How To Beast SnG's In 2018 - By 2 time Supernova Elite Ivan "ILS007" Stokes

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Ivan "ILS007" Stokes has been a consistent winner in SNG and MTT's online for over a decade and has been refining his skills and strategies for years, enabling his students to consistenly bank fantastic profits. In recent years he has uncovered groundbreaking strategies based on the most up to date information, creating a system which, if implement at the tables, can help any player turn a healthy profit at the tables. Ivan has shared with HSDB some of his fundamental learnings over the years which have enabled him to win hundreds of thousands of dollars at the tables, so start your 2018 on the front foot and take your SNG game to the next level!

My Top 3 SNG Strategies - by Ivan Stokes of Professional Poker Videos

Over the last decade, myself and my students at Professional Poker Videos have accumulated well over a million dollars of SNG profits, and in this article I'm going to share three top strategies for achieving an optimal ROI in these games. Rather than ramble on, I'd prefer to just get straight to it...


In SNGs, especially single-table SNGs, you are never that far away from the money, but even the best players tend to forget this. It's amazing to get a big stack to leverage, but fundamentally you will achieve a very good ROI by reducing your early bust frequency. The very best players in the world have an ability to get in the money more frequently than average, and convert these cashes to wins much higher than average too. The first part of this equation has to come from avoiding unnecessary marginal collisions. If you flip with slightly good pot odds, ICM tax makes this a negative endeavour and it will become very difficult to generate a solid winrate long-term. Smart ways to avoid these collisions include:

1) opening a bit tighter to reduce the weak stack-offs we would otherwise be forced to make in order to avoid getting exploited by 3bets (if our fold vs 3bet% becomes too high, aggressive regs will pile the aggression on us, and spewy fish will accidentally profit from our imbalance);

2) taking lower variance postflop lines, for example checking in a spot where the alternative would be betting and barrelling through - even if it costs us some chips of EV in taking this safer approach;

 3) just calling with hands that are profitable to call with, instead of 3bet shoving them just because an ICM calculator told us we can 3bet shove them profitably (e.g. flat call JQs in the BB vs CO-BTN instead of 3bet shoving it - usually both options are profitable). This last point is really important, because ICM calculators are showing you the EV of 3bet shoving COMPARED TO FOLDING, NOT the EV of 3bet shoving COMPARED TO FLAT CALLING. Calling is hugely undervalued by most players for this exact reason.


Ok, so we've established the need to be solid early on, but what about when things heat up? I'm now going to sound different when I say that we have to be super aggressive on the bubble wherever possible. We will be able to achieve this when we cover the other players' stacks, whether as the chip leader or when we are near enough to the chip leader in second place. In such situations we should apply pressure constantly, and against regs who fight back, let them know that you will not back down and colliding will hurt them much more than it hurts you. This may mean getting into negative scenarios yourself, knowing that the villain reg will have to give up the counter-aggression sooner rather than later if he likes money. Don't forget to include mixed approaches when stacks are a bit deeper, where you may prefer to minraise steal instead of shove, or to get a cheap limping-in option from the BTN or SB. It is pretty hard to confidently counter-exploit this as one of the shorter stacks at the table who have much more to lose than you.


Ok, so this is not an SNG-specific skill, but it's incredibly important for your SNG ROI to play accurately heads-up. So many identical scenarios will play out over thousands of SNGs when you get heads-up, and imprecision is unacceptable. Learn nash push-fold or utilise a chart like on: and make sure to pay particular attention to stacks <6BBs deep. Greater than that stack depth you need to study more closely the adjustments to factor in limping and minraising ranges, and this can quickly and efficiently be carried out using a Nash calculator, even a free one like this: When estimating the mixed ranges, start with the top 5% of hands for being slowplayed by either minraises or limps, and look for at least 5% of hands that could be bluffed in the same ranges. Bluffs will often include really weak suited hands, and maybe a few low connected/semi-connected offsuit hands like 53-54o for example. Play around a bit and be confident, because at the end of the day we can only guess here. Look at a variety of possibilities to increase your confidence in this area. Here are a couple of exemplars to get you started:





Implement these three top strategies correctly and I am sure that you will enjoy a serious increase in your SNG winrate and ROI. Good luck!

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