Since he started playing online poker in 2006, Jared Hubbard, known as jhub3000 or jhub30 on various sites, has been crushing 6-max and HU SNGs at the medium and high stakes tables. Among his many accomplishments, Jared was one of the top earners in single table and 5-to-6 player SNGs during his first year as a pro in 2007. In 2010, he was among the top single table SNG earners (leading 6-max SNG profit when combining usernames).
In addition to his success on the virtual felt, Jared won the 2011 Canterbury Fall Classic Main Event for $70,769. Jhub can be found multitabling 6-max and HU SNGs at Lock Poker, where he is a sponsored pro. You can learn more about him at www.jaredhubbard.com. Jared has total online earnings of over $1.5 million.
PokerUpdate: What advice would you give to a losing or breakeven player who wants to build a bankroll and develop his or her game? What are some major epiphanies that you’ve had while developing into a world class SNG player?
Jared Hubbard: The best ways to improve are: a) ICM calculators (SitNGo Wizard); b) training videos (Bluefire, Cardrunners and SitnGoGrinders); c) forums (Two Plus Two); and d) discussing hands with other players over AIM, Skype or email.
Ultimately, I think some combination of all is best.
I started to grow as a player when I found Two Plus Two. However, as the forum has grown in popularity, the quality of the content has gone down. It can still be used for beginner concepts, but once you get more advanced the forum doesn’t offer much.
The same goes for books. Colin Moshman’s Sit ‘n Go Strategy will be good for a beginner, but he or she understands the basic concepts, the book isn’t going to do much. Kill Everyone is another SNG book worth reading for beginner and intermediate players.
PU: When getting to higher stakes SNGs, do more complex components such as meta game, bluffing and balancing come more into play? Or do you find that the fundamentals still get you by?
JA: They definitely come into play in higher stakes SNGs, just not as much as other forms of poker because of the ICM factor. A lot of players can get by without playing very good post flop in the lower stakes SNGs, but when you get into the higher stakes regular/turbo speed SNGs, where most people have some sort of idea of ICM, being able to play post flop is very important.
When moving up I started to balance my 3bet range with some bluffs, which I never really needed to do at lower stakes. With small stakes SNGs the player pool is so large it’s not worth focusing on meta game and balance, but at higher stakes you’re playing a lot of the same people day after day. Meta and balance become more important.
I also think the game has just evolved to where the average player is just that much better and much more aware. On top of that, the best players are a lot better than they used to be. Range balance and bluffing frequencies are more important against world class players.
PU: Speaking of adjustments, what are some of the major differences or adjustments that are needed when transitioning between Full Ring, 6-Max, and HU SNGs? Do you have a preference for a particular format?
JA: I’ve never played many full ring SNGs, but the major adjustment from full ring to 6 max is to just loosen up. Raise more hands in the earlier levels, push wider, 3-bet wider, call pushes wider, etc…
HU is just a completely different game and currently my preferred format. In 6-max, you’re adjusting to your opponents, but the adjustments in your ranges are rather small in the grand scheme of things. ICM definitely influences that.
In HU, your strategy can change drastically from one opponent to the next. It’s a game of constant adjustments and counter adjustments. The format consistently presents more complex situations where your ranges can vary so much from one hand—and opponent—to the next.
If you play HU robotically, the regs will destroy you. There are regs who just bumhunt fish and have astronomical ROIs and profits, as a result. However, when they sit down with a reg they’re completely out of their comfort zone and can be easily exploited. 6-max and Full Ring caters to a somewhat robotic strategy, but you definitely still need to be making adjustments.
PU: How has Black Friday affected your life and “daily grind”? What sites did you play on before Black Friday, and what do you foresee in the future for online poker?
JA: Before Black Friday, I was playing on PokerStars, Full Tilt, Absolute Poker and Cake. When Black Friday hit, specifically, I was on Full Tilt and Absolute. At first, I wasn’t really worried about getting my money back. Full Tilt was so reputable and it didn’t make sense for them not to pay US players when they still had a ton of non-US players as customers.
Obviously as the saga developed, my opinion on that changed, but at the beginning I was more worried about how I would be able to continue to make a living playing poker. I considered going to Canada a few days a week, and even discussed the possibility of moving to Costa Rica or another country with my wife.
Then I went to Lock Poker on the Merge network and the traffic was surprisingly good for a US site post Black Friday. I was talking to LiarzDice on AIM and he said that he knew the owner of Lock and thought I was worthy of a pro deal. He introduced us through email and I ended up signing a contract as a Lock Elite pro.
Since signing things have been great. Lock makes sure the pros are very involved in everything, rather than just being compensated to play on the site and wear the gear. Early in October we had our first Lock retreat. Chief Executive Jennifer Larson rented out an entire castle in France and invited all of the pros, their significant others, and some of the employees who had been with the company for a while.
We enjoyed activities like archery, hot air balloon rides, horse and carriage rides, and wine tours, and there were parties every night. Everything was paid for by Lock and it was a truly amazing experience. Jennifer also said that she’s planning 2-3 Lock retreats per year. Let’s just say I’m looking forward to the next one.
Overall settling in with Lock has made my post Black Friday experience a lot easier. As far as the future of online poker in the US, I think it will almost certainly be regulated but I think it may be 3-to-4 years before everything is passed and implemented.
PU: You have had some success in MTTs, including a win in the 2011 Canterbury Fall Classic Main Event for $70,769. Do you think this recent success will lead you to play more live events or online MTTs? What major adjustments do you make when playing live events?
JA: I rarely play MTTs. In fact, before the Canterbury Fall Classic, I hadn’t played an MTT in about a year. However, I’m a student of the game and make sure my MTT strategy is up to date; I’ve done a good amount of MTT studying in the past months, as a result.
I don’t think I will play many more online MTTs, except for, perhaps, making more an effort to participate in the larger online series. I think MTTs are very profitable and I think I could increase my overall profits and hourly rate by playing more of them. However, when I’m playing online I like to have the freedom where I can just start and stop whenever I want. I’ve been thinking about playing a few more live events, though, mainly because they’re just a good opportunity to increase exposure, not only for myself, but also for Lock.
I think the biggest thing to adjust to live is just the aggression of the game. Players, in general, are a lot less aggressive. You see a lot less 3bet and 4bet bluffing, and will generally have to do a lot less 4bet bluffing yourself. When you raise the CO with 45BB with a hand like 98s online, sometimes you just have to 4bet jam because your opponents range consists of so many bluffs and mediocre hands that cannot call a 4bet. Live, people’s ranges are generally weighted toward a more value-oriented distribution. However, with more and more online players playing in live events, online situations still come up. If I have a young kid at my table, I generally assume he’s pretty aggressive until he proves otherwise.
PU: Thank you Jared. We appreciate your time and look forward to your upcoming strategy articles. Good luck at the tables.
JA: Thank you.