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Are SNGs & tournaments 90% luck?

I know for grinding cash games there's a lot of skill involved, but for SNGs & tournaments I think it's all luck. I do really poorly at APT SNGs so I followed "Advisors" advice for many games, and placed out-of-the-money for each of them (at the easiest level - the advisors seem too aggressive for SNGs). The times I did win 1st place, I'm the first to admit it was pure luck.


  • highfive
    Tournaments are skill games along with cash games, SnGs being a small field tournament. There's more luck in tourneys due to small stack sizes and the push/fold stage. Hero might have a huge edge on villain but it can be reduced to simple math when villain ships AQ vs hero's TT for example. May the force be with you in this case. Hero's edge is eliminated. The result depends on how the cards run out. Play perfectly and 1 bad card sends you to the showers.
    When the bad card comes in cash games, it is not off to the showers. Hero can reload and continue. Eventually skill will win and luck may come to you instead.
  • awiggi3a

    I would say there is more luck involved in cash games than tourneys. You can be a low iq player, sit down at a cash game, get a few lucky hands, and get up and leave way up in a limited amount of hands, and go home thinking you're Phil Ivey.

    But for a low iq player to cash, let alone get to the final table and take down a tourney, they'd have to get lucky over and over and over and over again over many hands, which variance normally does not allow. Yes, obviously running that good can happen, but i think the way larger volume of hands in a tourney will weed out incompetent players over time.

  • highfive
    But then another player sits in the open seat and we continue. One has to keep getting lucky forever which as you say variance does not allow. I like my skill over time versus luck. There is no death penalty in cash other than being broke.
  • hasenh

    I think the advisors are designed for cash games since they do what is best to generate a profit in the long run. But in a tournament they normally lose because they fold absolutely everything but great hands and fold against most raises. By the time they have a good hand and a good chance to actually win some money their money is all gone due to the ever growing blinds and the ante. Their intelligence doesn't seem to take this into account.

  • monkeysystem
    To answer your question about whether tournaments are mostly skill or luck, go to the Hendon Mob website. Go to the player rankings. Then pull up the record of some individual players. You will note that these players cash and go deep in mid stakes (1,000+) a lot -- often more than once each month. You can see how they dominate regional tournaments, often going deep more than once in the festivals they travel to. Many of these players maintain this level of success for years.

    It can't be 90% luck.
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