Sit-n-Go Strategy Guide - Section 1

Soupie, a tournament player who I admire said; at the beginning of a tournament, ”Tight is Right” This bit of wisdom applies to MTT tournaments as well as SnGs. I realize that many people like to “limp” a wide variety of hands early in a SnG when the blinds are very low. I used to follow a similar strategy, but over time have come to realize that limping, hoping to catch lucky is not very effective use of chips. Occasionally you will flop a great hand that is well hidden and you will get paid off, if not double up. However, most of the time you will have simply wasted chips as the best case, or gotten caught up in a hand you should have never been involved in the first place. How many times have you limped with some suited two gappers only to flop bottom two pair? Initially that looks like a strong hidden hand, but when top pair bets out, you re-raise all in and the board goes runner-runner and pairs up by the river and you lose everything. Or top pair catches their kicker for the same result. Limping hands out of position and falling in love with a flop is a recipe for disaster. Some people may claim limping hands early is giving them valuable information about their opponents and how they play. I would say if you are observant you can gain just as much information about how they play and invest no money. Let the other people at the table waste chips or “donate” for the information, this benefits you in two ways. You get free information about how and what your opponents will play - in what position….and it will potentially cripple one of the players making them either desperate or a non factor as they will camp for big cards and wait to push all in, thus easy to avoid.

I am not saying don’t limp hands at all, but be mindful of what position you are in and what level the blinds are. I can’t count the number of times when I have seen someone bet $400 into a $40-60 pot because they caught a piece of something they should not have been playing to begin with. Is it really worth risking ¼ or potentially more of your stack to win a $60 pot? Play middle suited connectors, and low pocket pairs for a limp from middle to late position and be ready to let go if you come up against significant resistance. The beauty of 8-9s vs. K-To is that it is so easy to let go and you are not likely to get wrapped up in a hand ”you can’t get away from”
Do not worry about folding your small blind 4 times in a row…table image is worthless at this point (full or nearly full table when blinds are $10-$30) people are still settling in, the wild people are trying to build a stack early and the inexperienced are just playing the cards they are dealt….they are not noticing or caring about what you are doing at this point.

When you do get a premium hand in the early stages of a SnG, do not be afraid to play….and play it aggressively. Be sure you make a sizable PFR (pre-flop raise). When the blinds are 10-20 or 15-30 a “standard” 3x BB raise will not get it done. Your sitting there in middle position with A-A and you raise it to $40……low and behold…everyone and their brother comes in right behind you. Now you have five people seeing the flop and your holding 1 pair looking at a sizeable pot worth drawing at….chances are, in this situation your aces are getting cracked. If I catch a premium hand in when the blinds are low I generally like to raise 5-6x BB….make it somewhere around 100-150 to go. This will get their attention and limit the number of people seeing a flop. At this point winning the blinds is much better than getting outdrawn and losing your whole stack. Often there is someone who is going to call you regardless of your raise and you can then take those aces to them heads-up and do some damage.

Sit-n-Go Strategy Guide - Section 1 Summary

• Tight is right
• Do not donate or waste chips
• Do not limp hands out of position
• Let other people pay for information
• Be observant
• Do not fall in love with your hand
• Do not unnecessarily risk chips to win a small pot
• Raise big with premium hands in the early stages

Well there it is…..the first section. I suppose the most difficult part of writing is getting started. My plan is to write as many sections as it takes to relay the things I find important….for as long as people find it useful. Generally I want to cover:
Basic strategy, picking a SnG (1 or 2 table), moving up levels (bankroll management), advanced strategy, short handed play, short stack play and heads up play. So this has the potential to become quite long and involved. If you have specific topics you would like me to cover or discuss, please feel free to let me know. Thanks for reading