Things are looking better:
- $4.40 180-player SNG, 1st place, $216 (with a “you’re disgusting” bonus comment from my heads-up opponent after my all-in A4s sucked out against his AJs).
- $4.40 180-player SNG, 3rd place, $85.
- $4.40 180-player SNG, 10th place, $8.64 (not especially lucrative, but significant nonetheless because I was able to reach the money in 3 of my 4 most recent $4.40 SNGs).
- A bunch of smaller SNG finishes in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place.
My game has tightened up almost ridiculously. Before the final table in the 180-man SNGs, I’ve typically seen fewer than 10% of flops. It’s agonizing to fold AQ in middle position, but rewarding that my raises are respected and that I win most of my showdowns.
The downside is that I’ve regressed to almost exclusively Level 1/Level 3 thinking. Either my starting hand is not premium and I fold, or it’s a monster so I can safely skip Level 2 (what’s my opponent holding?) and go to Level 3 (how can I make my opponent think I’m weak?). This won’t hold up against skilled opponents, who should peg me as a slowplaying rock and refuse to give me their chips when I am in a pot.
In future games I’ll make a couple adjustments: first, play a few more late- position hands and occasional trash hands, making sure to show these down cheaply if I can. Second, spend the 90% of the game when I’ve folded a hand paying attention to my opponents’ play, attempting to build some Level 2 skills. For the 180-player SNGs where I’m going to spend perhaps an hour with the same opponents before a redraw, the study should be especially worthwhile, as opposed to the turbo SNGs, where players are either weak-tight or super- aggro, and in any event gone after 20 minutes on average.