How To Win SNGs I

How To Win SNGs I

Poker Fundamentals

Most players who are new to the world of online poker will trend toward sit 'n' gos. It's easy to understand why: they often have inexpensive buy-ins, you can play anytime, and they don't require long hauls of playing. If you want to play to win, however, you're going to need more than a passive interest.

Most player’s first online poker experience will be playing Sit n Go's. This structure of poker gives you a lot of play for a small investment. You also get to experience the rush besting all your opponents, winning all the chips and taking that first place prize money. So the question is: how to win Sit n Go's?

Sit n Go's are a relatively simple form of poker and don’t require fancy play to win the money

The most important thing in Sit n Go's is to keep track of how many big blinds (your stack divided by the big blind) you have, how many big blinds your opponents have and to play accordingly. Correct play is dictated by how many big blinds you have and the strategies for each stack size are quite different.

In this article I'm going to outline strategies for early stage play, middle stage short-stack play, how to play the bubble in Sit n Go's and finally a few tips on heads-up poker.

Early Stage Play

More than 40 Big Blinds:

Try to see cheap flops with speculative hands like pocket pairs and suited connectors (cheap means only investing 5-10% of your chips preflop on a call). 

Encourage multiway action with speculative hands by open-limping in the early positions, when entering a pot from middle or late position you should always be coming in for a raise. 

Play your premium hands fast: pocket Jacks or better and big slick. If you can get in 15% or more of your chips preflop then getting your stack in with top pair top kicker or an over pair is fine.

Be careful with hands like top pair weak kicker or small two pairs in single raised pots, you want to exercise pot control when there is a lot of stack behind (focus on pot to stack ratio). Don’t play bad hands like raggedy aces and weak broadway hands, just because you have a lot of chips to start the tournament, doesn't mean you have an excuse to waste them.

30-40 Big Blinds:

Always come in for a raise of 3x the big blind if you are the first person in the pot. Stop calling raises with speculative hands in heads-up pots, only call raises with hands you are slow-playing (big pocket pairs, strong broadways like King Queen, Ace Queen and Ace King.

Only call with speculative hands in optimal spots (guaranteed multi-way action and ideally closing the action or on the button). Start playing more aggressive in late position and open a wider range of hands on the button and the cut-off, your reward for successful steals is higher now since it means a bigger chip-up for your stack percentage wise.

15-25 Big Blinds:

Only open with hands that you are willing to go to the felt with if you make top pair or better. Raising and folding to a re-raise with this stack size is disastrous and must be avoided, you’re risking too large a percentage of your chips to not support them in battle.

Be willing to re-shove aggressively with hands like suited connectors, pocket pairs and strong broadway hands. Re-shoving means 3-betting all in over a loose opener when they are in a steal position.

Less than 15 Big Blinds:

Open shove with any hands that you are intending on playing, the priority is taking down the blinds and antes and getting a significant chip up. For shoving ranges, make sure you check out ICMIZER for the best shove/fold work. 

Consider slow-playing your super strong hands, flat calling with hands like Aces or Kings. If you let your opponents make top pair you can double through them with hands they would have otherwise folded to your re raise.

Don’t get careless, just because you are short stacked doesn't mean you are out of the game. Focus on making correct mathematical plays to give yourself the best chance of getting back in the game

Middle Stage Play

In the middle stages of a Sit n Go the blinds go up and everyone’s relative stack gets shorter. Bigger blinds means a greater reward for successful steals so you should be opening up your game and capitalizing on the solid image you have built up. Based on how many big blinds you have you should still be following the previously outlined advice. Since there will be more short-stacked players there are some adjustments to make to maximize your chances to build a big stack.

Raise more junk hands to steal when there are short stacks or tight players in the blinds. Since they are unlikely to flat call your raise with a short-stack your cards become less important.

Don’t raise with rags/air when there are aggressive players left to act with re-shove stacks, you only want to raise with hands that you are planning to call off with in these situations.

Be aware of your table image and your opponent’s table image. You don’t want to tangle with players who are fearless and aggressive. Pick your spots wisely and you’ll see your raises and re-raises going through more often than not.

Most Importantly, try to maintain your position in the tournament, as long as you are still in when half the field is gone you still have a very good shot at turning a profit.