Basic Texas Holdem Sit & Go Strategy | Learn Proper SNG Strategy
One of the more fun and popular ways to play online poker is the "Sit & Go." A Sit & Go is a tournament that starts as soon as the seats are filled. Usually these are single-table tournaments but there are multi-table Sit & Go's as well.
Sit & Go's have become so popular that they are likely the most popular form of poker online. And even live casinos have started to run Sit and Go's.
Whether you play poker live or online, you'll want to have grounding in the basic ideas behind solid Sit & Go strategy.
Sit & Go Structure
Your basic Sit & Go is a single-table affair where you compete against either six or nine opponents and the prize pool is usually distributed to the top three players.
Typically the split is 50 percent to the winner, 30 percent to second place and 20 percent to third. The starting chip stack will depend on the buy-in and the online poker site you're playing at.
Most sites lean towards bigger starting chip stacks due to player demand. You will probably start with anywhere from 1,000 to 3,000 in chips with starting blinds anywhere from 5/10 to 25/50. Blinds traditionally go up every 15 minutes in a Sit & Go but there are all kinds of variations these days and faster, turbo versions are more and more common.
Early Round Sit & Go Strategy
The proper strategy for the early stages of a Sit & Go are to play extremely tight. Usually you’re starting with 30+ big blinds, which means there’s simply no reason to risk all your chips on a marginal hand.
Instead you’re going to want to concentrate on playing premium cards and playing in position.
If you really have the itch to play a hand you should concentrate on playing cheap pots with small pocket pairs in hopes of flopping a set. Or look for a hand that can crack a premium hand like pocket kings or aces.
In all honestly you can really just chill most of the time and let the first few players knock each other out. There’s no reason to pass up big hands but there’s no reason to play a ton of hands either.
Let other players make the big mistakes early on. This is a good time to sit back and try to get a read on some of the other players at the table.
Around this point of the Sit & Go you want to be loosening your range slightly. You’re not going to be shoving 9-7 or anything but you want to play a few more hands and play aggressively when you have position.
It’s about this point that the rest of the players are starting to define themselves and you can start to pressure the players you believe are weaker.
If you’ve developed some good reads you can also start targeting the loose/aggressive/conservative players.
You can start stealing the blinds from the ultra conservative players and defending your blinds against the aggressive players.
Late Round Sit & Go Strategy
At this point it’s time to assess your situation (hopefully you’ve been doing that all along right?) and that includes taking a look at the various chip stacks, the blinds and the prizes.
If you’re a big stack you can put a lot of pressure on short-stack opponents. Of course if you’re the short-stack you can fight back by employing a shove/fold strategy, which forces the big stacks to decide whether they want to risk significant chips.
You really want to make the money, of course, and that will likely keep you from making really poor all-ins if you’re one off the money or something.
Conversely, that’s what everybody is going to be thinking and you can steal quite a few pots just by pressuring your opponents around this stage of the tournament.
Always keep a close eye on the blinds. Sometimes you can increase your stack by a considerable amount just by stealing the blinds and antes if your opponents aren’t paying attention.
Also beware of blinding out. If you’re going to be forced all-in by the time the big blind gets to you, you should absolutely shove the minute you get a decent hand.
Remember that the fewer players there are, the worse hands you should be playing. That culminates with the eventual heads-up match where you should be raising marginal hands.
It’s very common the more aggressive player will win the heads-up.
Go For the Win
One final strategy tip for Sit & Go’s is that you should pretty much always be playing for the win. One Sit & Go victory is generally worth more than a couple third-place finishes.
That means it might be worth it to make some risky plays on the bubble if you can build a big enough stack to guarantee victory heads-up.