225% up to $12250
280% up to $14000
Hands down, the Sit and Go has been the most significant innovation to come out of online poker.
A Sit and Go is the only way you can experience every phase of a poker tournament in under an hour at any buy-in and never wait for a starting time.
Aside from the unadorned vanilla variety we now have Double Ups, Triple Ups, Heads-up, 6-Player, Turbo, Hyper Turbo, Bounty, and the much-loathed Spin Go and Blast.
As I finished typing that sentence a poker site probably tried to patent a new variation.
I can see it now: The Worlds First Hyper Turbo Mega Ultra Speed Double Triple Win 100% FTWBBQ Showdown and Go!
Your sit n go boot camp has turned me into a winning sit n go player up to
$6 buy in. The strategy is sound and I have even started implementing it into early stages of MTTs and some cash games.
You have a ton of awesome resources, I am really enjoying the ebooks.
Theres a reason Sit and Gos have remained on such a hype train for so long:
Besides being incredibly entertaining Sit and Gos can be one the most profitable forms of online poker.
Players with an ironclad Sit and Go-specific strategy even without a pure poker skill advantage over the rest of the table can regularly finish in the money and make an absolute killing.
Heres the best part:
Sit and Gos are so plentiful and can be so profitable that many online pros make their living playing them and nothing else.
Even if you arent a pro theres a never-ending supply of Sit and Go winnings ripe for the taking to supplement your cash game or multi-table tournament regimen.
So, soldier, listen up!
I will take you on a tour of winning a Sit and Go from the Register Now button to the majestic summit reserved for champions who can do their jobs!
You will learn essential Sit and Go strategy!
You will play a better Sit and Go game!
You will take whats rightfully yours from the donk in seat 4!
Before we dive into strategy its worth defining what a Sit and Go is exactly.
Think of a Sit and Go just like a miniature standard tournament.
Aside from special situations like satellites at The Rio during the WSOP these only take place online as there simply wouldnt be enough tables and dealers devoted to waiting around for small-stakes one-table tournaments.
At the beginning of a Sit and Go, all players are usually given between 1,000-2,000 chips.
The blinds begin anywhere between 5/10 and 20/40 with the exact amount depending on the sites tournament structure.
What this means is that at the beginning of the tournament you ll have at least 50-100 big blinds and the blind levels won t increase for about 8-10 minutes.
Lets use a $10 tournament as an example.
Keep in mind that youll usually be paying 10% extra as a tournament fee, making the total buy-in $11.
The total prize pool would be $90 with 9 players participating. Some sites have 10-player tables, which would make the prize pool $100.
The 9 (or 10) player Sit and Go prize structure is universal with 50% to 1st, 30% to 2nd, and 20% to 3rd.
Traditionally, it has broken down like this:
For a $10 Sit and Go there would be a $60 prize pool.
There seems to be an even split on the prize structure used these days for 6 players. In the old days it used to always be:
However, many sites of late like Ignition Poker and PokerStars now give a little more to 2nd place:
It seems to be about a 50/50 split online right now.
Turbo and Hyper-turbo variations set blind levels as low as 1 minute, which I dont play often as they greatly erode the gap between luck and skill.
Still, theyre immensely popular these days.
With the blinds rising to 10% or more of your starting stack literally in a matter of minutes players are forced to make almost every future decision with the blinds in mind.
It results in mostly pre-flop all-in-or-fold situations, which leads to coin-flip situations and little post-flop strategic play. Turbo events can be exhilarating in short bursts or perfect if you have a very small time constraint, but they allow for extreme variation.
Most of your Sit and Go entries are going to come down to watching 5 cards fall and hoping for the best, which is extremely unpredictable even if youre a pre-flop favorite.
If thats what you enjoy then have at it.
With turbo you wont be able to control your own fate as much as standard Sit and Gos and theyre much harder to consistently finish in the money because youre subject to so much variance.
Consistent profit is my goal with this Sit and Go strategy guide so I will be focusing exclusively on the standard 8-10 minute blind increases. As youre reading assume thats what type of event Im talking about.
At some sites Hyper Sit and Gos only increase the blinds at a 5-minutes clip. These concepts would mostly apply to these as well as theres enough breathing room to allow for
Lets start by taking a look at 8 example hands that illustrate the Sit and Go strategy concepts I will cover in this guide. Then, lets break into (too much?) detail mapping out my specific battleplan for each tournament stage.
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This hand illustrates exactly what Im talking about when I refer to double up potential. I was able to play pocket 2-2 for the minimum (which is still very low compared to your stack in the early rounds) against 5 other players. When I hit my set I bet out and ended up all-in against a flush draw.
Its a hand that few expect you to have and youre almost always the favorite when you hit with it.
Heres an example of knowing when to get out. I opened the pot from late position with pocket J-J, got re-raised by the button, and the small blind then goes over the top.
I felt like this was an easy fold, but many Sit and Go players call in this situation. Its so early and you have plenty of blinds left.
Do you really think that both of them have smaller pocket pairs than you? Thats about the only situation in which youre a clear favorite here.
The button ended up having pocket 10-10, but the small blind had pocket K-K.
I wasnt involved with this hand, but I think it clearly shows the unnecessary trouble that mediocre hands can get you into early in Sit and Gos, especially out of position.
The small blind made a weak pre-flop call of player 4s raise and then bluffed off over 500 chips. Just save yourself the trouble when you have no pressure to play hands.
Heres just a simple example of ramping up aggression with a blind semi-steal. I have a pretty strong hand for 5-handed play so I open with a 3x raise. The blinds fold and Im happy to gain a free round of blinds.
Heres an example of how important it is to be the aggressor and how it changes your actions entirely. This was a hand I was planning to open with a raise, but player 7 did the same ahead of me.
