Sit and Go Tournaments are a format essentially unique to online poker. While single table satellites have a long history in live poker, the idea of a one-table freezeout with no greater goal or prize didn’t really take off until the online poker boom. Fast forward a few years and you find a fully developed format that has evolved into a unique type of poker with strategy and tactics all of its own. Jared Hubbard, known online as jhub3000, is one of the top players in the format. You’ll consistently find Hubbard sitting atop the leader boards at Sharkscope across several SNG categories. Jared was nice enough to take a few minutes away from the tables to answer our questions about SNG play, the life on an online SNG pro, and his outlook on the future of the game.
Check out Jhub’s blogg at at http://jhub3000.livejournal.com
PTP: You’re one of the top online sit and go players. Tell our readers a little about how you settled on that format as your primary game.
JH: I started out online at $1 & $2 SNGs. I made some money but not a lot. I read some books & then switched to cash games (NL hold em & limit O8), which is when I really started learning & getting better at the game. After a while I wasn’t making as much so I decided to give SNGs a try since I was a more advanced player now. I immediately did well so I decided to stick with them.
PTP: What resources and players (if any) were useful to you as you were developing your game?
JH: Having others players review my play, & then being able to review their hand histories was very crucial. When I first moved up to the $119 level I got a lot of help from Newt_Buggs, who was one of the biggest winners in SNGs on Party Poker but has since moved to cash games. That helped a lot. After that I worked with Atomicdog239 & MikeMcQ1 & we reviewed each others’ play. I have since become good friends with Kenny05 & we’ll occasionally talk about hands together. I’ve also had BigJoe2003 review some of my play. I think just talking with all of the players helped a lot. Other than that the most helpful thing was just doing tons of calculations on my own, making sure I was getting every situation down almost perfectly.
PTP: What’s a typical day of play like for you? How about a typical week?
JH: A typical day/week varies a lot. In an average week I’ll probably play somewhere around 40 hrs. Then the rest of the time is split between working out, and just hanging out with friends, family, and my girlfriend. I generally take off between 10-15 weeks during the year for vacation and other things, so I’ll have plenty of weeks where I play more than 40 hours, trying to somewhat make up for all of the missed time. A typical day is hard to predict. It depends what I have going on. I might play 0 hrs, I might play 4 hrs, or I might play 8-12 hrs. It really depends what’s going on & what I feel like.
PTP: A lot of players seem to approach profiting from SNGs as a problem of volume. Is that a reflection of the games getting tougher, of the slightly mechanistic nature of SNGs, or a little of both?
JH: Well, I think all games are matter of volume to a degree. I mean, whether you’re playing MTTs, cash games, or SNGs you’re still going to make more playing 8 tables at $10 per game than 4 tables at $15 per game. Players who don’t get it tend to overrate ROI, but hourly rate and total profit are what’s most important if you’re looking to make the most money. Also, due to SNG players generally getting better rakeback deals, many of the games higher stakes SNG players choose to play maybe due primarily to the rakeback. If they’re playing a $565 or a $1K SNG that has a lot of tough players in it, they might only be making $1-$2 in that game average without rakeback, but when you factor in 40-60% rakeback that game all of a sudden looks pretty profitable. This be the case more so in SNGs than other games, & this may be due partly to a slightly mechanistic nature of them, but I think all games are a problem of volume to a degree. I don’t think it has much to do with the games getting tougher. SNG players have always been known for playing a lot of tables. It’s just that players have advanced their games more in the last few years, so situations are more automatic. Therefore, instead of a mass multi tabling full table SNG player being known for playing 8-12 tables, they might now be known for playing 20+ tables, because they have made the decisions easier on themselves through extensive studying & practice.
PTP: SNGs are big online, but they’re not nearly as popular live. Do you play much live, and what game do you prefer when you do play live?
JH: I don’t play much live. NL cash games are illegal in MN & there’s no place nearby that can come close to matching my hourly rate online. I also find live poker somewhat boring compared to online poker, as I’m used to playing 10-12 tables at a time. When I do play live, I prefer NL hold em cash games, or the 2-3 big buy-in Nl tournaments I’ll play every year.
PTP: Are you pretty happy with SNGs as your primary game, or do you plan to transition to another format any time in the near future?
JH: I’m happy with SNGs as my primary game for now but I’ll almost certainly be transitioning to another format in the future. If I put the time into it, I could probably make more money in cash games. However, I figure if I’m going to be doing this as my career until I retire, I may as well stick to SNGs until I’m sick of them or am really itching to play another game. Minnesota is very cheap so what I make is definitely more than I need. I’m sure at some point both NL hold em cash games and pot limit omaha will be my main game, or whatever the most profitable and fun game at the time is.
PTP: You made SuperNova Elite on Stars last year. Are you going to maintain that this year?
JH: I almost certainly won’t be maintaining it this year. Lately I’ve been playing about 60% of my games on Cake Poker & once I get back to playing regularly again I’m going to mix in 10 mans & be playing almost exclusively on Cake Poker.
PTP: Say the US decides to allow regulated online poker from major casinos like Harrah’s, etc, sometime in the near future. Do you think we’d see a return to the soft games of the Party Poker era, or are those days gone for good in your mind?
JH: In all honesty, I think Cake Poker is pretty close to what Party Poker was in terms of the softness of the games. However, in terms of the softness of all sites overall, I think we would definitely see a significant decrease in the skill level of the average player, but I don’t think it would be quite to the extent that all the games would be as easy as they were pre gambling bill. There’s too many educational resources out there nowadays.
PTP: Results reporting tools like Sharkscope, PokerDB, etc – good for the game as a whole or bad?
JH: I think they’re good for the game overall. They’re available to all players so it doesn’t give one player an advantage over another. I also find it fun to follow the leaderboards on sharkscope.com. However, the one thing I don’t like is that I think it causes more of the lesser skilled players to get berated or made fun of in the chat. You see a lot of “You’re down $10K blah, blah, blah” nonsense. I wish people would just get an instant chat ban when they did that.
Check out Jhub’s blogg at at http://jhub3000.livejournal.com