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How to Beat Small Stakes MTTs (part 1)   Back

Playing the $2.20/180’s on stars!


Hey guys! Since I'm doing a video series on online video poker about how to beat the small stakes 180’s on stars I thought it would be a good idea to put my thoughts on the subject in writing as well. Please post comments and questions on the message board. Talking online poker is a great way to improve your game!


Why do I play the small stakes 180’s?


Time. Playing regular poker tournament schedule with 1k+ players takes forever. I’ve got family and kids so I cannot sit up all night anymore. With the turbo 180’s, that last about an hour and fifteen minutes, if  Igo all the way I can usually play about 40 to 60 tournaments during 4 or 5 hours.


Multi-tabling. I use a very tight/aggressive approach early in the tournament, and since Iam folding most hands when stacks are deep contra BB i can multi-table 20 to 25 tables and still keep a decent ROI (return of investment). When my stack is less than 13 BB Iam in a shove/fold mode and the only decision i need to make is whether to shove or fold.


Bad opponents. There are plenty of bad players in the small stakes 180’s ($2.20) that are there to gamble or have a good time. They are way too loose early on when blinds are small, and when blinds get bigger they tend to tighten up quite a bit. This is actually the reverse of how you should approach the game. Keep it tight early on and whenever blinds matters, open up your game. Don't worry about busting on the bubble. The payout structure is really top-heavy so give yourself a shot to reach top three. Otherwise you aren’t going to make any money playing these.


What kind of return can I expect playing these small stakes 180’s?


By looking at some of the players that are regulars at this level you will see them having a ROI between 30 and 50%. This is very doable as soon as you get used to the format and are only making marginal mistakes. My own ROI is about 47% (about $1/game in profit) in 4000 games, and to be honest, I’m making a few mistakes here and there, mostly due to playing to many tables but my dollar/hour is still higher then if i played less tables with a marginal better ROI. That’s the good thing about these $2.20/180’s. There’s room for mistakes since your opponents will make even more/bigger mistakes. In the $12/180’s, you don’t have this luxury anymore.


Hardware and software


If you plan on taking your game seriously I suggest that you invest some money and buy either HoldemManager ( or PokerTracker 3 ( Go ahead with the Texas holdem poker download the free trial and get a feeling for each of these softwares. They basically do the same stuff so whichever you decide to go with doesn’t matter. Personally I use HoldemManager because I like the HUD better. But I think I could get the same look and feel with PokerTracker HUD if I gave it a try. I’m lazy so I won’t.

I play most of my games on a tiny (read shitty) laptop with not to impressive resolution. It works for me since i stack all of my tables anyway and I don’t really need a very large desktop-area. Sure its nice to be able to tile my last 6 or 8 games without to much overlap, but it’s not a big deal since most of the time I’ve got more tables then that open anyway.

By stacking the tables you get full focus on one table at the time without being distracted by flashing tables all over the screen. When I’m done and action is clicked, next table will pop-up automatically. This is where the next software comes into play, TableNinja. You wont be able to play without it once you get used to it. If you play 4 to 6 tables you don’t need it. But if you plan on having 15+ tables running simultaneously TableNinja will do the trick.You can use TableNinja to filter the lobby and open up specific games for you and by using parameters for total games, number of games running at the same time and so on, your multi-tabling experience will go from “wasting a lot of time on opening new games and screwing around with the lobby” to put 100% focus on your game. TableNinja will also assist you if you are sitting out on one of the tables. This is great when stacking tables.

None of these softwares are necessary but HM and PT3 will definitely help you to make more accurate decisions against players you have played against before.


“Stats” I use in my HUD:


1.    VPIP% (Voluntarily put money in the pot)

2.    PFR% (Pre-flop raise)

3.    Number of hands

4.    LF% (Limp/fold)

5.    Steal% (How often someone will try to steal from late position)

There is a few more stats that I would use if I played a different type of SNG’s, but since I’m playing a very fast paced turbo-structured tournament I don’t find stats like cbet% very useful. In most case you or your opponent  will be committed after a continuation bet so whether or not someone is making a cbet or not is probably better determined by someone`s stack size.

I will try to make a few replays were we involve decisions based on a players stats.


We will talk some strategy in regards to different blind-levels and positions in the next article.


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