It isnt good enough for a call and certainly not for a re-raise so I fold it. Your opponents actions can easily and directly change a raising hand into a discarded one.
This hand shows quite a few learning concepts in one.
To start with, I opened the pot one off the button with a 3x raise. I manually typed it in and as it is smaller than the 3.5x Bet Pot button it looks more like a blind steal attempt.
Player 9 just calls and misplays his A-K. He should probably re-raise here since he will be out of position the whole hand and I may have laid down my 9-9.
I value bet the rest of the hand as he misses his draws.
Here is a big pot that worked out perfectly because I was in the small blind. I manually raised to 600, which could have looked like a steal attempt to the big blind. I checked the flop trying to portray weakness that my blind steal didnt work. He checked behind me, which sets up my next play perfectly.
In this situation I will often make a false feeler/weak stab that so many players make of just 400 chips. It looks like Im just taking a stab with a missed hand because he showed weakness by checking the flop. He re-raises me to about 1,600 and I go over the top and put him all-in.
He makes the call, which is a surprisingly common move youll see by frustrated players even when they know theyre beaten and have enough chips to fold and fight another day.
Heres an example of simply making a move with what I feel is the best opportunity before the blinds eat me alive. Im down to only 7 Ms (rounds of blinds) or so with about 1,000 chips so I just open the pot all-in in first position with a pocket pair.
You wont always win as I did with a set, but its about a coin-flip against overcards, which is the most likely hand youll see call you in this scenario.
A coin-flip with a small pocket pair or a couple of face cards is about the best you can hope for while still being in control.
I call the early rounds anything up to the 50/100 blind level. Essentially, you have plenty of chips compared to the blinds and aren t under any pressure to win pots. At this level, I will play extremely conservatively because of the low blind level.
With such small blinds there is very little reward in bluffing as most pots remain small. I would caution even experienced players about playing mediocre trap hands like K-Q, A-10, or Q-J at these stages, especially out of position.
It is difficult to get away from mediocre hands when you hit top pair, but facing aggressive betting from your opponents means that you re likely dominated.
Even hitting top pair with A-K may not be good on the flop when facing a big check-raise or reraise.
With plenty of chips to spare early in the tournament, why risk your tournament life so early on?
You ll need those chips down the road for the increasing blinds so stifle your desire to gamble for a few rounds.
By eliminating medium-strength starting hands from your game you eliminate difficult decisions that you shouldnt have to make with such small blind levels. Neither blind aggression nor committing to pots with mediocre hands will earn you long-term Sit and Go success.
By double-up value I mean hands that are likely to double you up for a small investment. Good examples of these are pocket pairs and suited Aces. I will see a flop every time from late position with 2-2 or A-9 suited for only 40 chips or so.
One of my favorite late position plays to make during the early Sit and Go stages is to play lots of cheap hands with strong double up potential like small pocket pairs.
If I make my set or flush on the flop and there is also an Ace or King on the board I stand a great chance to double up against opponents overplaying their top pair.
With suited Aces your best hope is to hit the nut flush or draw to the flush and trap an opponent with two pair, a set, or a lower flush.
The benefit of playing pocket pairs and suited Aces over mediocre face cards is that you have a greater potential to hit much stronger hands that are often hidden from your opponents.
As the blinds are so small many players like to limp into pots from any position, eager to jump out to an early lead.
Even a pot-sized raise in the first round might only be 40 or 50 chips, which looks minuscule to players looking to gamble. Because of this, I recommend mixing in raises of at least 5-7x the big blind when you have a premium hand like pocket Aces, Kings, Queens, or A-K early on in a Sit and Go.
Avoid telegraphing your hand strength to observant opponents by occasionally making these larger raises with your lesser hands.
If youre worried about scaring off your opponents you shouldnt be. With premium starting hands your goal is to isolate the competition and face less than 3 opponents. The average win rate of any Holdem hand decreases significantly as the number of opponents increases.
Simply put, the odds of another player hitting more than your single pair are extremely high when several players see the flop.
Check out our Texas Hold em hand strength page to see the average winning percentages of every hand combination in relation to the number of players in the pot. The plummeting numbers for multiple opponents are enough to scare you into raising your premium hands.
This is a chronic issue Ive seen for years from small-stakes Sit and Go players and its such a poor play unless you like flipping a coin for your tournament life when you dont have to yet.
In most small-to-medium stakes Sit and Go tournaments youll see at least one overanxious player willing to go all-in preflop with A-K in the very early stages.
While its one thing to trap the habitually raising table bully with a possible smaller kicker most of these all-in situations occur with little to no possible logic or read.
Players need to realize that A-K is just a drawing hand, albeit a very powerful one. Wait to see if you improve on the flop before committing your entire Sit and Go life.
When you move all-in preflop with A-K you probably dont even want to be called. Pocket Aces or Kings, hands that dominate your Big Slick, are the hands that will most likely call you. Even if you can get a call from a smaller pocket pair (yes, even deuces) youre less than a 50% favorite to win.
With online poker becoming increasingly tighter overall, its just too unlikely that youll get a call from a dominated hand with A-K. While flipping a coin for an early double-up might be an acceptable risk to you the inherent variance simply doesnt make this a long-term winning strategy.
To summarize, here are several steps to succeeding in the early rounds using this simple Sit and Go strategy:
The blinds are low for the first 20-30 minutes of a Sit and Go and there is no pressure to gamble. Worse yet, the reward for doing so is often very low, but you risk your entire buy-in if you get in too deep with a hand you shouldnt have played in the first place.
Even though you may be able to limp in cheaply mediocre hands can knock your chip stack down in the early rounds when you can t get away from them.
