Sit and Go Strategy Discussion?
What I am about to discuss is my general SnG strategy, which I am looking to adapt and improve through discussion.
I generally play UBER tight. Like seriously tight. I am just trying to survive with as many chips as possible for later on in the tournament when I can use my stack to pick up blinds.
In an un-raised pot, when it folds around to me, I will open the pot with only the top 10 hands in hold 'em. Which I consider to be:
In early position, I will just limp with the 7's, 8's, 9's and AQ. In middle position I will open with all 10 hands. In late position, I will open the pot with all these 10 hands as well as a few extra hands like K-Q s and A-J s. I tend to raise 3 to 5BB depending on how many callers I pick up. I am aiming to get to the flop heads up making all post flop decisions easier.
In middle and late positions I will limp in with all other pairs, 2 suited paint cards (A, K, Q, J, T) A-X suited and any suited connectors above 6-7s. Just trying to flop a monster or a big draw. Don't play draws too strongly, check / call if out of position but ensure you are getting the correct price to call. Once again the theme is conserving chips.
When facing a raise, I fold almost everything, A-Q s and T-T are about the lowest I will call with. Obviously I am re-raising with A-A, K-K and QQ but I'm calling off with the other hands to see a flop. I never re-raise with A-K in the early stages as it is probably the most overplayed hand in NLHE and I feel caution is the best course of action early on. Once again conserving chips is key and try not to bust out with just top/top early on. I try to avoid all in confrontations during the early stages of the SnG unless I am holding A-A or K-K. I will probably fold Q-Q if there is excessive action PF early in a SnG. You might be sacrificing some equity by playing so tight but the key to SnG's is survival.
If you have limpers in front of you, I am only raising with A-A, K-K, Q-Q, J-J, T-T & A-K. All the other top ten hands become a limp to see a cheap flop. I will limp in behind the earlier limpers with all other pairs, 2 suited paint cards, A-X suited and any suited connectors above 6-7s. Just trying to flop a monster or a big draw. Don't play draws too strongly, check / call if out of position but ensure you are getting the correct price to call.
The middle stage of a sit and go varies. It depends on 3 key factors:
What is your M*?
How many players are left?
What is the structure like?
*M = SB + BB + (Ante x Players left)
I define the default middle stages of a tournament as the 50/100 level on Full Tilt. Usually there will be 6 or 7 players remaining at this point. How I play the middle stages of a SnG depends on how the first stage went. There are 3 common scenarios that occur at this stage. They are as follows.
I have hardly played and my stack will be about 1200 to 1500 chips at the 50/100 level. This meaning I have an M of 8 to10. This is the most common scenario using this system. You are still playing tight and desperately trying to keep hold of your chips, you are playing the top ten hands aggressively. Be cautious not to commit yourself to the pot with mediocre hands. If you raise and get called, be prepared to fold if you miss the flop and your opponent bets out. Try and leave yourself 7M in this scenario if you fold, that way you will employ the strategy in scenario 2. Try to stay ahead of the blinds by stealing pots more often from late position. Hopefully your tight image will help in this regard.
You played a hand or 2 and things didn't quite go according to plan. You will be short on chips and will probably have an M of 7 or less (Danger Zone!) In this situation you are looking to double up and quick. If you have 7M or less, if you are going to play a hand, you will be moving All in Pre flop in an attempt to either steal the blinds or play for a big pot. Candidate's for the shove include:
- The Top Ten Hands
- K-X s
- Any 2 paint cards
- J-T s
- 9-T s
- Q-T s
- any pocket pairs
You are using the fold equity of your stack to try and add to your stack. It is still important to have a bit of a hand to push with in case you do get called and have to showdown. More often that not you will find yourself on the harsh end of a 60/40, which is a decent price to double up. Limping is completely out of the question and you should only push in an unopened pot. If there Is action in front of you, I would still fold all but the top 10 hands, K-Q s and A-J s.
The Last factor is making a stand. If you find yourself with an M of 5 or less – DO NOT TAKE THE BLINDS
. Find an excuse to get your chips in. In an unopened pot, I tend to try and find 2 cards that add up to 18 or more using the blackjack
counting system. Push all in with any 2 cards under the gun rather than taking the blinds. If you do take the blinds then you will be in danger of folding your tournament and fold equity away. To quote Amir Vahidi “To live, you have to be willing to die”
You picked up a couple of decent hands or your big hands held up and things are going well. An M of 15+ is a great situation to be in. This is when I go into small ball poker mode. I will be raising lots of hands in lots of positions and making lots of jab bets at pots. Generally I will raise an unopened pot with any 2 cards that will play well after the flop in any position for 2.5BB. Hands I will raise with roughly include:
- Top Ten Hands
- K-X s
- Any Pairs
- Any Suited Connectors
- Connectors 7-8 and above
- Semi Suited Connectors 5-7 and above
- Any 2 paint cards
I will also be leading out on the flop whether I hit or not with a half pot bet. I will be making the same bet with nothing as I will the nuts. Be prepared for players to push in on you, but try to avoid by confrontations. See Daniel Negreanu's guide to small ball poker on Youtube for more in depth discussion of the small ball system.
I feel the bubble is played wrong in SnG's. It is practically the mirror opposite of the bubble in MTT games. I almost completely shut down on the bubble as long as I am not the shortest stack left. If I am the shortest stack I am waiting for a top ten hand to get my chips in. I am just trying to eek into the money as that is the profitable play in SnG's
Once the bubble has burst I revert to small ball or pushing stack strategy and I gamble to win the SnG. If I make it to heads up I play a very aggressive style of play as the blinds are so big aggression is key.
That is basically my strategy. It has worked great for the first 500 games on Full tilt but I have not had as much success in the last 500 games. Over 100 games I have kept an ROI of 7% at $10 SnG's and I would like to see that number rise to 15% or better over the next 1000 games. Discuss!