Sit n Go Tournaments (SnG’s) have become very popular over the last few years generally because players can just turn up to their favorite poker online room and be playing a short tournament within just a few minutes of logging on.
SnG’s are very different from normal poker tournaments though. As the name suggests, there are no set start times for SnG’s. Instead, the tournament will start once a table is fully occupied. Similarly, the field of players involved in a Sit n Go will be a lot shorter than you would find in a standard poker tournament. Generally speaking SnGs consist of nine players with the top three being paid. However, you will also be able to find tournaments where only six players involved and in some cases you can opt for a head to head battle.
Due to the number of players seated at the table, a lot of people new to the SnG tournament structure believe that they might be able to get away with just sitting at the table and hopefully sneaking into third spot.
This is quite a dangerous thing to do as it’s actually highly unlikely to work out for you unless you’re playing at somewhere like PKR. The low limit SnG tables at PKR are generally very loose and aggressive meaning that you can be pretty much guaranteed that someone will go all-in within the first couple of hands and it’s surprising if you don’t see another couple of people try it within the next dozen hands.
Generally speaking though, you want to have some kind of solid strategy behind your play. So with that in mind, I’ve divided the average SnG up into three stages and we’ll have a look at how your play needs to develop as you progress through the tournament.
When an SnG first gets underway, you want to be quite relaxed about your starting hand selection. The idea is to see some cheap flops, so if you find yourself suited connectors, pocket pairs, high cards or other marginal hands, throw some chips into the pot and see if your hand hits. If you find yourself being raised with a marginal hand, then be prepared to throw your cards away, but while the blinds are cheap it’s worth the risk to see the flop.
As the blinds start to get bigger, you will need to become tighter with your starting hand requirements. Start only playing premium hands and when you do make sure you raise the pot pre-flop. There’s nothing worse than having the best hand going into the flop, only to find yourself out drawn by a load of junk.
This should also be the time that you start to think about the occasional bluff pre-flop in order to steal the blinds. From here on in, stealing blinds will become more and more important to your survival.
End Game Strategy
When you get down to the last four or five players, you need to change up your game again. The action should become really loose as players start scrambling for chips. If you’re on course to finish in the top three, then you may well be best staying out of the action unless you pick up a monster.
If you find yourself on the bubble, you really need to be brave and start making a move. I’d suggest raising the blinds at this point. This can obviously go two ways. Firstly, you get called in which case you’re hoping to get lucky on the flop or you manage to pick up the blinds (which could be as much as 300 chips now) for nothing.
Some of you may be questioning my sanity with what seems like a risky play, but over the long term you will find it to be more profitable than sitting around and hoping someone crashes out before you.
Once you’re in the top three, you can relax a little. You’ve done your job and got yourself paid. Now’s the time to throw caution to the wind and make a serious bid for the remaining chips left on the table.
You’re free to chose your starting hands but if you’re going to play, play properly. No flat calling. You either raise or you fold (unless you’re trying to trap). Flat calling will just cost you chips over the long term, and I much prefer to put the pressure on your opponents by making big raises and all in bets.