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Q&A #119: How Do I Apply SPR To My Game?

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In the first no-limit book that I co-wrote with Sunny Mehta and Matt Flynn (as opposed to the upcoming book), Professional No-Limit Hold’em: Volume 1 (PNL1), we devoted a large chunk of the text to the concept of using Stack-to-Pot Ratios (SPR) to plan your hands and to make commitment decisions.

The SPR for a hand is defined simply: It’s the size of the effective stacks remaining divided by the size of the pot after the preflop betting round. So if after the preflop betting is done the pot is $40 and the effective stacks are $200, the SPR is 5 ($200 / $40).

In PNL1, we talk a lot about how to use this SPR number to help plan your hands and make decisions while you play.

Today’s questioner, vb_rounder, asks on the message board if I really use these SPR numbers when I make decisions and how useful I really think the concept is:

I’m curious as to how often you apply the concepts found in pnl vol. 1 to your game (i.e. SPR, commitment threshold, etc.)? I rarely see you incorporating these terms in your articles, so I’m curious as to whether your contribution to the project was more from an organizational/literary standpoint (similar to NLHETAP), or more strategic? I read pnl when it first came out and didn’t care much for it compared to your other books (i.e. GSIHE, SSHE, and NLHETAP). Once the SPR chapter hit, I lost interest as it seemed a little too complex to be practical in a live cash game setting. Personally, I love your cardplayer articles and the style of writing. I like the ease in which they present good, practical information to the reader and are not convoluted with math and impractical theories or concepts.

I realize this question might be dated, but due to your current involvement with pnl 2 i thought I’d ask.

I’m definitely glad vb_rounder likes my Card Player articles, his observation about them is accurate, and the style I adopt in them is intentional. When I write for Card Player, I focus on simple, no-nonsense advice that I think should improve the average reader’s game. I delve very little into the math. The reason I write these articles this way is because I have a limit of only about 1,000 words to get my point across, and I think I can usually use those words better by providing a hand example rather than some math. Also, Card Player readers often read casually, while they’re waiting for a seat at the cardroom for instance, so I try to write casually to match.

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2 Responses to “Q&A #119: How Do I Apply SPR To My Game?”

The Leopard
@ Thu Feb 12, 2009 03:09:38 PM

Hi Ed,

In the book you identify 4 being a good SPR to aim for with top pair good kicker against typical players, and 5 for an overpair.

In your experience in online 6 max games what do you think a good SPR is for these hands?

I realise it’s very player dependent what would be the best number to aim for against a typical player – i’d imagine it’s a little higher for 6 max?


Boat Rod
@ Mon Aug 03, 2009 09:20:35 PM

Ed, Is the book you’re currently working on applicable for novices? If not you have a recommendation.

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