This means starting cards that would give you a lock hand should you connect and your opponent overplays his holdings. Specific hands include suited Aces and pocket pairs.
Weak opponents will be looking to limp in and see a lot of flops at this point so maintain your dominant position by thinning the field.
While it is an extremely prevalent play in smaller Sit and Gos, players looking for consistent wins should avoid overvaluing this drawing hand. Youll likely end up with a coin-flip situation for all your chips or, at worst, the likely callers will already have you dominated.
While these tips wont cover every situation you ll face early in a Sit and Go they re useful guidelines to get you past the early rounds of play. Again, the most important tip here is to restrict your play at the onset to premium cards and those that can win you a big pot.
Many impatient players are playing Sit and Gos purely for entertainment and will gamble it up early and often. As a result, you can often find yourself close to the money simply by letting the fish filet themselves.
So far weve covered Sit and Go strategy during the early rounds of play when the blinds are still low and you have plenty of chips left.
Essentially, I recommend a very conservative strategy during the first 3 rounds while taking a few cheap flops with double-up hands.
Unfortunately, your strategy must change as the blinds increase both to take advantage of your opponents weaknesses and to combat getting blinded out of the tournament.
In this article, I will discuss Sit and Go strategy for the middle rounds the period between the start of 50/100 blinds and until 3 players are left battling for the money.
The following tips, barring excessive bad beats, should allow you to navigate through the middle rounds while still giving yourself a shot at winning once play gets to 3-handed.
A common mistake that I see from Sit and Go beginners is panicking when the blinds reach the 50/100 level. Your strategy shouldn t change too much simply because the cost of doing business has increased.
If you began with 1,500 or 2,000 chips and have managed to stay about even you still have 15-20 big blinds left. In Dan Harrington s language, your M is still at 10-13 because you can pay to see that many more rounds of blinds without playing a hand.
While you don t want to let your stack get down to 3 or 4 M s that s still a lot of poker left to be played!
If your natural Sit and Go strategy is a patient one and you still have an M over 6-8 don t let the blinds take you off of your game.
When the blinds increase the table naturally becomes tighter overall with more players fearful of risking too many chips on marginal hands. This is the time that you want to become more aggressive.
Although you need to increase your aggression levels in sit and go tournaments as blinds get bigger, dont emulate the shark to the point where you become reckless.
When you re the first to open the pot, consider a raise to 2.5-3x the big blind.
Making larger raises at this stage without a specific play in mind isnt wise as you don t need to risk an excessive amount of chips to make the same statement.
If you don t feel that your hand is strong enough to raise with then consider why you re playing the hand at all.
Trying to see cheap flops with mediocre hands at this point will be a slow leak of your valuable chips.
Avoid weak Aces, baby pocket pairs, and trap hands like Q-J and K-10 unless youre first to open the pot from late position and have a tight table image that could induce an easy fold from the blinds.
In the middle rounds of a Sit and Go you want to be taking advantage of your opponents tight play, seizing control pre-flop with your strong hands, and steal the blinds around once per round or two when in position. If you arent accomplishing any of those goals you should probably just stay out of the hand entirely.
Also known as a continuation bet a common play is to bet anywhere between ? of the pot to the size of the pot following your pre-flop raise. This is done regardless of if you improve or not on the flop.
I only recommend a continuation bets in the middle Sit and Go rounds against 1 or 2 opponents if you haven t improved.
With more opponents its highly likely that at least one of them improved their hand enough to stay with you.
The continuation bet is a great play for Sit and Gos and works especially well on tighter sites.
Although this play makes you susceptible to check-raises when you re in position it will induce your opponent to fold far more often.
Continuation bets usually work because its very difficult for good players to bet into or re-raise the pre-flop raiser without a very strong hand.
Because you raised pre-flop you re expected to have big face cards or a big pocket pair.
Your opponents obviously know that sometimes you ll have hit the flop and other times you won t have. The difficult part for other players is trying to decide when you haven t hit if you re almost always betting into them.
Related to the above point, you don t want to be doing a lot of pre-flop calling with large blind levels.
Even worse would be limping pre-flop out of position as you ll be faced with a difficult decision if someone raises in later position: make a poor call and be out of position on the flop or fold and lose a valuable big blind.
Exceptions to this strategy would be when you re trapping opponents with a big hand. Your goal here would be to limp from early or middle position, get raised, and then come back over the top for a re-raise.
I see a lot of chip leaders make an early exit from Sit and Go tournaments by taking on the role of table bully.
Unlike multi-table tournaments where a chip leader might have 3 or 4 times as many chips as anyone else at the table its very rare to develop a very large chip lead in single-table tournaments because of the lack of players filling empty seats.
Even if you make an early double-up you ll only be at about 3,000-4,000 chips at this level. Trying to dominate your opponents with frequent raises will tip them off to play patiently and reraise you when they have a premium hand. Folding to enough reraises will put you back down to the middle of the pack.
On the other extreme, it isnt uncommon to see players who double up early literally sit out entirely until more players get knocked out! Seriously.
Im both simultaneously confused and pleased every time I see this.
Its extremely poor strategy and shows a true lack of confidence if your own abilities.
As the chip leader, I don t recommend playing a lot of big pots unless you truly have a monster hand.
Try to slowly accumulate chips with blind steals and small raises. This should both increase your intimidating table image and set you up as the favorite when play becomes shorthanded.
Perhaps one of the most essential skills to have in Sit and Go tournaments is knowing how and when to steal the blinds.
After all, if you could steal the blinds just once per round you would always stay afloat in the tournament.
It also helps you stay patient by allowing you to have fodder to pay the blinds while you wait for a powerful hand.
To steal the blinds you should be the first one into pot making a standard 2.5-3x raise. This should also only be tried from about position 6 (cutoff) or later (including the small blind) as there will be fewer players behind you that may have a good enough hand to play back.
