This guide is designed to help you play your first Sit & Go Tournament (or just SnG for short). SnGs are perfect for learning all the various elements of tournament play and also to quickly gain the experience needed to win on a consistent basis. By reading this guide you will know how to play, what to expect, what to look out for and how to bring your opponents down in Sit & Go Tournaments.
A SnG is a tournament that begins as soon as the tournament fills out. And there are always SnGs of all levels available for sign-up on PokerRoom.com. To find all available SnGs look under the Sit & Go tabs in the poker client. All SnGs can be categorized using these two factors:
1. The number of participating players.
Most SnGs are one-table tournaments requiring 10 players to start. Short-handed Sit & Go tournaments, however, only require six participants. But you will also find heads-up (2 people) or two-or-more table tournaments in the future. Then number of participating players also regulates the number of players who actually win money from the Sit & Go.
|10 player SnG||3 Players in the money|
|Short-handed (6) SnG||2 Players in the money|
2. The buy-in and fee.
The buy-in is the amount you contribute to the prize pool. The fee is our commission for running the tournament. So in a ten-player $10+1 SnG each player contributes ten dollars to the prize pool for a total of $100 in the prize pool. On top of that each player also pays a $1 commission. Once you’ve found a SnG that suits you, log-in to that table, pay the buy-in and fee and prepare for battle!
As soon as the last player needed to fill a Sit & Go Tournament registers, the tournament begins with all players receiving an equal amount of tournament chips. The amount varies depending on the tournament. Larger buy-in tournaments tend to feature larger starting stacks than cheaper ones.
Tournament chips have no real value outside the tournament and the values they represent do not in any way represent any eventual winnings from the tournament.
At the start of the tournament the forced blind bets will be very small compared to the number of starting chips. But steadily and relentlessly they will go up putting more and more pressure on players to make a move. A typical Sit & Go Tournament will start with all players receiving 1,500 in tournament chips and blinds starting at 25/50. That’s a lot of chips at first, but as the blinds reach levels of say $100/200 then 1,500 is no longer much at all. And that’s where the thrill and excitement of Sit & Go Tournaments lies. To constantly reviewing how much chips you got in comparison to the ever increasing forced blind bets and act thereafter.
The road to success in Sit & Go Tournaments is actually pretty simple to walk down. It’s all about adjusting your game to the circumstances. Early on you have a lot of chips compared to the forced blind bets. In other words, there is no point in taking foolish risks or trying dumb stunts. Time, at the start of a Sit & Go Tournament, is clearly on your side. But as the blinds kick up and you find your stack diminishing at an alarming rate, time is no longer your ally. The 1,500 stack you started with simply doesn’t look so impressive when the minimum bet is 200. So then you have to start looking for opportunities. Hands that were a sure fold fifteen minutes ago might have a lot of potential now, with players getting scared of big bets risking elimination with every move.
The most nerve-wrecking part of a Sit & Go Tournament is when there are say four players left and only three will make the money. So one more player has to go. And that 4th place finisher will receive nothing but grief. Busting so close to the money is the worst feeling in the world for a tournament player. So a game that was previously quite aggressive might all of a sudden stall as nobody wants to risk busting “on the bubble” (just missing out on the money). This can be a great opportunity to pick up some easy chips, but doing so is of course also very risky.
You’ve made it! You’re in the money!
At this stage, when all players left in the Sit & Go Tournament are guaranteed a profit, the tournament changes pace again. It’s no longer all about survival but instead winning becomes the all-encompassing goal. Playing the player instead of the cards becomes increasingly important as all the remaining players try to outwit, trap, and lure their opponents. Blinds at this stage might well be large enough to take you out in four hands if you do not make a stand. Choosing the right moment to do so is the key to success.
You will of course not master these finer acts of poker treachery immediately, but although you might find yourself beaten to a pulp the first time you are heads-up for the win, then at least you’ll have won enough anyway to give it another go. And when you eventually grab that first victory, seeing all those chips being pushed your way, then you’ll truly know what that winning feeling is all about.
Enjoy the game and see you at the tables!