SNG StrategyThere are a few massive misconceptions with a lot of SNG (sit and go) beginner player's out there. The biggest mistake I see is peoples overall thought process and approach to the game.
Most Beginners Play BackwardsYes you heard it here first. When talking to a lot of recreational players about how they approach the single table tournament format I was alarmed to hear how many had the same approach (a losing one) with exactly the same reasoning behind why. These guys had a strategy of when the blinds are low, they'll play lots of hands because it's cheap to see the flop and when the blinds get high, they'll tighten up and wait for premium hands only as it costs a lot of their chip stack to play a hand. This is completely the wrong way to play sit and go tournaments and if you find yourself asking the question why, then be sure to read all of the SNG winning tips below.
Play Tight & Conserve Your StackAt the beginning of a SNG you need to play super tight for the first few blind levels. That means folding hands like KQ, suited aces, AJ type hands when you're in early position. Now, on the whole, there are going to be two mentalities sitting at the table. The majority of players who are losing players will be seeing lots of flops at this stage and gambling with all sorts of junk. The other player type will know what he's doing (a regular) and be playing very tight. So knowing this you can steal the regular players blinds when you are in late position, in the early stages of the SNG. So your goal for the first few blind levels (unless you wake up with a monster) is to get to level four or five (of the blind structure) with anywhere from 1250 chips plus (assuming you started with 1500).
As The Blinds Get High - You Get LooseNow you're at level five plus, you should have an idea of who the regulars are and who is just playing for fun. The reason that this is important is because it will effect how you play from here on in. The blinds are really worth stealing now as they are getting high in relation to people's chip stacks. As we've already discussed, high blinds are when most players (the losing players that is) start to play tight so they wont play back at you without a good hand which they'll have far less often than they'll have a junky hand, which means you can steal liberally. For example, if you find yourself with ten big blinds or less and the action has been folded round to you in the small blind, you can shove on the big blind with any two cards as it'll be very hard for the big blind to have a hand strong enough to call you with, adding a healthy chunk to your chip stack. A final thought at this stage of the game is to realise that you're not the only one who'll know the correct way to play SNG's. The regular players will also be shoving a wider range of hands at this point. So if you notice a regular looking player who seems to be shoving rather liberally, you'll have to adjust to him by calling him lighter.
On The Bubble - Play To Cash But Don't Blind OutNow that you've survived as a small stack and are on or nearing the bubble, it's time to shift gears again. At this stage you want to be extremely loose with shoving but more cautious about calling a shove. The reason that you can shove a super wide range is because people don't like calling it off without a strong hand when they are so close to the money. So you may shove hands like 7 2 when no one else has shown strength but fold hands like 66 to someone elses shove.
My Latest Breaking Poker NewsFind out why Betonline is now the easiest poker room to win at because of their online sports book players trying to play poker. Read more here.
When The Bubble Bursts - Play To Win!Now you're down to three players and it's time for uber aggression. By this point you should have a clear understanding of how the other two play. You should know who you can really bully and run over and who you may need to call a little lighter. First place should be the only place on your mind as the difference between second and third in terms of prize is minimal. Read about Brokerstars $50 - $5000 Bankroll challenge only playing heads up sit and goes. Good Luck.
Back to poker tactics. Watch our free poker training videos.