45-Man Turbo Sit n Go Walkthrough

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45-man sit n go’s are a good tournament to play.

For one thing, there’s an opportunity to garner a high ROI, which means that if you’re able to play enough tables, you can earn a nice hourly rate. 45-mans only take about 1hr to 1hr 15 minutes to complete. With a 10% ROI at the $30 games, you could average $30-$60 per hour 10 to 20 tabling.

The other reason why I like 45-mans is because there is a decent balance between skill and luck. 45-mans are big enough tournaments where you do need to race for your tournament life and get lucky in order to win. However, you still need to understand the basics of push/fold and general sit n go strategy in order to be profitable long term. All-in-all, they’re a good tournament for both novices and advanced players.

So, if you’re new to 45-mans and would like to give them a shot, I’ve created a walkthrough of the tournament below, from start to finish. It won’t turn you into a winning player, but at the very least it should shorten the learning curve.

Overview of Our 45-Man Strategy

I approach 45-man sit n go’s similarly to other turbo sit n go’s.

In the beginning my strategy is to stay tight so that I can build fold equity. As the tournament progresses, stacks get shorter and antes come into play. My strategy then changes to opening a wider range of hands so that I can build a stack for the final table.

And building a stack for the final table is important. 45-mans have a top heavy payout structure, so just barely squeaking into the money will hurt your ROI in the long run. Here is the payout structure so that you can see what I mean:

  • 1st – 35%
  • 2nd – 25%
  • 3rd – 16%
  • 4th – 8%
  • 5th – 7%
  • 6th – 5%
  • 7th – 4%

You don’t want to play for an hour only to make a min-cash. It’s not worth it. So this means that towards the end of the tournament, before we hit the final table, we want to be more aggressive. We’ll take advantage of the fold equity we built by staying tight early on by stealing more blinds and abusing the other players trying to make the final table.

Ok, so that’s the overall strategy. Let’s look at each stage in more detail.

Early Stages of a 45-Man

The early stages of the tournament would be the levels 10/20 to 50/100. Just a couple of levels before antes are in play.

Our strategy for these stages should be to play it tight. At 10/20 we have 75 big blinds, and with 30 chips in the pot before hands are dealt, there just isn’t enough dead money to justify us getting carried away. In other words, 30 chips only makes up 2% of our stack, so getting involved in pots will only do more harm than good.

The hands I play in 45-mans are identical to the ones I listed in my 18-man guide — I play all pocket pairs, KQ and AT+.

If there are enough limpers in the pot, I will also over limp hands like suited connectors and aces. But if you’re not good enough to let a hand like top pair go or you call gut-shot straight draws, then don’t bother. I only play these hands because they can flop big and get me paid off in a multi-way pot. But if I miss a big hand (usually 2 pair or better), I dump it.

The only other difference between my 45-man strategy and 18-man is that I do stack off with AK, even in the early stages. If you want to make the final table with a workable stack, you’ll need to build your stack to 15,000 or so. You can get away with less, but 15,000 is about 15% of the chips in play — plenty enough to help you maneuver around the final table. The bottom line is that you’ll need to flip or get lucky several times to get to that point, so stacking off with AK is fine by me.

Overall, my goal for the early stages is to give everyone the impression that I’m a nit. This will build our fold equity which we’ll use later, either to shove as a short stack or to abuse the table as we near the bubble.

Middle Stages

I would classify the middle stages of a 45-man to be the 75/150 level to about 400/800 — just right before the final table bubble. Your strategy here is really going to depend on how healthy your stack is. Because at the 75/150 level, your stack is around the 8-10 big blind mark, assuming you didn’t play a hand.

If you are a short stack, definitely don’t wait to shove. I can’t tell you what hands to shove and when, because that would be an article all on it’s own. But I do want to stress that if you’re short, get your stack in. And get wide — if you play 18-mans, your shoving range in a 45 should be a little wider. If you play 180-mans, then use the same range.

Now if you’re not short, I do suggest opening up your range a little bit to pick up some pots. I’ll open up suited aces and kings to steal, but even if I’m called I’ll have a hand to play. One thing that you want to be careful of are short stacks at the table, especially with antes. Whenever someone opens there will be enough dead money at the table for them to reshove. It can put you in a lot of gross spots, so you’ll want to be aware of the players capable of reshoving and preferably what hands they show up with. Then just adjust your opening range (or your calling range when they shove) as necessary.

Speaking of reshoving — you’ll want to reshove too when the opportunity presents itself. This is a great way to quickly build your stack for the final table bubble.

45-Man Final Table Bubble

The final table bubble of a 45-man is going to be around the 400/800 level, although this can vary depending on how quickly players have busted up to this point.

The final table bubble can be a tricky part of the tournament. There is a lot of stress and tension as no one wants to bust 4-5 places outside of the money. So you want to use this to your advantage.

Even as a short stack you can do this. I usually get super wide if I’m short, and try to make shoves into players with average sized stacks. These are the guys that have enough chips to make it to the final table, but not enough chips to call you light. So if you’re short, try to find and shove into these guys. Avoid players who you know to spite call or that have deep stacks that can afford to call you light.

If you have an average sized stack, you’re a little better off. But you can’t expect to sit on your hands and make it to the final table. Since you’ll be 5-6 handed, the blinds will go through you at a quicker rate of speed, chipping away at your stack. If you’re not careful, you’ll be short before you know it. Also, if you’re thinking about stealing the blinds, you’ll want to look to the left and make sure none of the players are good enough, or short enough, to exploit you by reshoving.

The best case scenario is to have a big stack. Use this, and the fear your opponents have of busting on the bubble, to your advantage. Unless you have reads (or HUD stats that suggest otherwise, I would shove the majority of your hands, and reshove on players who want to try to steal the blinds.

Ultimately, our goal for this stage is to build a stack that we can throw around on the final table. I would aim for 10k minimum, and 20k would be great since it would be about 1/3 of the chips in play. Anything less than 5-7k and you’ll struggle.

Final Table & Money Bubble

The final table is going to (roughly) be the levels 600/1200 to 1500/3000. Other than a few pointers, there’s not a whole lot I can say about this stage of a 45-man because what happens will vary greatly on your stack size, your opponents (are they fish or regs), their stack sizes and where they are seated around you. Every final table is truly different because of all these variables.

So with that in mind, I want to remind you that only the top 7 are paid. So if you’re a short stack, you need to get wide here if you want any chance of making the money. I would avoid shoving into deep stacks if you can help it, and instead shove into players that could be taken out or would put them at risk if they called you. The only time you should sit on your hands is if there are players much shorter than you that are sitting to your right. That means they’ll go through the blinds first, so could squeak out a min-cash. But I’d only do this if you’re too short to have any fold equity.

As an average stack, you’re going to want to stick pretty close to ICM. I wouldn’t tangle with the big stacks if you can help it, and I’d avoid isolating short stacks unless you have a good grasp on their ranges. Just try to find players that you can exploit, either by reshoving or stealing the blinds. This will be the best way to chip up to give yourself a chance at a top 3 payout.

As a large stack, I would try to abuse players as much as possible while there are 8 and 9 players left. You’re on the money bubble here, and players will want to make the money at all costs — so use this to your advantage. Because once the bubble bursts, players ranges will open up again, and you’ll have to pick your spots carefully so that you don’t put too much of your stack at risk.

Other than those points above, just use some common sense and refer to ICM if you find yourself in any questionable spots.