Of course, you should target tighter players who haven t been defending their blinds and avoid aggressive players and maniacs in the blinds.
Any time you have less than 5 or 6 big blinds left (3-4 M) you should look for any above-average hand and stick everything in.
Any pocket pair, Ace, or two face cards would qualify for this.
If you wait longer, there is a much greater chance that your bet will be called in multiple places, which of course decreases your expected win rate.
Theres also no point in making a non-all-in raise pre-flop with a short stack since youll be pot-committed anyway on the flop and youll induce more pre-flop callers.
Ideally, unless youve got a premium pocket pair or A-K you want to do this in medium-to-late position and be the first one to open the pot. With any other hand you just want to win a set of blinds.
Your goal with such a short stack is to either pick up the blinds uncontested or isolate to a heads-up situation where you still may have an advantage.
What I ve tried to outline with the above tips for the medium rounds is a smart-aggressive approach Sit and Go strategy to the middle rounds.
You should absolutely:
Ideally, you will be able to play small ball , win several pots uncontested, and build your chip stack as a few more players get eliminated. The middle rounds are a time of chip management: you cannot wait indefinitely to get involved but at the same time you aren t under huge pressure to gamble.
So, you ve followed my advice, played a great tournament, and managed to make it down to the final two. Good job!
When you get down to heads-up play you re either going to be acting or reacting on every single hand.
There won t be a pot that you won t be involved in and you ll have to be prepared for fast action.
You opened up your play as the blinds increased, and you ll need to open up your play even further when you re playing heads-up. Most often, the action will take place before the flop.
The small blind gets to make the first move preflop so if you have any semblance of a hand you should raise and try to take the big blind. If your opponent is timid you should definitely run over him as often as possible.
The odds are that your opponent doesn t have a hand, so it will be difficult for him to call without the cards to warrant it, especially being out of position on future betting rounds.
Of course, your opponent probably deduces the same logic about your hand so you can t allow him to run over you, either. Don t be afraid to return fire with an all-in re-raise. You can be armed with any pocket pair, any Ace or King-face-card, or even suited connectors.
You ll be putting a lot of pressure on your opponent and you ll often pick up the pot with this move. If you do get called there are few situations that will make you a prohibitive underdog.
The most common heads-up all-in situations will be:
Do you know what?
Even the underdog is going to have a 30-50% chance of winning those hands. What that means is that you shouldnt be afraid of being aggressive and making all-in plays when heads-up because you might get called by a better hand.
The only situations youre very far behind on are an underpair vs. an overpair (10-10 vs. A-A) or undercards vs. an overpair (Q-J vs. K-K). Both of those require your opponent to have an overpair and the odds of that happening in the few hands you and your opponents will have the blinds to play are very low.
Your opponent is likely going to fold most hands uncontested pre-flop. Even if you make an all-in move and get called with a less-than-stellar hand you still have a decent chance to win.
Heres the bottom line:
I would rather trade the risk of my opponent waking up with a premium pocket pair and busting me out for the chance to steal most of his chips while he folds and waits for a better chance to fight back.
A lot of your timid opponents think they have you beat by thinking, Go ahead and keep raising me! When I finally get a hand worth playing and re-raise you for everything youll be sorry!
The key theyre missing is that youve stolen a bunch of their chips in the meantime with the blinds so high. Theyre likely the short stack, meaning youll still have another chance to fight back if the all-in fight doesnt go your way.
Although most of this guide applies to 6-handed Sit and Gos as well, there are a few tweaks to consider given that only two players get paid and the bubble stage kicks in after three eliminations instead of six.
The most important adjustments happens during the middle stages when there are four or five players left. By this point the blinds have likely increased enough to make them a central focus of everyone at the table.
At 6-max Sit and Gos youll also be playing the blinds 50% more often, making staying afloat via frequent blind steals essential.
Just like with cash games, 6-max Sit and Gos require more aggression. Dont be shy to make your moves from the button or cutoff.
Of course, be prepared to quickly let go your weak hands when your steal attempt goes south as you usually wont be deep enough chip-wise to really take flops in three-bet pots with weak hands.
By playing this style during the mid-stages you have a better chance at reaching the bubble with a decent-sized stack.
That stack will allow you to exert pressure on short stacks while not having to worry about risking your tournament life.
To sum it up, be prepared to amp your aggression earlier in 6-max Sit and Gos and you should significantly increase your overall return on your investment (ROI).
Remember to be able to let go of your weak hands when other players play back at you and dont enter unnecessary bluffing situations for a significant portion of your stack.
While this type of Sit and Gos has gone out of style somewhat the 50/50, in which half the table wins double the buy-in, certainly been quite popular for a while.
The most important thing you need to understand and keep in mind is that you arent playing to win.
While this sounds strange when talking about anything poker-related its simply true in 50/50s. All you need to do is outlast the other three or five players. That means that chip accumulation is only important up to a certain point and the value of chips you keep in your stack raises tremendously.
Near the bubble of a 50/50 Sit and Go with short-stacked players clinging to survival is one of the only times in poker you should consider dumping pocket Aces pre-flop.
If you eliminate all five players from a 10-handed 50/50, you wont receive a special reward.
You will get exactly the same amount as the other four who did nothing.
This isnt to say that you shouldnt play good poker and try to win each pot youre involved in, but risking a lot on a close situation becomes a much bigger mistake.
Once youve doubled up and a bit more you should engage in preservation mode and take as few risks as possible. Think of it like the prevent defense in football. Bend but dont break.
Steal the blinds and keep your stack hovering, but avoid big pots unless you are truly holding premium hands and it is unavoidable.
