Single table Sit & Go Tournaments
have gained an enormous amount of popularity on poker sites over the past 2 years, providing mid to high stakes players an opportunity
to hone their skills while turning a small profit while allowing low stakes players to consistently build their poker bankroll. Every
day, thousands upon thousands of players pay a predetermined amount to participate in a six, nine, or ten handed tournament that can
last from 30 to 90 minutes. This type of “mini-tournament” calls for an entirely different approach in terms of overall strategy.
Following is a guide that should prove extremely helpful to potential Sit & Go specialists who are either starting out or having a tough
time turning a profit in these tournaments.
There are generally two types of single table Sit & Go’s (commonly referred to as “SnG’s”), Turbo and Non-Turbo. Turbo SnG’s have blind
structures that rapidly increase (usually between 3-5 minutes), while the blinds in Non-Turbo SnG’s usually increase every 10-15
minutes. Predictably, the “End Game” of these two formats plays out quite differently, but vary little in the Early and Middle stages.
For the sake of increasing your Return on Investment expectation, we will assume that you are playing one or two Sit n Go’s at a time.
Beginners are often astounded at the fact that many Sit n Go regulars commonly play 8 or more tables at a time, thus sacrificing a Per
Tournament Profit Percentage in lieu of a higher Hourly Rate. For now, your main concern should be playing well within your bankroll. So
open up a table or two at a buy-in level that you are comfortable playing and let’s get started learning online sit and go strategy.
The Early Game of a single table Sit n Go is somewhat similar to deep-stacked cash games. Players generally begin with 50-100
Big Blinds, and for the only time in the
tournament, chips are at their Full Value until the first player is eliminated. Full Chip Value is a concept lost on many beginners (and
quite a few seasoned regulars too), but we will save this important discussion for End Game strategy, when chips have lost a
considerable amount of their value.
The important thing to keep in mind during the early levels is that you want to be playing in situations that provide a high reward with
minimal risk or investment. Blind stealing (just for the sake of stealing them) is a huge error at this level. Generically speaking, low
to mid pocket pairs in any position, and suited connectors Jack-Ten and up in late position have value if the pot can be entered into
with minimal investment. Pocket pairs TT/JJ/QQ and Ace-Queen/Ace-King have a slight positive expectation for experienced deep-stacked
players while AA and KK are self-explanatory.
However, a player must keep an eye on opponents’ tendencies, as premium starting hands gain expected value versus looser pre-flop and
weaker post-flop players, while speculative hands skyrocket in value against most regulars and multi-tablers. One advantage to only
playing a table or two, is that you will be able to gain quite a bit of an advantage over all but the very best multi-tablers, most of
whom mindlessly stack off with overpairs, have no read on their opponents, and play their hands in such a transparent manner that they
lose tons of expectation in the Early and Middle stages of every Sit and Go they enter.
It’s a good idea to do a quick search of your opponents and take note of which ones are playing 4+ tables at once. These are the players
you can play small pots against early on, with the hopes of flopping Top 2 Pair or better to bust their overpair or overcards when they
blindly commit all their chips based on pre-flop starting hand value instead of realizing that their small pre-flop range and weak post
flop play are highly exploitable. On the other hand, you must routinely muck flopped hands like Top Pair/weak kicker, Gutshot and
Backdoor draws against almost all multi-tablers because (a) you’re usually beat, and (b) they aggressively overbet their hands – almost
never giving you profitable odds to see later streets. Just keep in mind that the larger percentage of your stack you have to initially
risk with speculative hands, the more it favors the multi-tabling regulars.
Value can also be gained by identifying players who play a Loose-Creative style, as they are easily trapped by vaguely disguised Top
Pair+ holdings who take Check (Flop), Call (Turn), Call or Bet (River) lines in position and Bet (Flop), Check (Turn), Value Bet (River)
lines out of position. Most importantly, you want to gain a ton of value from opponents who play in a very predictable manner, and you
want to stay out of trouble by avoiding situations where you’re easily trapped by an overpair or spewing chips by bluffing a calling
station. In other words, be very stingy with the chips you put in play, and only put them in play when the potential to win a huge pot
with little initial investment exists.
The Early Game can take anywhere from 15 minutes to 45 minutes, depending on the site and whether you’re playing Turbo or Non-Turbo
Sit and Go's. To summarize, players who can cautiously chip-up while seeking an opportunity to double-up will set themselves up to
effectively play the Middle Game. Players who get over-creative or play “Table Captain” without regard to opponents’ tendencies will
consistently spew chips as tighter players abuse and trap them with stronger holdings. Uninspired multi-tablers will be willing to
enter the Middle Game with 80% of their original stack if they weren’t able to take a huge pot off of a weaker player with their top
pair-top kicker, overpair, or set.
Read: Sit and Go Tournaments - Part 2: Middle Stages
Single Table Tournament Strategy - Part 3 End Game