Turbo SNG Strategy
When entering a turbo sit and go, you should look at how many chips you start with and what the blind levels are. Most of the time the blind levels will be five minutes and you'll start with 1,500 chips. A number of turbo sit and gos will be over quickly and you should keep this in mind as you start to play. This style of game isn't a long grind like big tournaments and is very much a short term endeavor. In these games it will come down to whether you can win coin flips later on. Your goal throughout them should be to win and get your money in ahead, if you keep that in mind you'll have more success when playing.
Early Stage Strategy
At the beginning of a turbo sit and go you should start off by playing passive. The reason is because if you commit too many chips, too early on, it can hurt your chances of winning. If you play passive at the beginning, it will also help you build an image at the table. If you have a solid and passive image at the table, you'll be able to use it later on when the blinds get bigger to exploit other players. When the blinds start to get bigger is when you should change gears in turbo sit and gos. You should start playing more pots and move your stack in. The reason for this is because the blinds are bigger and worth it to win. In most cases you'll increase your stack by 10-20% just by winning the blinds.
At the beginning of games you should start to categorize players and always observe what hands they are showing down. If you lump them into a player who is an aggressive bad player you can make some of your decisions easier throughout the game. When a big spot comes up against an aggressive bad player, who is shoving wider ranges of hands, you'll be able to call in spots where other times you would fold. This draws a thin line between the aggressive good players, but these are easier to pick out. The aggressive good players will most likely showdown big hands and not showdown weak hands. This is the category you want to be in.
If you can only showdown hands in which you are very strong in turbo sit and gos, you'll get credit for always having it regardless of how many hands you are playing or how many pots you take shots at. To become an aggressive good player it takes hours of practice playing sit and goes and some of the best out there only have a 10% ROI. Most of the aggressive good players will multi table these games to slowly build up a big enough bankroll to move through the limits of the sit and goes.
If you are sitting and only playing one table you can be more observant, but, in the long run, it will take you far longer to make money, even if you are good. The third type of player is a passive bad player. The passive bad players will almost never play hands and will slowly get blinded away. Avoid being this type of player at all costs. If you sit and wait for things to happen they never will. You have to be proactive when playing turbo games and look for spots to double your stack up.
To look at the turbo games as a whole you should start off by playing passive and then move towards playing overly aggressive. It's a fast progression and after about the fifth blind level, when you have ten big blinds or less, is when you should begin to implement this strategy. If you have the same amount of chips you started the game with, all this means is that you haven't gotten any hands. A rush of cards in turbo games is great because you can chip up and run the table over. If you do happen to catch that rush of cards you'll be able to win the game a great deal of the time. If you don't catch any hands it's hard to win these games, but you'll be able to maintain your stack size if you attack the blinds.
There are also a number of hand ranges to look for later on in the game. If you start off with a passive-fold-almost-anything attitude, people will pick up on that if you are at a higher buy-in game. When the other players see you are playing passive is when you can start to pick them off or you can force them to fold in certain spots. You can become the aggressor by either re-shoving to the players raise before the flop or by making an opening raise yourself.
If you change how you play and change gears as the money bubble approaches, you can chip up and win these games. As the money bubble approaches and only one or two more people need to be knocked out in order to turn a profit on the game is when you should pick up aggression. By picking up aggression, even against players with bigger chip stacks, you can put them in spots where they simply cannot call.
After the money bubble has passed you should go for the win. In order to go in for the win in turbo sit and gos it almost always means shoving all-in more times than you're used to. With the blinds as big as they will be you'll build your stack and have to take chances in order to win. If you are short handed at a table, the number of hands you open a pot with is going to be more than if the table were full.
A standard opening raise at the end of most turbo games is a shove. Just before the shove or at the beginning it's between 2-2.5 times the blinds. As every player drops off, your hand ranges gets that much wider. In most instances at the end, almost any connecting hand or ace high is good enough to gamble with. If you fold these hands it can only hurt you in the long term run of turbo sit and gos. Your goal from the beginning is to win and in order to win you have to gamble at the end of them.
Author: Jonathan Wanchalk
Updated: March 2015
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