Sometimes it will even be correct to lay down a legit monster hand when facing aggression from someone who has you covered if there are two short stacks barely holding on. In this way 50/50s are very similar to satellite tournaments.
Another thing you need to be aware of is that a huge ROI is unlikely in 50/50s. Due to a flat payout structure and tournament fees the best 50/50 players only achieve a few % positive ROI.
Sit and Gos allow for fast action and good practice for multi-tournament play without the investment of hours of your time.
Remember to start off playing a tight game as many opponents will play recklessly early on and you aren t highly rewarded for taking chances on borderline calls early on.
As the blinds increase you should begin to open up your game by occasionally stealing blinds and raising with more hands from late position.
If you make it to heads-up play be the aggressor as much as possible and don t hesitate to go all-in often with pairs and at least one face card.
Sit and Gos have been one of the most popular segments of online poker for years thanks to their fast tournament style. Many online players make a healthy profit from playing these games exclusively.
By following your mission outlined here and, most importantly, putting it into practice, you can reach the point where you are making money in 70-80% of your Sit and Gos. Thats a very healthy supplement to your cash game or tournament wins.
Dismissed to the tables, soldiers!
A lifelong poker player who moved online in 2004, Josh founded Beat The Fish in 2005 to help online poker players make more-informed decisions on where to play and how to win once they got there. He hopes to counter the rampant dishonesty in online gaming media with objective reviews and relevant features. Tech nostalgic. Fondly remembers the soup avatar at Doyles Room.
I, Johan Sunnanangs aka HOMERos , have played thousands of poker sit and go?s and I have won over 100.000$ playing them on different poker sites. In this post I will teach you everything about sit and go strategy and how to beat them.
You can see my sit and go poker win rate graph at Pokerstars below.
Let?s get started!
Sit and go winnings
Let s start with listing quick strategy tips to beat poker sit and go s 2021. I ll elaborate the sit and go strategy for each step further down in this post.
Small pairs is especially good in two different spots in sit and go s. They are good during the first levels when you can get into the pot for a small amount, hit your set and hopefully win big when you hit. Small pairs are also good late during the tournament because they are good enough hands to push with when you have ten big blinds or less.
During the early levels of a sit and go tournament the blinds (and sometimes ante s) are very low compared to the stacks. A usual setup is 10-20 blinds, with 1500 chips in each stack. One big difference between tournament poker and cash games are that you can t buy new chips and add to your stack whenever needed. The value of each chip is therefore were high and you should persevere as many as possible to maximize your potential double up, once you do get the hand and spot you are waiting for.
One of my favorite book s for tournament strategy is Dan Harringtons books Harrington on Holdem (Both volume 1 and 2). Dan Harrington, or Action Dan as he is called, literary never gave any action
That was how my journey started as well, adding a really aggressive twist during the later levels to really exploit the fact that my opponents had the perception that I was only playing the nuts.
At the medium levels at a sit and go tournament the ante often kicks in, that makes it much more lucrative to widen the opening range and start stealing those blinds and antes. It is impossible to really provide any valuable opening hand chart here because it is so dependent on your opponents at the table. I ll talk more about that, and different spots, in the poker video below.
But as a general rule of thumb, play really tight when you are out of position. Understanding the importance of table position is one of the most important concepts to become a winning poker player, also when acting last it is so much easier not doing any big mistakes.
During each round of betting in poker you receive more information about the strength of your opponents hand. When playing in position you have more information and can thus make better decisions.
When you approach the bubble (close to money paying positons) new parameters must be taking into account. How big is your stack? Whats the blinds and antes? How is the player that is closest to going busto?
When you have a good stack in a SNG and it s time to play the bubble it is a great opportunity to accumulate alot of chips and put tons of pressure on those guys that are waiting for the small stack/stacks to go broke.
Identify the weak players and their patterns and exploit them to maximum. It s almost impossible to go through all the different spots in a blog post, so I ll guide you further about this in the video as well.
At the first levels at a nine handed table without ante, which is the standard format at many poker sites, you should use a starting hand selection during the early levels that looks something like this:
Starting hand chart:
UTG: Raise AQs+, TT+. Yes I was so tight that I folded AQ off at tables were I could not locate any super fishes that would call my preflop raise with a very wide range of hands. The thoughts around this is that it is so little in the pot and you have one of the worsts positions at the table, acting last on all streets against all players but the small and big blind.
Sit and go opening range utg
Middle position: Raise: AJ+,99+. A bit looser than above. For earch spot you get closer to the button you can of course loosen up your opening range. It is also very important to mention that adjusting to the opponents at the specific table is very important. At some tables a wider range is preferable, and at some a tighter ranger is better. If you have calling stations and loose limpers acting before you, there is more reason to raise and isolate.
But since the stack sizes are much more shallow you should not raise as often as you would in the same spot at a cash game table when acting after the same type of players.
HJ: Raise A7s+, 55+. At a cash game table much looser ranges here are advised. It is just because the blinds are very small and not much to win in the pot you could as well keep a tighter approach here at the earlier rounds something that you can exploit when it really matters and the blinds are high.
Table image is very important when stealing and bluffing later on.
B: Obviously the best spot at the table. Here you can, and should, raise very liberally. Any Ax, any pair and lots of suited connectors and one gappers is fine to raise with here. If the blinds are tight, or just loose passive, even more hands can be added to the raising range here.
There is one type of play that has worked really well in during the later levels of an sit and go and steal smaller pot without risking much. Since I m playing such a conservative style during the earlier levels I can get away with lot s of stuff when the blinds are high and it really matters.
One of my favourite moves is to limp from sb when everyone folded to me, and then bet half pot on the flop almost no matter what (of course you should occasionally check as well). That bet on the flop only need to work 1/3 to be profitable, and since the opponents give me ton of credit at that stage it works way more often than that.
