I'm going to tell you not only how to beat heads up super turbos with the help of some of Tagpoker's Hyper and super turbo specialists but I'm also going to talk to you about where you'll find the best places to play and more importantly, why?
Why play super turbos?
Lot of guys, myself included often wondered why people would want to play a game where the skill edge was so thin?
Well, the truth is, because this is where all of the fish play now. In poker, you have to follow the fish and as the old saying goes, you have to 'adapt or die'.
So having put this off for long enough, I have finally looked into game strategy, had some coaching from a few very successful players, got a few other guys to share their thoughts with you all in both videos for this page as well as talking about their strategy in our new super turbo forum section as well as finding what I think may be the most lucrative option for people looking to play heads up hyper or super turbos.
Important Super & Hyper Turbo Strategy Concepts
Define your opponent
As in all forms of poker, understanding how your opposition plays is a key factor to crushing these games. Unless you re-match your opponent lots of times, you're only going to have very limited information to go on so you have to make use of everything.
I like to define my opponents playing style using some simple stats. Firstly are they raising more than 65% of hands pre flop? If they are then I'll consider them aggressive, if not, then passive. Obviously there are degrees of passiveness such as a player raising 50% of buttons isn't as passive as someone who raises 10%.
Second, how often does my opponent flat call my pre flop raise? If they are calling more than 35% of them then I'll consider my opponent to be loose and less than 35%, tight. These are really basic guides to try and define the style of player you're facing but given how short the games are, you have to just make the best of the information you have.
Always know the effective stack size
Knowing the effective stack size is very important (basically the shortest stack size between the two of you) at all times. This is something that you must drum into yourself continually, as all of your play should be primarily focused around this.
If you're like me and rubbish at instantly knowing how many big blinds you and your opponent have left in your stacks then you can simply set up your HEM HUD to display this. The only downside is that there is sometimes a slight lag which can be a pain if you're multi tabling.
Just because a play is 'plus EV' is it the most EV?
Now I think far too many people just go for the easy EV route as a default and to be fair, in a lot of cases, this won't be wrong. However there will be lots of scenarios in super turbos, against certain player types where a play can be plus EV but maybe not the most profitable way to play the hand?
I hear people in poker forums all the time go on and on about the fact that you HAVE to take any plus EV line, I understand what they are saying but have and I think always will disagree in part, I mean, what if there is more than one '+EV' way to play the hand?.
An example of what I mean, may be in a match vs a really tight/ passive opponent and you're effective stacks are down to say 11bb with a hand like K3. Now it is plus EV to open shove this hand just based on it's strength at this point and against a lot of players that may also be the most EV play, but what about this guy? There will be spots like this that I may steer away from the standard shove/ fold game that so many follow and perhaps limp with a view to stab the flop and pick the pot up a lot, exploiting my opponents weakness playing in limped pots, out of position.
Not shoving and calling wide enough
Ok so this may sound a bit contradictory to my last point but also has some comparisons too.
Shove/ fold charts are certainly a usful tool when playing this short stacked and you should educate yourself with them. Some guys I see playing are far too tight with their shoving ranges but what's much more common are players being extremely tight with their calling of shoves, which in turn makes them very exploitable to super aggressive opponents.
On the flip side of this, as I said in the last post, you will face a variety of different styles and it's your job to adjust to them. Some players are so tight with their calling ranges that it can pay you to shove even wider than your Nash or Chubakov charts say as your opponent is folding too much.
For example, Nash is an equilibrium and has been designed to be unexploitable (don't confuse that with the term optimal) so as such it is built around the idea that your opponent is also playing an equilibrium game as so neither party can exploit each other. However, if you notice your opponent is playing too tight then it's clear they are not playing an equilibrium game and have demonstrated exploitable flaws in their game which will mean you should deviate away from your standard Nash says to do this game and start to think for yourself in these situations.
If you face players that will NOT exploit you, then it's often better to play an exploitable style!
Keep studying the game with others
I have put together a Super Turbo Strategy Forum so that you can get together and share ideas and concepts with other super turbo grinders.
Super turbos can be a very stressful, up and down journey at times and that's why it's even more important to have a solid support network around you.
Make sure you have the tools of the trade Holdem Manager - A HUD (heads up display) is really key to multi tabling these as well as defining players. You will play so many games that they can all blur into one without a HUD to keep track of everything that's going on.
Where's The Most Profitable Place To Play Super Turbos?
With the edges being so slim in these games, I personally think that it's important to find the best value Super Turbos available online. So here I break down the most popular places to play them.
Full Tilt Poker Super Turbos
This is where it all began with the birth of Super Turbos. Their original structure was heavily criticized by the regular players as being unbeatable due to the rake levels. Full Tilt took that on board and later on made adjustments to the rake to enable good players to have an edge and develop a win rate.
Sadly though, after Full Tilt had it's license revoked, the games are only a shadow of their former selves now the site is back up and running. Many question the longevity of the site and it it will ever truly recover.
Pokerstars Hyper Turbos
Pokerstars quickly saw the buzz around Super Turbos and shortly after created their own version of the game 'Hyper Turbos'. These games are pretty much exactly as the games were on Full Tilt with 500 chip (25bb) starting stacks and 2 minute blind increases.
The games here at the lower levels take about 2 seconds to fill up and a match is never far away. Due to the size of the Pokerstars, this is no doubt the busiest place for 'super turbos' but then the same can be said for any of the variants of poker they offer. Does that make them the best choice however?
Merge Super Turbos - My personal choice for Super Turbos
The Merge network have also jumped on the super turbo bandwagon but with a few tweaks to the games offered on Pokerstars.
With the Merge Super Turbos you start with 1500 starting stacks and 25/50 blinds which leaves you with 30 big blinds as opposed to 25. The blind increase is also every three minutes and not two, leaving the more skilled player slightly more room to maneuver, early on.
The final cherry on the cake and my personal reason for choosing the Merge super turbos to play is the fact that at some of the merge Skins such as Carbon poker or Blackchip poker, you can get your hands on 45% rakeback through their VIP deal and while grinding Super or Hyper turbos, rakeback is very, very key to your success!
Heads Up Super Turbo Video
This video is of a couple of general opponents that you'll find on Merge. These matches are a couple of games played for my $50 - $5000 bankroll building challenge and you will see just how soft the players are that you'll come across on Merge.
I thought I'd share a couple of random $8 heads up super turbo games with you, not only to show you how easy the competition here is, but also share a few key concepts that many new players tend to forget.