How well do you play when you 1st sit down?

I recently was thinking to myself “I wonder if the 1st tournament I sit down and play shows any better or worse results?” I thought I might play tighter, possibly more distracted due to getting things setup, as well as being busy checking emails and working on other work. However, I also thought my mind is fresh and less prone to tilting. So I decided to give it more looking into. Since I actually have a daily running tally on every game I play, I basically went back to last January 2008 and copied my data onto another spreadsheet and deleted out every game except for the 1st sit in go I played each day. Here were my results:

Each SNG not being my 1st game: $10 per hour, per game

Each SNG as my 1st of the day: $7.60 per hour, per game

It actually is much worse as I separated out the standard sng’s from the “double-up” sng’s. at $1.60 per hour, per game

(I figure the reason for this might just be because the double ups have no end game and are a bit less complicated to play.)

I will say the data used reflecting 1st sng’s is 314 games taking 168 hours of play, which might seem like alot of data, but is still susceptable to random variance swings. I do believe when using common sense, it seems to make sense. In anything we do the 1st time, we are probably not at our best. As any sporting event you have ever been to might show, they all warm up prior to the big game. Why would it be any different for poker?

So how will this information guide my future play?
I would probably like to delve deeper into the data and see if I am just playing too cautious or busting out earlier more often. This information, again, is based on how I play, and might not be as useful for somebody else who might be able to sit down with good energy and give 100% of their attention to every game. In my personal case, if I am playing winning sng’s, I will keep playing into the night until I lose one or two. So if you look at the last 1 or 2 sng’s I play each day it will probably show pretty bad results even though I am playing quite well.

My recommendation for other players out there: In my particular case I am still somewhat profitable my 1st game, however, most players with less experience and skill are probably fighting to keep their heads above water as it is, and starting off the day on a downswing is probably much more damaging and could cause an earlier bout of tilting. I would recommend trying to play smaller than your normal average buyin and if things work out well, than you can move up to a higher level of play feeling confident in your game, and if things do start off poorly you have already minimized your losses and can continue to play small until things work out better. This would be a much better strategy than what I typically hear when I talk with amateur players who get tilted and lose and then try and play bigger to make their money back, which leads to an inevitable crash to their bankrolls.

Lately I’ve been getting a lot of questions on where to find a good book devoted strictly to sit’n’go’s? Most of the poker books out there have maybe one chapter or a few pages devoted to these tournaments (Typically 6 or 10 player tournaments which pay 2-3 players based on finish.) In general, they will all basically tell you to play tight early and more aggressive late, with a few examples. In most cases I think it’s ok advice for smaller buyins $1-30 buyins, but there are so many variables that can make or break you, it would be a good idea to study a little deeper. Check out “Sit ‘in Go Strategy”, by Collin Moshman.

How well do you play when you 1st sit down? 1

It was first printed in 2007, so I’m sure at the higher limits, there are some strategies that might be debated, however, the book runs through a number of tough scenarios and specific ways to look at and play a hand based on strictly sit ‘n go style tournaments. If you have read any of Dan Harrington’s books, it is from the same publisher (2+2 publishing) and it has a very similar style of teaching. It runs for $24.95, which in my mind is probably the cost of what most people to play 1 single sit’n go, and you will probably make that money back hand over fist if you can retain some of it or plug a few leaks.

I tried to find an applicable quote from the David Apostolico’s book based off Sun-Tzu war strategies “Tournament Poker and the Art of War”How well do you play when you 1st sit down? 2: “We are not fit to lead an army on the march unless we are familiar with the face of the country – its mountains and forests, its pitfalls and percipices, its marshes and swamps.”

Good luck at the tables. Please keep the feedback coming (email, comments, and questions). Donkeyherder


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