Of course, sometimes you will face an opponent that will read the preflop limp from sb as weakness, and instantly raise, but then you now that until next time. So when I get the chance to limp in I almost always do that from sb to if I don t already know that my opponent is really aggressive. I ve made tons of extra chips (=money) with these types of steals.
One other grinder that I was competing with at the tables actually said to me at the table once that he picked up that specific play from me six months earlier and that he made a smaller fortune at those types of SNGs (this was 5 max at Betsafe/Microgaming) when he started to exploit his opponents tendencies to fold to much against that half pot size bet.
GTO, game theory optimal play, is a really popular concept nowadays. And when facing really good players with statistical tools in deep cash games today I understand that it is important to not play exploititative. Though when facing weaker opponents I always advocate to play and exploitative style. It doesn t matter if some players at the table know that you would only do a certain play or raise size with a certain hand. It is better to exploit the fish at the table to maximum.
For example, if you are sitting at a only SNG and know that one player at the table will call to see the flop almost no matter how much you raise, you should of course try to find the sweet spot and maximise it when you wake up with a great hand. If you know a player is willing to call a 500 raise pre even though the antes are only 10-20, then you should go for the 500 raise right from the start with your pocket aces, kings etc.
In that way you are maximizing the value even though some better players at the table will know that you will only make this type of play with certain hands. It doesn t matter. You ll burn the fish in this way.
There is tons of literature of how play a short stack in poker tournaments and sit and gos. I always found myself a bit tighter than the general tips, however I have really been a master in picking my spots. Don t only look at your hands and position when you decide what to push. This is almost just as important, who is the big blind and small blind? Do they have really shallow stacks themselves so they are almost forced to call?
Or do they have super big stacks so a call doesn t matter to them? Pick your spots to push against the players that would be hurt by calling with a hand that don t hold up.
This concept i very often looked over. But it is really important in maximizing your fold equity when you push your small stack.
When you have a big stack in a sit and go and you are are getting closer to money paying position you can really exploit the fact that several players are just sitting and waiting for a money paying position. You can always start off with an aggressive approach and see how that works out, if your opponents don t bite back be relentless and put pressure on them, especially on those medium stacks that are waiting for the short stacks to go busto.
In order to win at sit and go poker you need to play tight and agressive. Read a full explanation of winning sit and go poker strategy in this post.
Unibet poker has the most profitable sit and go s at the moment. That is because they have a really low rake and also the competition is really soft. The sit and go s at Unibet are easier because they many odds and casino players are joining them.
In order to beat low stakes sit and go s you need to play very tight and agressive poker. Enter few pots and chosse your premium hands to enter them.
Sit and Go s are a vital part of online poker. They are usually one table tournaments with anywhere between 5 and 10 players. To the experienced player SNGs are a relatively quick way to build a bankroll. Many players have even made their fortune playing these tournaments exclusively. Becoming one of these players requires a lot of skill. Most beginners make too many mistakes; i.e. over betting the pot, playing weak starting hands, and playing out of position.
I have compiled a list of things from my experience for the beginners to avoid.
1. Choose your hands carefully.
In low buy in SNGs it is fairly common to see a pot three handed to the river, and someone takes it with ace four off suit. This also makes it tempting to put your money in with weak aces and face cards. A fatal mistake that will come back to haunt you more often then it will pay off. Even though it is boring, as a beginner you should be holding out for mainly the top ten starting hands; i.e. AA, KK, QQ, JJ, AK, AQ, AJ, 10 10, QK…etc
I would not advise the average beginner to get involved in a pot with anything less then pocket 8s.
2. Betting and Calling Strategy
So, you have aces and your first instinct is to put all of your money in the pot, but nobody called your bet. This is a very common mistake that is made quite frequently at low buy ins. You should never bet more than 5x the big blind preflop. The reason for this is that it gives your hand away and brings in very little profit for such a big hand. The object of this game is to maximize your profits and minimize your losses; it is inevitable that you will have both profit and loss. After the flop betting becomes a complex issue. With your aces you just flopped a full house with an ace and two eights. Go all in now right? Wrong! This is where being disciplined is a requirement. If there are four other players in this pot and you are the UTG player, you have to ask your self what am I trying to accomplish here? What you are trying to so is keep this pot four handed all the way to show down, however this is not likely. What you want to do in this position is make a bet small enough so the players that did not hit will try to draw on you, and at the same time make it big enough so other strong hands will just call and not go over the top of you; this way nobody folds. You want to think this way all of the time when betting is a concern.
Calling can be just as complex as betting, but for the beginner if you so not have the best hand possible, I advise you to just fold. You will make it much further folding questionable hands than you will by calling just because you have a big pair; i.e. Now you have KJ off suit. The under the gun player has just raised all in. KJ is a strong starting hand right? Wrong! KJ is easily dominated, and you almost called.
Personally I am not a big fan of just calling. For me it is usually raise or fold, but Im also not in the pot with a weak hand. The most important thing to remember about calling is that you need a better hand to call with then you need to raise. And for the uber rookies out there… Calling is not an effective bluff.
3. Managing the Big Stack
Most rookies make the mistake of playing too loose once the have gained a lead. When I first started playing poker I made this mistake repetitively. Let s get back to our game. So far you have only been playing strong hands, and you have been maximizing you gains. Now the tournament is four handed, and you are the chip leader with about 65% of the total chips on the table; for this topic we will just say that amount is 6500. The other stacks are getting low; one player has 1500, one has 1750, and the other has 250. You are on the button with K5 suited, and the player with 1500 chips has just gone all in. You should call, because it is your obligation as the chip leader, and it will not cost you too much right? Wrong again. With the big chip stack with one player riding the bubble, you should be concerned about which player you are going to have to face heads up. You want to find the player with the weakest game, and help insure that they make it to the end. Why? Because you know you can easily beat this player, and chances are that you will have them greatly out chipped.
