SNG Basic Strategy

Basic sit and go strategy isn’t very difficult to
understand. Even the most amateur of players could learn how to
win at sit and go poker with relative ease. The important thing
to remember about sng strategy is that it varies greatly from
game to game. You aren’t going to be able to effectively use
the same strategy in a 6-max turbo game as you would in a full
ring game with normal blind levels.

Being able to adjust to the
circumstances at hand is one of the primary skills that any
aspiring sng player will need to learn. With all of that being
said, strategy is still quite simplistic through and through. In
fact, sit and gos have become so streamlined that many spots can
be answered with a mathematical equation. Difficult decisions
aren’t nearly as frequent and commonplace in sit and gos as
they are in cash games or even tournaments.

Sit and go strategy is most similar to that of tournaments.
The reason for this is that there are a handful of different
“sections” in each event. You will first need to accumulate
chips, and then you’ll need to continue building that stack
before ultimately playing for eliminations. Your approach and
end game plan for the game is vital. There are some players that
simply try to make the money, but this is most definitely going
to cut down on long term profits.

If you are playing to barely
slide into the money, you are going to be sabotaging your
chances of winning or even getting second place. Sure, sometimes
you might bust when you could have played safely and made the
money, but you are much better off going for first. There are
some exceptions to this rule, like when you are in a satellite
tournament and every position pays out the same amount, but they
are far and few between. Just as you would in any other poker
game, focus on winning. This isn’t to say that you should be
playing recklessly in an attempt to win or bust, but a passive
strategy isn’t going to net you the most money possible.

Early Stages

For the most part, the early stages of sit and go play will
provide you with the opportunity to hand select and pick your
spots carefully. Unless you are in a turbo game, you should have
enough relative big blinds that you can muck hands for a little
while. It’s adjusting and avoiding complacency that’s crucial.
You can’t sit around waiting for pocket aces forever, as
eventually the blinds are going to catch up with you.

Switching gears is very much the name of the game in sit and
go style poker. It would be impossible to definitively say when
you should be re-working your approach, but it will eventually
become second nature. It might take you some time to develop the
instincts that will tell you when to push the action, but
remaining aware and agile is often times the difference between
winning and losing.

Middle Stages

The middle stages of
sit and go tournaments will be when you are trying to gauge
where you fit into the grand scheme of things. If you are
working with a short stack, you’ll know that you need to find
the best opportunity to go all in and hope that you can double
up. On the other hand, a big stack will give you a chance to
push your opponents around in an attempt to build an even bigger
lead. As an average sized stack, you are going to be most
interested in finding profitable spots. This could mean shoving
the button into short stacks, calling shoves in late position,
and so on and so forth.

You won’t have enough chips that you can
get fancy or start to control the game so to speak, but you can
stay active. An average sized chip stack can easily go in either
direction, towards the chip lead or elimination. Generally, you
are going to experience the biggest swings with this size stack.
You have to take a chance at accumulating a significant amount
of chips, but often times this will result in busting out of the

The easiest way to look at strategy for the middle stages of
sit and gos is by analyzing your stack size. You are going to
need to adjust your strategy to meet what you have available to
work with. Small stacks are on a mission to survive, while big
stacks want to increase their lead. Know your place in the grand
scheme of things and use this position to format a game plan for
a deep run. Is this advice wildly general and broad, yes, for
sure, but it’s entirely applicable.

In The Money

Once you are near the money, it’s time to start figuring out
how you are going to win. By this point in time you should be
well aware of the
playing styles of your opponents. This
information will then allow you to construct a plan for the
accumulation of all chips in play. Have you determined that one
player is exceptionally tight? Raise their blinds and take the
dead money. Does it seem like one player is being over
aggressive? Wait for a decent hand and shove over them. There’s
going to be more variance at this stage of the game than
anywhere else because you have the least number of big blinds to
play with. You need to make your best moves and hope for the
best. So long as you are making the most profitable plays on a
repeated basis, you are going to be in great shape over the long

As alluded to previously in this article, you need to be
willing to play for the gold. Simply
aiming for the money is going to cost you an awful lot of
money over time. If you are playing in sit and gos and are
thrilled with a min cash but are very upset about missing the
money, you should probably consider moving down in limits. Like
tournaments, profitability in sit n gos relies on those (however
infrequent) maximum wins from time to time. One first place can
easily net you more than two third place finishes, so why
settle? Be aggressive, be smart, and remain precise in your
approach. Consistency is the ultimate key to success in sit and
go poker.