If you’re looking to experience some fast-paced poker action and improve your skills at the same time, you may want to consider an online sit and go tournament. This popular option combines the real-money play of a ring game with the attrition and prize structure of a multi-table contest.
For those who are new to the world of Internet gambling, this article is meant to familiarize you with sit n gos online. We’ll cover the basic format of the tournament, all pertinent rules, as well as offering a number of tips to help you come out on top.
What is a Sit and Go Game?
A Sit and Go tournament is also known as an SNG or SitnGo. These games are contested between six and 10 players, and the usual length runs from 20 to 60 minutes. The cost of entry varies from one tournament to another, but they can range from less than $1 to more than $1,000.
The name “sit and go” is derived from the fact that these tournaments begin as soon as all seats at a table are taken. Games fill up fast, which is why most online card rooms have them scheduled in steady succession throughout the day.
In order to enter the tournament, a player has to pay a specified buy-in amount. Just like in a cash/ring game, this amount equals the starting chips for all participants. If, for example, a table requires a $20 buy-in, then each player begins the game with $20 in chips.
Gameplay continues until only one player remains. At this point, the tournament is over and those who finished in the money receive their payout. There are no re-buys in these games; when your stack of chips has been depleted, you’re eliminated from the contest (known as a “freezeout tournament”).
The top three players usually receive a cash prize, although this is sometimes reduced to two in smaller games. In a game where 10 players each contributed $20, for example, the prize breakdown might be something like this: $100 to first place, $60 to second place, and $40 to third place.
In addition to the faster pace of the game, players are put under pressure by the presence of an increasing blind structure. The big and small blinds traditionally rise every 10 hands in a 10-player game, and this has a great impact as the rigors of the tournament begin to whittle away at the stacks. The most noticeable effect is that players are forced to play less-than-optimal hands in the latter stages of the game.
In multi-table tournaments, a player competes at a table until they’re the only one remaining, and then they move to another table where fellow winners have gathered. This continues until the surviving players compete at a final table. While this structure can be found at some sit and go games, most of these tournaments are limited to the players at a single table.
How to Win a Sit n Go Tournament
There are a number of qualities needed to win a sit n go tournament, and don’t forget that luck also plays a factor. While there’s nothing I can do to help with the latter, the following tips should give you a better chance of finishing in the money.
During the early stages of the tournament, it’s wise to adopt a conservative strategy. This means avoiding big chip confrontations whenever possible, and only being aggressive when you have a premium hand. Remember: tight is right in the early levels.
If you’re playing in an early position during a hand, you should be as tight as possible. If you commit money on a weak hand, you could wind up being forced out by the time the betting gets back to you. In a game with such small stacks, the chips you just wasted could wind up costing you dearly.
During the middle stages of a sit n go, it’s recommended that you adopt a more aggressive strategy to put pressure on your opponents and add to your stack. Don’t be afraid to go after small pots, re-raise, go all-in, and steal blinds. Don’t get carried away, though, especially when you have a marginal or speculative hand.
The middle stages are also a good time to remember the “gap concept.” This means you can open the pot more frequently and with more mediocre hands than you can call with.
Keep an eye out for the “money bubble,” which is the phase of the tournament where only four players remain. Once one of these individuals has busted, everyone else is guaranteed of finishing in the money. Use position to your advantage at this point, play aggressive, and try to exploit those with shorter stacks.
In the latter stages of the game, you’re considered short-stacked if your total is six times less than the amount of the big blind. If this happens, you need to work on improving your stack as soon as possible, and the best way to do this is to target other survivors with small stacks.
If you have the misfortune of being short-stacked when only four players remain, there’s nothing wrong with looking for an opportunity to go all-in. You’re likely to get called because of your smaller chip count, so wait until you have a hand that’s well-suited for a showdown.
During the final stages of the game, don’t play too tight. The large blinds are going to erode your stack at an alarming rate, so you’ve got to get in there and do some damage. Open as many pots as possible, and don’t be afraid to re-raise.
No matter what stage the tournament is in, always try to get a feel for your opponents. This is a must in any type of competitive poker game, as it allows you to predict possible behavior and capitalize on it. For example, weak players are prone to fold when raised, while overly aggressive players raise with marginal hands and are less likely to shy away from a bluff.