4. Playing the Short Stack
Playing the short stack is another one of those unavoidable factors of tournament play; even if you make it deep into the game. There are hundreds of articles on short stack strategy out there, so I will just give you mine. When I m short stack I pay very closer attention to my position. If I am on the button and there are only a few players are in the hand I will move all in with any two high cards, any ace, or even sometimes suited connectors. Out of position I will move with two high cards KQ, KJ, or QJ. However if you are one the bubble in a SNG, you might just want to try mucking everything (except AA, KK, QQ or JJ). This way you might get lucky and make the money.
5. Knowing When You re Beat
The down side of having aces or kings in the hole is that these hands can lose, and the do quite frequently. Part of playing winning poker is determining when your hand is no longer good, and being able to put it down. This time you have been dealt a pair of kings, and you made a preflop raise of 4x the big blind with three callers. The flop comes out 8d 9d 7h it is checked all the way to you. Here you make half pot sized bet, and all three of the other players call. The turn card is 6d and again is checked around to you. This time you make a pot sized bet and two of the three players call. The river card is Ks and the UTG player has just made a one third pot sized bet. The second player has just called, and now you have to make a decision. What now raise, call or fold? A rookie player would call here and give the excuse that they are pot committed. The correct answer is to fold. Yes there is a chance that your set is good but you should have checked the turn or made a smaller bet, because you had no chance of beating the flush, a straight, a set, or even pocket aces. This situation happens frequently, and is the measure of a good player. It also enforces my philosophy that a good player is not determined by what hands they play, but the ones they fold.
For the beginner this information should be given a certain amount of consideration. The purpose of this article was not to teach you any particular strategy, but it was meant to give you an understanding of the mind set of a skilled player. There are many other subjects of poker to study as you gain experience and develop your game. These topics include playing position, knowing when to bluff, picking up on common tells, poker etiquette, and bankroll management, etc With that in mind get out there and play. See you at the tables.
The Winning 14-Step Sit and Go Battleplan. A portion of this article was published in issue #42 of WPT Poker Magazine. Hands down, the Sit and Go has been the most significant innovation to come out of online poker. A Sit and Go is the only way you can experience every phase of a poker tournament in under an hour at any buy-in and never wait for a starting time. Aug 07, 2014 How to Get Out of Microstakes - $1 Hyper 180 Man Sit N Go. We'll talk about why you should give this format a try and why it just might be your fast track ticket to get out of the microstakes.
Texas holdem sit and go tournaments are one table poker
tournaments that can usually be completed in less than an hour.
The most popular variation is no limit Texas holdem, but you can
also play limit and pot limit at some rooms.
While a few land based casinos have started offering sit and
go tournaments, the majority of them are played online. Some
poker rooms offer two or three table tournaments, but the
traditional sit and go is a one table event with 9 or 10
A common payout structure for a 10 seat game is 5 times the
buy in for first, 3 times the buy in for second, and 2 times the
buy in for third.
Here s an example:
In a sit and go tournament where the buy in is $100 plus $10,
the first place finisher wins $500, second wins $300, and third
In a tournament with 9 players instead of 10 a common payout
for first is $450, second place gets $270, and third place wins
If you re going to be a long term profitable sit and go Texas
holdem player you need to know your break-even point.
It s helpful to understand exactly how many times you have to
finish in the money and how many times you need to finish at
certain positions in order to break even in the long run.
In the long run you should finish in each of the first three
positions roughly the same amount of times. While this isn t
100% true for every player, it s close enough to get an idea for
calculating how often you need to get in the money to break
We find it easier to visualize and understand if we base all
of my long term projections and calculations on 100 events. So
in this example we re using a buy in of $100 plus $10 over 100
sit and go tournaments.
Our total cost of entry is $110 times 100 for a total of
For a 10 person table the average win spread over the three
top spots is $333.33 when you get into the money. So you have to
get in the money 33 out of 100 time in order to break even. You
get this number by dividing $11,000 by $333.33.
If you re playing at a 9 seat table the average win is $300,
so you need to finish in the money 37 times to finish slightly
better than break even. 36.67 times is the actual break-even
A good goal is to finish in the money 40% of the time.
Realize that with one fewer entrant in the second example it
reduces your average win rate if you finish in the money the
same percentage of the time, but it also makes it easier to
reach the same percentage.
To make the same amount per tournament on average at a 9 seat
table as a 10 seat table you need to finish in the money 44.44%
of the time instead of 40%.
Of course the goal is to finish in the money in every Texas
holdem tournament you enter, but figuring out what it takes at
each stage of the tournament can involve a few more
It helps to understand how many chips you need to finish in
the top three spots in a sit and go. Many tournaments start with
stacks of $1,000 so it s easy to determine the average stack
size for the final three.
Of course you only need a single chip to get into the top
three, but by using the average you can quickly determine where
you stand at any point in the tournament.
When you find yourself in a position with over $2,000 in
chips with four players remaining you re in decent shape, but
you can t afford to let down or make any big mistakes. If you re
in the same position with $4,000 or more in chips you can
usually slow down and only play your best hands.
This information also gives you a good idea of how many times
you need to double up to get where you need to be. You might
start feeling pressed when you get down to $500 chips, but you
only need to double up twice to get to $2,000.
Even if you re down to $200 in chips you only have to double
up three times to get to $1,600.
The blinds force action in sit and go tournaments just like
in ring games and multi table tournaments, but they force action
faster in sit and go s.
The blinds go up quickly so you have to play aggressively
early in order to build a large enough stack to survive until
you get into the money.
