I've had a cold the past week, so I haven't played as much poker as usual. Still, I have made it to the Mirage often enough to play in eight more Sit-N-Go (SNG) tournaments. My results have matched my approximations as closely as possible: 2 first places and 1 second place in the 8 attempts. I had guessed that I should place about 40% of the time, with somewhat more 1st place finished than 2nd place. In actuality I have placed 37.5% of the time. Adding the first two I played, I now have 4 first places and 1 second out of ten. Here are some new observations:
The tournaments tend to take much longer to start up than I had experienced when I wrote my previous post. During the day (before 5:30PM), they were unable to get even one SNG started. They stopped even trying to run them from about 5:30PM to 7PM so as to not interfere with registration for their nightly multi-table tournaments. Once they start back up in the evening, though, they seem to be able to get a new tournament going every hour or so, and they often have two running at once. Playing in cash games while waiting for the SNGs to start works well, except that it means I cannot get settled into a cash game for long. On the other hand, if the cash game is good enough, I can always opt to stay and forgo the SNG when it starts.
The cheaper SNGs ($70) run much more often than the more expensive ones ($115 and $175). Of the eight I played since last posting, six were $70 SNGs (2 firsts) and only two were $115 (1 second place finish). I have never seen a $175 tournament run.
The competition has been on average a bit tougher than before. In six of the eight tournaments there was at least one other pro at my table. Still, in all but one of the tournaments, there were at least three truly terrible players.
Even against the other pros, I am very confident in my short-handed game. Thus, I think my optimal strategy is to play extra tight until the table becomes somewhat shorthanded, because that maximizes the chances that I will still be in the tournament at that point. Even if on average I will have fewer chips, just being alive late in the tournament seems to provide me with many fruitful EV opportunities that I suspect more than make up for whatever I may have sacrificed with overly conservative play early in the tournament.
None of this is particularly relevant to me anymore, however, because on Tuesday (Sept 19) I'm moving to Los Angeles.