SNG Strategy

Sit and Go tournaments, or SNGs for short, are very popular among online players. The most common type are the single table tourneys with nine or ten players. As soon as a player runs out of chips, they are removed from the tournament, and play continues on until eventually one player has all of the chips.

Generally, the top three finishers are eligible to receive the prize money, which is obviously the primary objective when playing these sit n go tournaments. The main aim is to try and win, since a large percentage of the total prize pool is given to the winner. When you’re playing single table SNGs the winner will generally be given 50% of the prize pool. The second place finisher will get 30% of the prize pool, and the third place finisher will get the remaining 20%.

The blinds are usually increased every ten to fifteen minutes, but if you are playing a “turbo” SNG the blinds will increase every four to five minutes. Due to the difference in the blind structure between regular and turbo SNG tournaments, you will need to adopt a different strategy for both. You just can’t expect to sit back and wait around for premium hands in a turbo SNG, the increased pressure of the blinds doesn’t allow for this.

Having a good understanding of the different stages for SNG tournaments will definitely put you one step ahead of your opponents. You should realize there are three distinct parts of playing SNG tournaments, which includes the early game, the middle game (which also includes the bubble play), and least but not least the end game of a SNG.

Without a doubt the bubble play of a SNG is a crucial stage of the tournament. A lot of players will tighten up too much and this allows for the better players to exploit the weak/tight play at the table. The later stages of a sit and go where there are only a few players left in the tournament involves lots of all-ins, so players will need to have a good shove/fold strategy to play this stage of a sit and go tournament in an optimal manner.

Early Game

Early on with the stacks still fairly deep in comparison to the blinds, it means the game will play in a similar manner to cash games, as players will be getting good implied odds to play more speculative hands. Adopting a tight and aggressive playing style without committing too much of your stack unless you expect to have the best hand will get the job done during this phase of the tournament.

Middle Game

The middle phase of the tournament is when you have to start pushing on and trying to be a bit more aggressive. By this stage of the tournament, you will have hopefully figured out how you can expect your opponents to play, and if you have a fairly tight image, you should be able to exploit this, since the other players will have no reason to think you are getting out of line when you come out firing big bets.

You should look to open up your stealing and re-stealing range. If players in the blinds haven’t shown much of a willingness to defend their blinds, then you should look to steal them at every opportunity. Similarly, if you have an aggressive player that is raising a lot pre-flop, they can be a good candidate to re-steal against, since even though they are showing strength by coming out and raising, it’s hard for them to have much of a hand, since they’re raising so often.

It’s always a good idea to have an idea of your stack size relative to the other players still in the tournament. Accumulating chips is always a goal in winning tournaments, but sometimes folding is going to be the correct play, especially when there are short stacks that are sitting on a few big blinds, making it likely that someone will get knocked out of the tournament on the bubble.

End Game

When the sit and go is down to only a few players, by this stage the players are now in push/fold mode. Now more than ever you really need to pay close attention to how the other players are playing. If players are getting too tight, then you can steal their blinds relentlessly and not risk getting blinded out of the tournament with a junk hand.

By the time it gets to heads up play, if there is a player with a significant chip advantage, they are pretty much guaranteed to win, since it’s hard to overcome such an enormous chip lead. Hence, the reason you want to be accumulating chips through the early and middle stages of the tournament.

If you are heads up and playing against an opponent with a much smaller stack, you will be able to completely dominate them during heads up play by using the chip lead you have to your advantage. It’s hard for them to play back unless they have a decent hand.