We ve seen many players complain that sit and go tournaments
are reduced to luck because of this, but it s simply not true.
The best poker players win more often than poor players in the
long run, so it can t all be about luck.
Skill is what determines sit and go winners, not luck.
What you have to do is adjust your game so you take the
rising blinds into account.
Another interesting thing that happens while you play sit and
go tournaments is the number of players goes down as the
tournament progresses so the relative hand strength changes.
Few poker players are able to play their best game at both a
10 person table and a 6 person table, but a sit and go combines
both of these as well as short hand play that ends with heads up
Hand strengths change depending on how many players remain.
Here are some examples:
If you get a pair of kings at the table with 9 other players,
they have 18 of the 50 remaining unseen cards. 4 of those cards
are aces. This means that the odds are that at least one of them
has an ace in their hand.
When you get a pair of kings and only have 3 opponents they
only have 6 of the remaining 50 cards so it s much less likely
one of them holds an ace.
Of course a pair of kings is a strong starting hand in any
situation, but if an ace lands on the flop you can judge how
likely an opponent is to have one in both situations.
With a full table a pair of nines from early position should
usually be folded, but when the table is three or four handed it
becomes a strong starting hand from any position.
Any hand that contains an ace also greatly improves in value
as the tournament goes on. You don t want to play aces with poor
kickers at a full table but with three players they re usually
Most successful players use one of two different strategies.
The first strategy is folding all but your best hands until
you re forced to play because the blinds are getting too high.
When you do enter a hand you play aggressively, usually over
betting, in an attempt to get all in every time you play. This
gives you a chance to double up with your best hands until you
get a large enough chip stack that you can adjust your play
until you get into the money.
If you play in sit and go tournaments with many of the same
players over and over a few of them may get wise to this
strategy and stop giving you action early in the tournament. But
most players don t pay attention and will give you action on
This strategy works well for many players, but the key is
learning how to value starting hands while you have an average
stack and when you get low and are forced to play because of the
The mistake many players make is losing patience and playing
hands that aren t as good as they need to be or jump into a pot
before they have to.
If you have enough chips to pay the blinds for three more
rounds you have plenty of time to pick up a good hand to make a
We ve seen players push with middle suited connectors and
small pairs at this point, and it isn t a good play. If you re
down to your final round of blinds you can play these hands, but
you don t need to before.
When we re looking for a hand to push with when we get short
stacked in addition to the top normal hands here s a list of the
types of hands, somewhat in order from best to worst, that we
The other winning strategy is playing a wider range of hands
with high aggression from the beginning of the tournament. The
idea is to bully the table and steal many blinds and small bets.
If the table lets you play this style you may be able to
build enough of a stack that when one of your opponents lands a
strong hand you ll have enough to take the loss and continue
One main problem with this style is you rely on too much luck
early to stay in the game and not run up against a big hand.
More players are successful playing the first style than the
second, but some players are good enough to make money with the
Successful players who use the second strategy are really
good at using their position, stack size, and knowledge of the
other players and situations at every point in the tournament.
A third strategy is an all-in system. The basic concept is
every time you play a hand you move all in until you reach the
money. Once you reach the money you usually adjust your play to
maximize your chances of winning.
The reason we list the third strategy as a bonus instead of
three different strategies is because the first and third
strategy are similar. This strategy stems from a multi table
Texas holdem tournament strategy that can be used to give an
inexperienced player a chance.
An inexperienced player is given a list of starting hands and
they fold everything not on the list and move all in with
anything on the list. It s not a long term profitable play in
multi table tournaments, but with some thought and practice it
can work at some levels of sit and go play.
Notice that all of the strategies discussed here are
based on aggressive play. The blinds go up too fast for passive
play to be profitable in the long run. You have to play in an
aggressive manner if you hope to turn a long term profit at the
Texas holdem sit and go tables.
Just like Texas holdem ring games, the competition gets
better as the buy ins go up in sit and go tournaments. This
isn t always true in multi table tournaments.
At the lower buy in levels you can usually turn a profit by
playing solid poker, remaining tight and aggressive, and
focusing on not doing anything stupid. As you start playing for
higher stakes the competition gets better, but most tables will
still have a few poor players. At the top buy in levels the
overall competition is much better, but you ll still see a few
players who don t seem to know what they re doing.
During the online poker boom when Party Poker was the biggest
poker room in the world you could play in many low limit sit and
go tournaments, with buy in levels of $10 plus $1 or so, and
simply fold everything except high pocket pairs and get into the
money enough times to break even or turn a small profit.
The games were filled with poor players and all you had to do
was be patient. We distinctly remember playing in a few games
where we didn t play a single hand until we were in the money.
Things have changed and you have to play a few hands even at
the lowest levels today, but the same basic concept still seems
to work well. Be patient, focus on your best hands early, and
play solid ABC poker.
At the higher levels you have to combine solid poker
fundamentals with knowledge of the other players. The top buy in
levels have a much smaller number of regular players so you need
to start building a database of information about them as soon
as you start playing. You need to be able to exploit playing
tendencies and poor playing decisions at this level if you want
to win enough to overcome the rake.
The rake is the extra add on instead of a charge per hand. In
a $10 plus $1 sit and go tournament, the $1 is the rake, or fee
the poker room collects.
Texas holdem sit and go tournaments require a different set
of advanced skills than larger tournaments and ring games, but
they can be quite profitable if you re willing to learn the best
Even if you re an experienced Texas holdem player, try your
hand at the lower buy in levels until you grasp the subtle
strategy adjustments you need to make. Remember that it could
take hundreds of tournaments to get a real picture of your
success. Don t be in a hurry to move up to the next level until
you re convinced you re playing winning poker.
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