“Blending Stakes” – Moving Up In Sit and Go Stake Levels

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There’s another article on the site that describes the basics to bankroll strategy for sit n go players. I recommended a 50 buy-in guideline for any sit n go (scroll down for foreshadowing: blending stakes!), which should then be tweaked based on how well you play, what games/stakes/variations you play and your goals.

But then it hit me — once you get the hang of bankroll management and start to profitably play sit n go’s with some consistency, the next thing that will come to mind is, when do I get to move up?

And for most players, myself included, we don’t just want to move up in stakes. We want to move up in stakes quickly, as fast as we can.

And I have just the trick for you.

The Plan: Blending Two Different Stakes

PPI Poker StakingCommon advice to players when asked about moving up is to wait until you have 50 to 100 buy-ins for the next level.

But doing it this way is very slow. Too slow for most players.

Another option is to take shots. Instead of waiting until you have 50 buy-ins to move up, you can take a shot when you have roughly 10 or 15 buy-ins for the level you want to try.

The problem with this method is that if you don’t run and/or play well, you’ll burn through those 10 to 15 buy-ins. Then you’ll have to go back to your current stakes again until you can save up enough to do it again. This process reminds me a lot of a yo-yo — just up and down. It’s almost just as much luck as it is skill when you finally take a shot and it sticks.

My plan eliminates both of these problems — it’s fairly quick, and it’s more likely to stick on your first shot or two. It’s not perfect, but it’s worked for me, my peers and students.

What I suggest you do is to blend stakes.

What the Heck is “Blending Stakes?”

Blending stakes is playing two different buy-ins at the same time. For example, if you were currently playing the $3 games, and you wanted to move up to the $6s, you would start off by loading some $6 games with your $3s.

One reason why you should give this plan a shot is because it appeals to your inner impatient sit n go grinder. No longer do you have to wait for 50 or 100 buy-ins before moving up. You can give this plan a shot as soon as you have 60 or 70 buy-ins at your current level. For example, if you wanted to blend the $6 games with your $3s, you can definitely try that once you hit $200 to $225 or so.

The other reason why I like this strategy is that it’s much stickier than just taking a shot. As I mentioned above, taking a shot can result in lots of ups and downs, depending a lot on how much variance is in your favor.

However, by taking this approach to moving up in stakes, you can adjust your ratio of games (for example $3s to $6s) to suit your confidence level, how well you’re adjusting to the new games, and more importantly, your bankroll. If you’re running bad, do a 70/30 blend in favor of your current stakes. If you’re running and/or playing well, then increase the ratio to 50:50 or 40:60. Doing it this way will give you more time at your new stakes, which will increase the chances of getting and staying there.

And before you ask, there is no guideline or hard and fast rule for when to start doing this. It’s up to you. As soon as you have a sample that shows you’ve been profitable for a while, and you have confidence that you can play on next level up, then give it a shot.

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Remember, Common Sense Goes a Long Ways

I mention this because a little bit of common sense will help you to figure out when the time is right — when you should try to blend stakes, what stakes to blend and when you can finally move up for good.

Common sense will also tell you when blending stakes is not working, or when you’re just not ready for the next level.

In other words, blending stakes isn’t an excuse not to move down or to play stakes that are clearly above your roll. If you’re not cutting it at the higher stakes, or you’re facing a bit of bad luck, it’s in your best interest to move down — and you know it. So don’t forget it.

And besides, even if you do have to stop blending stakes for a bit, using this plan will mean that you get to try the next level up again very, very soon.