SNG Strategy - The Basics

Sit n go strategy depends on the type of sit n go tournament you are playing in. It will depend on whether it’s standard, turbo, or even a hyper turbo sit n go, however there are some basics that you should stick to, and right here we’ll go over the two things that you need to be aware of when attempting to build a sit n go bankroll. Those two basics are the value of chips in a sit n go tournament, and the three stages of the tourney, and how you should be playing in each of them.

The Value of Chips in a Sit n Go Tournament

The value of your chips, and everyone else’s in the tournament, will change during the tourney. When you’re playing a cash game and you have a $100 stack, then that is exactly what you have, and it will not change in value. You will win and lose a few hands, but a $100 stack remains just that, a $100 stack. In sit n go tournaments each chip changes in value as the game progresses, and using a simple example here’s exactly what that means...

To keep things simple, let’s use round numbers. There are 10 players in a sit n go tournament that is offering a standard prize pool structure of 1st place 50%, 2nd place 30% 3rd place 20%. The buy in is $10 that creates a $100 prize pool and 1st place will receive $50. Players start the tourney with 1,000 chips, meaning that there are 10,000 chips on the table and to win, you must take all of those chips. At the start of the tourney with 10 players and 10,000 chips on the table, each chip is worth $0.01. However the winner will end up with 10,000 and $50 making those chips worth $0.05 each. You can see how the value of chips therefore increases as the tourney is played, and while that actual maths is not the be all and end all of this, what you need to be aware of is that, towards the end of the tournament, the stakes have been raised.

The Three Stages of the Sit n Go Tournament

Most sit n go grinders will agree that there are three stages to any sit n go tournament. These stages are generally classed as, the early stage, middle and up to the bubble stages, and after the bubble has burst stage, when all remaining players are in the money.

During the early stages of the tournament you should be playing extremely tight poker, rarely raising and only playing the best hands. Do not get caught up in hands that you should not be involved in and guard your stack closely. You need to protect what is known as your ‘fold equity’ and this basically means your power to force other players to fold, and with a smaller stack this is very hard to do. Losing a few hands early in the tourney can diminish your stack badly, and this gives you less power over your opponents.

Moving toward the mid stages and closer to the bubble, you need to start playing a lot more aggressively. There are a few things that you should be doing at this stage of the game, and these include stealing blinds, re-raising and taking smaller pots whenever you can. You need to keep building your stack by playing positive aggressive poker, in order to reach the final stage of the tournament.

When the bubble has burst, you are in the money, but no serious sit n go grinder wants to finish in 3rd place, and winning, taking the maximum amount of cash possible is always the aim. You will need to change up your strategy again here. Blinds are now large, there will be plenty of all in situations, and when you raise or re-raise you are far more likely to be called than you were in the earlier stages. When in the money seats there’s often a small stack at the table, and while you do not want to be eliminated before that player, neither does your opponent, and this gives you a good opportunity to steal. Also, put the small stack under pressure, however do not risk all in’s without the cards to back it up, as by doing this you are passing the advantage to your opponents.

Very often sit n go beginners make the mistake of beating the bubble and then relaxing, believing that by making a cash, they are building their bankroll. This is wrong. It may have taken you 3 or 4 buy ins to get to a cash seat, you have a great chance to maximize the opportunity, and you need to take full advantage of it.