The 10 Most Common Leaks for SNG Players

When it comes to sit n go, I’ve had experience as both a player and a coach. Something that I’ve noticed is that most beginner players tend to have the same leaks. Here are 10 that I feel are the most common with beginning SNG players.

1. Lack a Push/Fold Strategy

Nearly all sit n go players starting out lack a push/fold strategy. However, this is one strategy that is a must to learn. It’s a basic fundamental of sit n go’s..

When short stacked, what most beginners will do is just try to wait to find a better spot or a better hand to go all in with. However, I found that these spots usually never come. Then what happens is that these players end up blinding down to where they have no fold equity left. They are then forced to take any two cards and go all in, crossing their fingers and hoping for the best.

I understand why most players do this. It’s not natural to shove hands like J8s or 56s. But if you want to become a good player, much less a profitable one, then it’s very important for you to learn proper push/fold strategy.

There are a number of ways to do this. What I suggest doing is buying and playing with SNG Wizard and participating in forums such as 2+2 and PTP. Once you get the basics down, you’ll notice your ROI increase significantly, as well as your bankroll.

2. Play the Bubble Passively

Another common mistake made by sit n go beginners is that they play the bubble way too passively.

I understand why. You don’t want to play for an hour or two, or more, only to make a mistake and then bust on the bubble.

It sucks, I know. But in order to be a very good and profitable sit n go player, you need to learn how to be more aggressive on the bubble. This means stealing the occasional blinds, re-shoving ATC and abusing the bubble. If you are uncomfortable with any of these strategies, then just learn one at a time. Once you get good at them, you’ll wonder how you ever made money without them.

3. Miss the “Any Two Card” Spots

A good example of an any two card (ATC) spot would be like blind versus blind or re-shoving on the bubble when someone opens. These are spots where players are the most exploitable and are very profitable in the long run.

Just like the push/fold strategy, though, shoving with ATC is very unnatural and uncomfortable for players. For example, SNG Wiz will tell you to shove hands like 98o blind versus blind.

It’s important to understand, however, that the spots are ATC because players cannot call with a wide enough range for these shoves to be unprofitable. As uncomfortable and unnatural as they may feel, just know that in the long run you will make a lot of money taking these spots.

4. Overplay AK

Another common mistake that most beginner sit and go players make is that they overplay AK. They treat it like it’s a pair of pocket aces or pocket kings, instead of the unmade hand that it really is.

Most players who tend to overplay AK usually go all in pre-flop with it. This adds a lot of variance to your game since AK is no better than 55% or 60% to win. A much better approach is to try to take AK post flop, so that if you happen to miss or you’re playing against a tougher opponent and miss, you can give up and keep some of your stack. And of course when you hit the flop then you can extract as much value as possible for your hand since most fishy players will go broke with weaker kings.

5. Results Oriented

Here is an example of results oriented thinking:

Say a player from early position decided to raise and you look down and see A6s. You fold, then on the flop you see that you would have flopped a flush. Instantly you think to yourself, wow, I should have played that hand because I would’ve flopped a flush.

This is one example of what results oriented thinking is.

The biggest problem with results oriented thinking is that it often interferes with your strategy. For example, a shove with J9s from the cutoff when you have seven big blinds is a standard play. However, if you’re called and you lose, you might think otherwise — you might second guess yourself. This type of thinking prevents you from taking profitable spots.

I’m sure you can see how self-destructive being results oriented is. I’ve even known players to fold pocket queens preflop because they’ve said they always seem to run into pocket aces, kings or AK and get out flopped.

6. Play Too Many Tables

Another leak that beginners have is that many of them play way too many tables at once. If you’re an experienced sit n go player, this isn’t that big a deal. It really comes down to your goals and what you want to achieve as a poker player.

However, as a new player, you’re still learning the basic fundamentals of winning sit n go strategy. You have to focus on players ranges, their stack sizes, the different stages of the game and implementing everything correctly. I’ve found from experience that most players who do not have the basics down, yet choose to play more than 8, 10 or maybe 15 tables at a time usually are breakeven players at best, and that’s including rakeback.

New players should focus more on quality than quantity and stick to 4, 6 or 8 tables at a time. Then as they improve add 1 to 2 tables at a time.

7. Lack Volume

As a poker player you’re essentially self-employed. It’s up to you to motivate yourself to play.

This is a big leak for many players though, both beginner and experienced. Beginners either become complacent, they’re too scared to play in fear that they’ll lose money or they’re just flat-out lazy. It doesn’t take a genius to see that fitting into any one of these camps isn’t going to be profitable long-term.

Now this isn’t to say that players should play a ton or when they don’t want to, because some players do not play well when they’re forced to. However, to some extent, being self-employed sometimes means that you do things that you don’t necessarily want to or when you don’t want to. If you’re playing for fun, then it’s not that big of a deal. But if you’re playing to pay your bills or to eventually turn poker into a full-time gig, then you want to get into the habit of putting in good volume. This will depend on the game type that you choose a play, but a good goal to shoot for is between 50 and 100 games per day.

8. Don’t Participate in Forums or in Group Chats

Forums and group chats on Skype are great ways for players to improve. You can post hand histories, talk about specific spots, situations or opponents, and just get overall feedback on the way you play.

It really blows my mind that many players don’t take advantage of these resources. Especially considering that they’re free. All you need to do is post a hand and let people comment on it. If you’re afraid of people ripping your hands to threads, then you’ll just have to get over it. It’s without a doubt one of the most fastest ways to improve your game.

9. Don’t Study With SNG Wiz or Poker Stove

For some players, the problem isn’t so much that they don’t put the volume in, but that they don’t allot any of their time for reviewing hand histories.

It’s very important that you study with SNG Wiz and Poker Stove, if you don’t do so already. These tools will help you develop the fundamentals that will help you excel in sit n go tournaments, larger MTTs and even cash games. Learning different ranges and how profitable one range or hand is against another is something that you’ll use for the rest of your poker career.

If you’re new you should spend at least half of your time studying and the other half playing. As you get better you can spend less and less time studying, but it’s something that you should never remove from your day-to-day regimen. Almost every good player studies on a regular basis.

10. Rigid Style of Play

When I say rigid style of play, I mean sticking to a strategy that is considered standard, that’s taught in most strategy videos and forums online. As a beginner, sticking to a rigid or standard style of play is ok. It’s clearly effective since everyone uses it. However, the sooner you can develop a flexible or creative style of play, the more profit you will see, and the faster you’ll see it.

For example, my old coach taught me to min-raise during the late stages of a sit and go. The reasoning behind this strategy is so that when your played back at you can still fold and have a stack to work with. If you win a pot, you did so with less money. Min-raising simply gives you the opportunity to be more aggressive, which few players are able to adjust to..

That’s just one example though. And the thing is, that many players will hear this strategy and scoff at it, even though they’ve never tried it. But it’s these players that don’t have an open mind that are the ones that will lose out on the extra profits in the long run.