Texas Holdem Sit and Go Tournament Strategy
Course Outline Sit and Go poker tournaments are a format that was basically unheard of in casino poker rooms outside of single-table satellites but are now very much in demand. When it wins, it only wins small. Texas Holdem Betting Rules: As I finished typing that sentence a poker site probably tried to patent a new variation. The ability to accurately assess the range of hands which individuals will raise and call raises with is a key skill in SNG tournaments and worth spending the time to learn.
How to build a poker hand
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 players. 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.
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. We find it easier to visualize and understand if we base all of my long term projections and calculations on events. So you have to get in the money 33 out of time in order to break even. 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 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 calculations.
It helps to understand how many chips you need to finish in the top three spots in a sit and go. 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.
This information also gives you a good idea of how many times you need to double up to get where you need to be. 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.
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 combat. If you get a pair of kings at the table with 9 other players, they have 18 of the 50 remaining unseen cards.
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 strong hands.
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 most hands. 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 blinds. 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 move with.
We've seen players push with middle suited connectors and small pairs at this point, and it isn't a good play. The blind are usually a small portion of your starting stack in the first two rounds. Many novice players in these tournaments make the mistake of not protecting their monsters hands like AA and KK pre-flop by making small raises.
If you happen to pick up a monster in the early stages of a sit and go then you should try to get as much money in the pot while you most likely still have the best hand. Conversely, if it seems clear that you are beat after the flop, turn, or river, don't be afraid to get away from the hand. There is still a lot of poker to be played! When the blinds are low, you should be playing suited connectors and suited gap connectors, especially when in position, because it costs you a very small percentage of your stack.
You are looking to hit a flop hard with 2 pair or to flop a strong draw. Often people under-bet the pot with top pair to keep people in the hand, so you will get a great price to draw to your straight or flush. With big pairs, you want to raise times the big blind. Your ideal situation is to get callers and isolate yourself with someone who flops top pair and is a 7 to 10 underdog against your overpair.
The level of play in these tournaments is such that people will often commit themselves with top pair, even if they have a poor kicker. When you hit top pair with any of the aforementioned hands, you will almost always have the best hand and should feel comfortable playing it for all your chips in most situations.
Someone people will disagree with me here, but the level of play in these tournaments is quite poor, especially at the lower buy-in levels, and you want to take advantage of this. As the blinds go up, your starting hand selection should change a bit. Now you should tighten your standards up and playing the premium drawing hands and pairs 77 and bigger for a raise.
The blinds become bigger, and there is nothing wrong with taking down an uncontested pot at this stage in the game. If you have a well above average stack, you can afford to wait for premium holdings. However if you are about average in terms of chip count, you will need to play some hands to build your stack. I would advocate being willing to move in with any pocket pair of tens or higher or Ace-King and Ace-Queen at this stage of the game depending on your stack.
These are strong hands and will often be a favorite if your opponent calls. Additionally, your opponent will often fold and you build your stack without having to show down the hand. Let's say you are on the button with pocket tens. The blinds are , and you have chips.
There are six players left. A player in middle position with chips makes a minimum raise to Your opponent must think about folding hands like Ax, KQ, and lower pocket pairs, which leaves you in great shape. Sometimes he will call with these hands because of the pot odds and you are in great shape to double up.
You are slightly ahead of hands like AK and AQ, and the dead money from the blinds makes this even more profitable for you. Now the blinds are getting very high in relation to the average stack size.
You should not enter pots with marginal hands. Be VERY weary on confronting other big stacks without strong holdings, because they can bust you.