I recently got serious about trying to improve my HU SNG game, rather than playing just to play I have read as much info as I could find and talked to people I respected about strategy. I decided to give it a go on Lock and have played since end of June early July and have played 157 games so far and am in the profit thus far. My ave stake is around $11 total profit is under $200 ROI is around %17. BUT this is far too small a sample size. The meat of my question is what number should I be shooting for to see if I am indeed a winning player and not just running over my expected value, 1000, 5000, 10000? I really enjoy the heads up meta game. Up to this point being honest with myself and my game, at best I was a break even player online, at best lol. I never fully respected the differences between online and live play and didn't use any sort of BR management because I would toss $100 or 2 online and play MTTs and cash putting most of BR in play. This time I've decided to play as serious as I can, and I studied before I redeposited and decided to make a go. I'm not as interested in the money at current time as I am of being consistent winner and having a positive ROi, cause honestly I'm not going to get rich playing $10-20 HU SNG on lock poker, lol. Thanks to anyone who responds.
I'm not familiar with the structure on Lock, and all sites have variants on starting stacks, level time, blind increases, etc... and this will alter your win rate, but they are all similar. As someone who's played over 15,000 HU SNG, and studies variance, and other players results, I can give you a good "feel" for how to gauge your rate or "number" as I like to designate. For starters, lets say you're playing regular speed with 10 minute levels and 1500 starting stacks. Lets say the blind levels are 10/20, 15/30, 25/50, 50/100, 100/200, 150/300.. This was the "old classic" standard pokerstars used to use pre black friday. Turbo's slightly increase the variance and reduce win-rates, and hypers are incredibly volatile (although countered somewhat by volume).Edited By: shakhtar Jul 16th, 2012 at 12:43 AM
I personally always kept track of wins and win rate rather than roi (same thing essentially, but this is better). I always kept track on separate sheet of paper with colored sharpies my score for evry 1,000 games. This is broken up with separate scores per 100, and 500. (i used to even score quarters (25) and halfs (50)). This keeps the monotony interesting, as you can try for personal bests in each category. When you finish your first 1,000 games, this will establish your "number" which is simply win rate per 1,000. If you are a 57% winner at a level, you should almost always score between 550-590 while occasionally hitting slightly outside those parameters. At the $20 regular speed level, you should strive to win at least 58 or 59%(regular speed) before moving up to the next level. Your ultimate goal should be to win 55-57% at the $100 level. Any higher level than that, you better be ultra-sharp because the % of weak players drops significantly. Naturally, you keep the buy-in the same for every game. When you want to move up in $ level, start a new chart.
You need volume for 3 reasons: to reduce variance, to make money, and most importantly, to stay sharp and improve. If you single table you need to play at least 100-125 games every week. Most players will eventually go to 2 tabling when they're comfortable to increase their volume and hourly rate (i never did, but that's another topic). You should almost NEVER score below 50 in a 100 game set at regular speed. Just so you have something to get an idea of variance,in my last 50 sets of 100 (5,000 games), I had two 49's, twelve between 50-55, twenty two between 55-60, thirteen between 60-65, and had one freaky good of 70 (personal best). That equated to a 57.6% win rate for that 5,000 games. These were mostly $50's. At $20 level, you should eventually do better than that, as they are a little easier.
Last thing I can tell you about HU SNG is it's not all about standard strategies, in fact, it is more about adjustments, exploitation, and mental strength. The key is, playing the best against the exact opponent you are playing at the time, which means you may play an identical situation completely different depending on the opponent. Obviously, you eventually get into shove mode when the blinds get really big, but even late stage game play has an interesting twist to it thats also dependant on opponent. Also, how will you play when you are running bad, or a particular player is beating you up. Many good players drop 1-3% of their win rate by tilting too often, or being too stubborn and letting their ego not quit a player who is better than him.
HU SNG is a great variant of poker, because you can specialize in a particular discipline and have a constant edge against the recreational player who enjoys a quick occasional game or two in the 1 on 1 format. It's a lot easier to gauge your yearly income, and is a very low risk way to increase a bankroll. The downside, is that its a real grind, so you better have a twisted love of the grind. You'll never make "the big score", but you can methodically get to where you want to be, if you put the work in.
Sharkscope is an obvious tool to use (not familiar with Lock). A great use of sharkscope which most subscribers don't utilize is analyzing better players results. What are they playing, how often are they playing, what is their win rate, what is their variance, and how much are they making? This should inspire you because you'll know what is possible. I used to always look at the results of the great $100 HU grinders like Janekaaa, breid 525, The deuce 88, and of course, the former king of the $200 HU SNG, ThePabloShow. This was all pre-2011 pokerstars, and a lot has changed, so you need to find your own set of hero's and study their results, and strive to match them, Even if you never do, you'll be the best you can be.
Wow, very good response, very well written and thought out. I DEFINITLY appreciate you taking the time to give me advice and your personal perspective. I have picked up on the feel aspect and know what I can get away with against certain opponents and those I can't (ie raising 90% of buttons and c-betting 80% of flops against players waiting for actual hands to play back. And opponents who are more tricky and are 3 betting me oop or playing same way as me. I have found a significant difference in the $5-10 to $17-$25 range. Much more odds of running into more competent play. What I have been doing is writing down players I play and notes on them outside of the notes I have been writing online, cause I don't always remember my online notes when I see a player in the lobby and I'm trying to stay away from the players I have found to be more tricky and play well. But I like the win loss writing on paper as well. I have taken some shots higher that $25 but I am still not skilled enough to be a consistent winner up there, there's some really good players and I see the same names up there everyday. My short term goal is to continue being a winner at low levels I am playing at and continue to improve. In the short month I have been grinding my HU SNG I have been slowly building up my online bankroll, slowly but it's going in right direction. I am getting alot better at my hand reading and taking advantage of obvious situations that I am transitioning into my MTT play as well (playing very small there here and there as well). It's not about big scores for me, but making improvements. Losing is inevitable in poker, nobody wins everything all the time, question I want answer to be yes to is....Am I improving. Thanks again, and hopefully I never see ya heads up, at least till I'm ready lol :-)