Sit and go poker is the middle of the road alternative to cash games and tournaments. If you appreciate the tournament aspect of poker, but don’t want to get involved in a marathon event, sit and gos are the perfect game to play. While there is not as much money to be made in sit and gos as there once was, it is still a very profitable game. Sit and gos come in many different shapes and sizes, giving players the opportunity to choose exactly what they want to play. The most common SNGs are heads up, 6-max, and full ring. There are also multi-table sit and gos, where the events may carry anywhere from 4, 12, 18, or even 180+ players. Most people tend to consider these particular events tournaments, but SNG strategy will still largely apply.
Beyond the amount if players, there are a number of other variables that play into the variety of sit and gos that are offered by most major poker sites. Though regular speed sit and gos are the most common, there are many players who strictly play the turbo and ultra turbo events. These types of SNGs allow for players to work their way into the money in a relatively short amount of time. Where a normal paced SNG could take an hour to make the money, a turbo might only take 15 minutes. This variety in game availability is one of the primary reasons why SNGs are so popular among the widespread poker community.
Topical sit and go strategy is aimed at players who are looking to understand concepts and theories. For example, knowing the difference between push/fold chances and spots where you should simply raise is a fundamental skill that will allow you to beat sit and gos of all shapes and sizes. Theory is incredibly important in SNG play, but it will definitely vary from type to type. It would be illogical to think that hand selection in heads up events is going to be akin to that of hand selection in full ring games. As beneficial as sit and go theory may be, you will still need to know which ideas apply to your game and which do not.
Sit and go strategy is ever changing, and is one of the reasons why long term winners are increasingly difficult to find. SNGs used to be such that any player who could follow a robotic playing style would be able to post consistent wins, but this is no longer the case. As a result of these changing dynamics, it becomes important to understand how your opponent’s are likely to approach the game, whether or not you feel that they are good players. Understanding proper strategy and theory is not necessarily something that is going to allow you to make changes to your own game, per se. Instead, an understanding of concepts and theory will allow you to better understand what everyone else at the table is thinking. Being one step ahead is always going to give you a significant edge over the competition.
Game and Limit Specific Articles
As mentioned previously, your particular game and limit is going to play a sizable role in the strategies that you choose to apply. You should have a very set way that you play the game depending on the given dynamics involved. Strategy comes in a handful of varieties in SNGs, and it can certainly be a challenge to learn and understand all of them. This is why there are so many players who choose to specialize in one game or another. Just about any well rounded poker player will be able to hold their own in micro stakes full ring sit and gos, but a heads up mid stakes SNG will be much more challenging. If you want to be able to win at every type of sit and go, there is no doubt that you have a long journey ahead of you. The most optimal way to perfect your sit and go skills is to take one type of game and limit at a time.
The limits that you play in sit and gos are very important. The differences in playing styles and overall difficulty will be immediately evident to anyone who moves up or down in stakes. This is the reason why so many players have a difficult time transitioning from the small stakes to the mid stakes, for example. The number of regulars and “grinders” increases dramatically as you move up in SNG limits. Yes, you will see improved skill levels when you move up in levels of any type of poker, but SNGs are noted for their particularly tough, fierce player bases. The game of sit and go poker is largely a mastered art, so you will need to know how to outthink your opponents on those rare occasions where your best play isn’t outlined in advance.
Situational Strategy Articles
Situational strategy in sit and gos is not quite as prevalent as it is in tournaments or cash games. Where a cash game player will need to be able to identify spots to 3-bet light pre-flop, for example, sit and gos are much more streamlined. There is just not as much room for creativity in a SNG, mainly because it is a very much automated game.
Though creativity and aggression tend to be rewarded in most forms of poker, it could easily spell disaster for sit and go players. Now, this isn’t to say that situational strategy is a non-factor when it comes to sit and gos; it just isn’t as vital. Most of your tough spots in a SNG will be very close to break even no matter what play you choose. Speculation is seldom valuable in the vast majority of sit and gos. If you want to be a winner, you should almost always know what the exact right play is in a sit and go. One mistake can easily determine the difference between whether you post a winning or losing session. Consistency is generally rewarded in SNG poker, whereas abstract plays are not.