony Guerrera's 'Killer Poker by the Numbers') I am defiantly an amateur in anyones books, i signed up to Pokerstars and Poker School Online early last week and played some micro cash stakes, I won about $20 over 10,000 hands. Then a few days ago i decided to start playing the HUSNG and this is the form of poker i have played most in real life and enjoy the most.

    So, i watched about half a dozen videos on here about HUSNGs to get a good picture of how to play online and how i was going to go about tackling these SNGs. I have so far played 40 at $1.50 and $3.50 stakes. I am currently down just $2.00, since i started playing the my bankroll has flirted around the breaking even mark, being up roughly $10.00 at peak and down about $10.00 at worst. I am sure i still have many leaks and improvements to be made and am currently working to refine my head up game, i am looking for a good HU book online and still watching training videos on PSO.

    So anyway, i have been getting very unlucky when all in these games. My general strategy is to use small ball poker to grind the opponent down to smaller stake, then find a good spot to finish them when appropriate (I aim for a 3-1 chip advantage before i go for the kill, depending heavily on the situation, cards, opponent, reads, blinds etc.) Without wanting to sound like a whiner i have been getting very unlucky in these heads up situations. So far in 40 tournaments i have had flushes/straights cracked 4 times by runner, runner full houses when villain had just a pair on the flop.

    I believe this is reflected in my All-In Equity chart. (I use poker co-pilot as i am a mac user) From what i understand, and please correct me if I'm wrong, all in equity is how much you should have won once all in if the pot was split according to your percentage chance of winning? My chart shows my all-in equity at 650 bb with total winnings from all in hands at just 200bb. I am aware of variance and that there are much worse streaks that this i could be on and want for enforce the point this thread is not intended as a rant. After all that my simple question is this, is there a possible leak or something i am doing wrong in my game that is causing this gap between to two stats? Or have i simply started out my tournament career on a bit of a downturn in luck? Similarly roughly how many tournament o you need to play before the stats will start to resemble anything like there true meaning? (e.g. in cash games you should aim for 10,000 hands before examining your game to thoroughly)

    Thanks a lot for any feed back and answers guys, if i have got anything wrong please do not hesitate to correct me. I am keen to learn and still a newbie so expect to make mistakes.

    *Not a poker education book, rather a story of a pros experience on the pro circuit.

  • #2
    Hi JayMan! Welcome to the forum.

    You correctly understand what the All in Equity chart means. If you'd won your "fair share" of the pot in the called all in pots, then your overall winnings would be 650bb, but your actual winnings are just 200bb, so you've definitely had some bad luck, as you're currently running at just 31% of EV.

    I'm afraid the All in EV stat/graph tells you nothing about your style of play. Nor does it indicate any leaks. It's just one way of measuring luck. Variance can be brutal in HU SnGs. I'm allergic to variance, so I avoid those games.
    You shouldn't expect your luck to change much (future results are not linked to past results, because luck is random), but the relative gap between All in $ and Net $ should diminish as the sample size increases. It might take a few hundred tourneys to get to 50%, and a few thousand to get to 75%, but will likely never get to 100% or above. Many players (inc. me) will run below EV for their entire career. (About half of poker players are luckier than average, the other half are not. QED)

    I'm not sure how many tourneys you'd have to play for the the gap between the numbers to be something you're comfortable with, but in 9-handed cash games, I ran at 70% of EV for 100,000 hands. You can read more on this topic on my blog.

    Hope this helps!
    Bracelet Winner


    • #3

      I'd also like to welcome you to the forum! Here is a link >>click here<< to help familiarize yourself of what PokerSchoolOnline has to offer.

      I know your initial inquiry is about AIEV, but echoing what Arty's just a way to measure how lucky or unlucky we are. I'd like to touch base with a few keystone points about HU as I see you have a small sample and are willing to learn. Let's start off with me introducing myself >>click here<< for my profile. One thing that needs to be updated in my profile is heads up poker.

      I have a solid sample of a couple thousand HU sngs ($1.50 to $30 level) and have coached hundreds of players for (HU, full ring and 6-max). During the start of my HUSNG experience I'd look a various stat tracking websites after every duel just to see my graph and how pretty it is , after all poker is mainly about winning money and results...right?! But what does constantly looking at a graph while playing mean? It can be interpreted in many different ways depending on individuality.

      One thing that I would suggest right from the start, try not to look at your EV graph as well the cashier until you are done with your session for the day. As looking at your graph or cashier after each duel could affect your overall thought process of approach towards each villain, ultimately leading to +EV spots that should have been taken..but the trigger wasn't pulled...or the cursed and contagious word "tilt"! Some would argue that it's ok to look at EV graph while playing and some would agree with me..just my opinion based on experience...look at your hand history's instead of the EV graph and discuss them friends that play husngs, it's much more important in building your HU foundation for rational thinking.(developing your poker skill)

      Try taking a concrete theoretical approach if you would like to move up in stakes. Alot of the course of actions and/or words that we have learned throughout our experience of being influenced in the poker environment come from friends, forums, videos, books, articles, irl environment and playing..all of which are vital in our learning curve. But alot of the poker language that is in place is too vague and intuitive to be useful. It could hinder the learning curve. Examples: "I should check raise here for value" ... ok why? or "I should check back for pot control" ... ok why? are all based on assumptions.

      A big eureka moment for me is when I realized there is so much to learn about heads up poker regarding theory/fundamentals, it's not a "shake..blow.. roll the dice" type of game as many people associate this game to be because of variance and other contributing factors. Many of those type of assumptions are based on personal preference.. being comfortable playing conventional poker 17% range at full ring (9-max) with a straight forward ABC approach or 22% range at 6-max with a TAG approach (tight aggressive). In my opinion heads poker is the "purest form of poker" playing 65% to 80% (hopefully opened for a raise lol) range, not watered down and is certainly a more complex form of poker as it involves more decision making. Keep in mind that being good at HU does not entail the individual to be good at 9-max or 6-max vice versa...(not always the case)

      Throughout my years of being a poker forum moderator, I've came across THOUSANDS of unique personalities and enjoyed every moment of it! I wouldn't want it any other way! I've met many online HUSNG, 6-Max and 9-Max specialists throughout my poker journey from all around the world with skill sets ranging from micro, low, mid and high stakes...Raising this red flag...theory or experience, which is more important? I've met some players that play micro stakes that can accurately dissect hand ranges of a mid stakes hand history and put it into language, I've also met some mid stakes players that are phenomenal at playing a game of HU that can dissect hand ranges and cannot put it into language. As the saying goes, "trial and error" put in volume and overtime our natural ability will abandon the bad habits/leaks and correct itself to play near optimal poker, even if no foundation of theory was ever taught to the individual..It comes down to the schemata (mental framework), things highlighted in green in the above paragraph! (poker theory, experience and instruction)

      One last thing.. many players do this. AVOID doing this, regardless of who your opponent is, whether you think you have an edge on the villain or need for ego. When not playing "thinking poker" is when we are most vulnerable to losing money, as each situation/dynamic while playing will not be absorbed fully leading us to not use our schemata.

      So much more to be discussed, I could ramble on for hours about poker..but I'll leave you with this..

      Best of luck to you at the tables and thank you for being a member of

      Kind regards,

      Quintuple Bracelet Winner



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