The Sit and Go (SNG) tournament style is catching on with a lot of poker players, veteran and newbie alike. There’s a big reason for that. It’s quick and it doesn’t require you waiting around all day for a tournament to take place. When you want to have a quick game that doesn’t take long while still having a chance at a bigger payout than what you would get in a normal cash game, the SNG is exactly what you want. We have covered the SNG lightly, but that was a while ago. As part of our Spring Initiative, we wanted to delve back into the topic.
A lot of people don’t know what to do when they go into a SNG round. They think that the same type of strategy that helps them win cash games will help them with the SNG. This isn’t the case at all. You have to split the different type so poker into some different strategy clusters. You want to look at SNG separately, because it really deserves its own section in your brain.
You’re going to have a lot of fun playing SNG’s and it’ll help build your bankroll on the cheap. This is absolutely what we’re looking for.
So, let’s get on with it.
In the early rounds of the SNG, you’re going to be dealing with players from a lot of different skill levels. You’ll have some sharks, sure, but there are plenty of fish as well. The newbies will tend to slowplay monsters instead of raising well — you can use that to your advantage. Shoving them around when they’re too scared to move can be profitable. However, if you’re that newbie, keep in mind that you need to be the one doing the shoving! Don’t be afraid to make it known that you have something good.
By the same token, you can’t be scared to fold cards. There’s still plenty of hands to be played. Far too many SNG newbies think that they need to play every single hand, so they’ll avoid folding. They’ll tell themselves that there’s always a chance that they’ll connect that straight or that flush, so it’s worth staying in the hand. This is a great way of messing yourself up in the long run.
You also need to make sure that you’re being as confident as possible. Don’t think that you have to back down to other players if you know that you have a good hand. When you need to fold, you’ll know — and then you’ll fold. The biggest thing that you want to focus on is profit. A lot of players think that survival is everything. This is true to an extent, but the reality is that you want to collect as many chips as you can along the way. This means that as the tournament progresses, you’ll have a nice stack. The bigger the stack you have, the more options that you have.
Before you leave the early round, you need to make sure that you’re playing all of those lovely suited connectors while the blinds are low. That’s going to allow you to get the best results in terms of expected value.
What about those pocket pairs like AA, KK, QQ, and JJ? You need to make sure that you raise — at least 3-4 times the big blind. What you want to create is a situation where 2-3 people call and you can isolate yourself with someone that gets pot committed. Keep pushing and see what they do — it could spell easy chips.
When it comes to the middle rounds, you need to remember that the blinds are going to be going up. This can really catch newbies by surprise if they’re used to playing a fixed cash game where the blinds don’t go up. Your starting hands need to change. You don’t want to go with low suited connectors anymore — not enough people in the hand and the stakes are too large.
If you have plenty of chips, you need to make sure that you are holding out for your premium cards. If you don’t have a big stack, then you need to grab small pots in order to grow your numbers.
The late stages of the SNG are where you’ll find a lot of opposition because you’re close to winning the money. Depending on how big the table is, you’ll have one or two people in front of you. If you don’t have many chips, you’ll need to get tighter. Try to go with hands that contain an ace of some kind. You might be getting more aggressive, which is a good thing. When people get scared, that’s when it’s time to get as aggressive as you possibly can.
These rules aren’t really rules — treat them more like guidelines. You’ll probably have to mix things up as you go toe to toe with real players. Make sure that you study your results after you’ve had time to step down from the “thrill” of the tournament. You may need to make some tweaks, but that’s okay — it’s poker!