Sit & Go Poker

December 14, 2009 |

I recently did an article on ‘super turbo’ sit & gos, so now I would like to give some insight on regular sit & go tournaments. Whether or not the sit & gos are in a turbo format or regular format; I want to give some tips that I think will help you increase your ROI in these tournaments. Aside from the multi-table tournaments, sit & go tournaments are a great way to maintain your bankroll while building it at the same time. Regular sit & gos roughly take one hours time while the turbo sit & gos usually take half that time, just an FYI. That being said, let’s start to increase your ‘return on investment’ by learning the ins and outs of the ‘sit & go’.

When it comes to sit & go play my theory is much like any other tournament I play in. I like to play tight in the beginning while studying my opponents, and then use that information to exploit the table when bubble play starts to kick in. I play cautious in the beginning of sit & gos, because chips become to valuable once the blinds begin to increase. Considering you only start with 1500 in chips, you don’t have the luxury of playing more hands like you could if you were deep stacked. I prefer to play only strong starting hands which consists of 99+, AQ+, and keep in mind position comes in to play when considering your starting hand. Play a little more freely when you are in late position. I am pretty sure I didn’t explain rocket science just now but I will explain why conserving your chips will pay off in the long run.

Unless you have one of the strong starting hands I mentioned earlier; I stress playing tight in early game. This is for multiple reasons. You will soon find by folding in the early stages, and preserving your chips you will see players at the table knock themselves out. If you are sitting at a 9 man table, I can almost promise you that by the time you are done folding a couple hands, there will be only be 5-6 people left at the table. With 9 players beginning the tournament, and the top 3 places earning money; you have already increased your chances by 33% to make the money. Just trust me when I say that players will knock themselves out if you give them a chance. And with you preserving your chip stack, you are in a great position to take over the tournament. It’s time to exploit the table and take advantage of the bubble.

Unless you are playing seasoned sit & go players, the ‘fish’ at the table will dramatically tighten up once the play gets near the bubble. Let me discuss what the bubble is for those who are unfamiliar with the term. The bubble means the difference in making the cash, and finishing outside the cash. In this instance, finishing in 4th or 5th would be considering finishing on the bubble, and not making the money. This is the time to get aggressive like none other.

Let’s say you are sitting in 2nd place with 4 people remaining, and remember 3 places pay. By studying the table you should be able to tell if they guy in first place is a solid sit & go player, or if he was lucky to receive his chips. Let’s set up a chip count:

Rocky: 4000 You: 3000 Colt: 1000 Tum-Tum: 1000 (3 Ninja reference)
You are in an excellent position to really take advantage of the bubble and accumulate more chips heading into ‘money play’ This is a situation where you can be raising almost every hand, because unless Rocky (the chip leader) makes a stand against you, Colt and Tum-Tum will fold their hands in an effort to make the money. Rocky doesn’t want to get involved in a hand with you because he is content with his stack. And unless Colt and Tum-Tum pick up a ‘strong’ hand they will automatically fold their hands even if they are holding a better hand than what you are. They are both waiting for the other player to be eliminated so they can walk into the money without a fight. They don’t want to be the one to take a stand so they will fold until the other player makes that stand. This is what you call exploiting the bubble, and you will get away with raising a wide range of hands. Yet, don’t get careless with your chips.

Like anything though, whether it be sales, writing, or in this instance poker; it takes time to hone a craft. You will not fully understand this type of play by reading articles, but I guarantee you that you will increase your profit if you continually apply these tips to your game. Good luck at the tables everyone.

Craig Fleck

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