Sit-n-Go Strategy Guide - Section 3


I think I got a little ahead of myself, by laying out a bit of basic strategy in section 1. I simply wanted to provide a “hook” of sorts to get some of you interested in what I have to say, I will talk at length about strategy, but right now I want to discuss goals and bankroll management. If you do not know what games you are bankrolled for or what your goals are….all the SnG strategy in the word will not help you become a successful poker player.

Why do you play poker? Hmmmm….seems like an obvious and simplistic question. As simple as it is I believe your reason for playing is a huge factor in your development as a player. Whatever your answer is, it is important that you HAVE an answer. You may be a recreational player who enjoys playing poker for entertainment purposes. You may enjoy the game and have a certain amount of money that you can allocate to playing poker every week, instead of hunting or golf you choose to spend you free time and extra cash playing a popular game. This guide is not really geared to that type of player, I am focusing more on the “serious” player whose reason for playing is to make as much money as possible. Perhaps you want to purchase a vacation or some luxury item that you may not be able to otherwise afford…..perhaps you are interested in supplementing your income or attempting to make poker you sole source of income. If you do not know why you are playing poker….stop right now and give it a few minutes of thought and come up with a reason.

After you have a reason for playing you need to set up a goal and a plan to achieve that goal. You should sit down, figure out (write it down) what it is you want out of life. Put down both short term and long term goals then figure out how poker figures in to that equation.

Your goals should be as specific as possible. With specific goals you can clearly see what it is you want to achieve, and you have a specific plan of attack to achieve the goal. In making your goals specific it is crucial that you actually write them down so that you can refer to them on a regular basis. The act of writing programs your subconscious mind to work for you.....directing your mind towards your goal instead of pointing at the obstacles. The more specific you can make your goals, the greater the likelihood for success and the shorter the path to achieving your dream.

You should set reasonable and attainable goals where you see a realistic path to achievement. This does not mean that you should lower your aim because a rewarding goal/accomplishment has some level of challenge to it. The goal should be ambitious as possible, but still it will give you motivation and sense of achievement when you get there. Achieving a goal is tremendously rewarding when you have clear reasons why you want to reach that goal....that is why it has to be a specific and individual/personal goal (your goal not someone else’s goal or expectation of you) Write down your specific/personal reasons.....and what the expected reward will be.....but most importantly you have to hold yourself accountable for working towards those goals. Boy, I wrote the word goal a whole lot in two short paragraphs, perhaps you now understand how important I feel this is.

For argument’s sake let agree that your goal is to make as much money as possible…for whatever reason. SnG tournaments are an excellent way to achieve that goal…..but what SnGs should you play? Well that is a very good and important question; my answer to you is in the form of a question. How large is your bankroll? Bankroll management is a term that is thrown around a lot on FTR, and my friend a500lbgorilla wrote an excellent post about bankroll management found here: Bankroll Management 101.

A general rule of thumb to follow when choosing a level of SnG to play at is 15 buy-ins. If you are just starting out you may be able to get away with 10 buy-ins but I would seriously shoot for 15. The reason for this is that as good a player as you are….you will go on a losing streak. It is inevitable, and happens to all SnG players in varying degrees. My personal worst is 9 consecutive losses (out of the money) when I first started. I recently went on a 7 SnG losing streak over a two day period. You simply must have a large enough bankroll to absorb such a losing streak when it happens. When I say buy-in I am referring to the tourney buy-in + the entry fee. I know a lot of people play at Party Poker, but if you are just starting out, your money will be better spent….at least initially at Poker Stars, or any of the other poker rooms that have a lower rake (tourney fee) for the lowest SnG levels. Party Poker’s lowest SnGs are $5+1 and Poker Stars is $5+.50….it does not seem like a big deal, but consider this: You are just starting out and have funded your poker account with $100 (IMO, the minimum anyone should start with) and you decide to play a good bit of poker this month. After 100 games you will have paid $50 more at PP than PS….that is nine more $5 SnG tourney buy-ins you would have had in your account, let me say that again…..that is nine more $5 SnG tourney buy-ins you would have had in your account……over time, pennies add up.
Another general rule of thumb taught to me by Soupie is do not risk more than 5-10% of your bankroll on a given day. As I see it that is the driving force behind the x% per day idea is maximize return while minimizing risk. If you risk no more than 5-10% of your bankroll in any one session, then you can not go broke when negative variance does strike. It may be slightly arbitrary, but the 5-10% bankroll risk per day is a figure that most people can "stomach"....if you have a bad session you have not lost so much that you tilt, or play your next session from a position of simply absorb the loss and move on - no biggie (play where you belong). If you risk less that 5% of your bankroll per day, you are not maximizing your time and earning potential….conversely if you risk more than the 10% per day, you may do significant damage to your ability to play properly funded in a single bad session.
Example: If you have a $500 bankroll and you have decided to risk 10% of that bankroll today ($50), depending on how much time you have to play you have several options on how to go about spreading the money around. You could play nine $5+50 SnGs, you could play four $10+1 SnGs, or you could play two $20+2 SnGs. I suppose you could say you could play a single $50+5 SnG, but this would be stretching two “rules”. $55 is 11% of your bankroll and at $50+5 you would only have a bankroll to cover nine buy-ins…..see how this works?
Again, many people find these rules confining or arbitrary, but they are designed to keep you out of trouble and maximize your potential return, while minimizing the risk. You can manipulate the rules as you see fit, but many people have no baseline or idea of what an appropriate level of play, bankroll and risk should be….and some people need "rules" to play least initially.

Sit-n-Go Strategy Guide - Section 3 Summary

• What are your reasons for playing poker
• Set up short and long term specific goals
• Make your goals challenging but attainable
• Formulate a plan for achieving those goals
• Play at a level your bankroll can support
• Observe the 15 buy-in rule
• Observe the 5%-10% per day risk rule