90-Man KO Turbo Walkthrough

I’m a big fan of Full Tilt Poker’s 90-man knockout sit n goes. These are very soft games, so there is good money to be made between the bounties and payouts once you know what you’re doing.

The idea behind this article is to get you to that point. I’m going to walk you through a 90-man KO from start to finish. This will be a very basic guide just covering the important stages of a 90-man and what I would do in each in a best case scenario. And although this is primarily for the 90-mans on FTP, you should be able to take this and apply it to other 90-mans with a few adjustments.

Overview of Our 90-Man Strategy

Our strategy for 90 man knockouts isn’t going to be all that different from any other sit and go tournament. In the early stages we’re going to want to stay tight because the blinds are not worth going after. Not only that, but the pots at the micro to small stakes are almost always multi-handed, so raising preflop and c-betting the flop won’t be that effective. It’ll just be expensive.

One thing worth pointing out about our strategy in the 90-mans is that the bounties will affect some of your decisions. However, you don’t want to make the mistake of putting so much weight into them that you make super thin or even bad plays to pick them up. Bounties should compliment your winnings and/or ROI, but they won’t ever take the place of actually going for a top 3 cash.

Now, our goal leading up to the final table should be to collect roughly 30,000 chips, or about 11% of the total chips in play. You can make the final table with less, but if you do you won’t have the stack needed to abuse players, steal the blinds or anything that isn’t open shoving or raising with the intent to call a shove. So 30k is a good number to shoot for.

The last thing that I want to point out is that the final nine players cash. As it holds true for all turbo sit and go tournaments, the payout structure is very top-heavy. So you want to do everything that you can to finish in the top three. Taking a smaller cash just won’t be worth your time.

So, with all of that said let’s go ahead and jump right into the early stages.

Early Stages of the 90-Man

I consider the early stages to be the levels 15/30 to 100/200. Pretty much any level before antes.

My 90-man early-stage strategy is going to be identical to my strategy for 180-man sit and go tournaments. The only real difference is that in a 90-man knockouts we are starting with 3000 chips instead of 1500. So we more implied odds (we can over limp suited connectors and aces more profitably).

My opening range for the early stages of a 90-man is going to be opening with all of my pocket pairs, KQ+ and AT+. In the lower stakes I will raise KQ+ and AT+ and I’ll usually limp my pocket pairs. In the higher stakes I will open-raise my pocket pairs. The reason why I don’t raise them in the micros is that you’ll usually get a lot of callers, so you can’t c-bet profitably. So it’s just more cost effective to setmine.

I also will over-limp suited connectors and suited aces and kings. I do this because most players, even up to the $12 or $24 level, are bad enough to go broke with a weak top or middle pair hand. Keep in mind that if you do over limp suited connectors or aces that unless you have a draw, top pair and a draw or two pair or better, that you should play a small pot, if not fold your hand entirely to any action.

And unlike many of the smaller table sit n goes, I do recommend going broke with AK and even AQs. We have to build our stack, and players will get it in with much worse, so there’s no reason not to do it.

Last — in terms of betting, in the beginning of the early stages I’ll do a full 3x, then 2.5x at 30/60 and min-raises starting at 100/200.

90-Man Sit n Goes: The Middle Stages

The middle stages of a 90-man knockout is when there are antes; so about the 120/240/25 level. The final table bubble will start around the 800/1600 level.

Your strategy during the middle stages will vary quite a bit. For example, if you have yet to play a hand by now, you’ll have around 8-12 big blinds. If your stack is 15 big blinds or less, than you should be in push/fold mode.

However, assuming you have a workable stack of 20 or 30 big blinds then what I try to do during these stages is chip up. Remember, we want to hit that 30k mark. So, I steal the blinds as often as I can get away with it and I will reshove on loose-passive players that I know will open/fold a lot. This is extremely profitable, especially since the pots with antes included will make up 10 to 20 percent of your stack, or more.

It’s also during the middle stages that you’ll want to look for opportunities to isolate short stacks — not just to build your stack, but to pick up the occasional bounty. Picking up bounties can often times cover your buy-in, so you’re free rolling the sit n go. Just remember that other players will go after the bounties too. Don’t get too caught up in fighting the players for the bounties, but try to recognize which players are going after the bounties (and don’t have a hand) and those that are and do. These can be great opportunities to bet for thin value — so you get a huge pot plus the bounty!

That’s pretty much it for my middle stage strategy. The idea during this stage is to try to build our stack so that we can abuse the final table/money bubble and all but secure a top three money finish.

Final Table + Money Bubble

The final table / money bubble of a 90-man is my favorite part of the game. The reason being is that most players that are going to be at the final table are going to be your run-of-the-mill random player. The play a couple times a week and they hardly ever reach this stage of the tournament. So they are hell-bent on making the final table and cashing. Note that I said cashing and not winning. This is the mentality that we want to exploit.

The best way to do that is to raise frequently. Do this by stealing the blinds with a wide range of hands. If it will flop well or is easy to play post flop, open it up. Again, if you tend to go broke with bottom pair no kicker then don’t bother. Adjust this advice to fit your playing style.

But stealing the blinds is very effective during the final table bubble because most players will fold all their garbage and only play hands that will flop well (think aces, pairs and suited connectors like JT). The bonus is that c-betting is massively profitable here since these guys will flat and build a huge pot, only to fold to a 1/3 pot c-bet. So believe me when I tell you that it’s very profitable to be loose/aggressive at this stage.

I also recommend 3-betting and reshoving relentlessly. For the same reason as above, you’ll get folds from the absolute garbage and even suited connectors in the case of a shove, and when they do call they’ll just fold to more action unless they actually have a hand. HUD stats will help you a lot here.

When there are only one or two players left before everyone is moved to the final table, this is when I am at my most aggressive. Maybe too (loose) aggressive. But what can I say, it works. Just make sure that you choose your spots well — look for weak-tight or weak-passive players instead of LAGs and regs.

90-Man Final Table

The final table is difficult to provide a walk-through for. The reason being is that you might reach the final table as a short stack, medium stack or you might reach the final table with 1/3 of the chips in play. This will effect your strategy. On top of your own stack size, you need to factor in your opponents (are they regs or randoms), their stack sizes and position/stack size in relation to yours. So all of these variables makes it difficult for me to give you a strategy.

The one thing I will say is this. If you are a short stack and you hit the final table, I would do everything that you can to shove and build your stack. Try to find stacks that would be taken out or would only have a couple of blinds left if they were to call you and lose, and try to shove into them versus guys who can make lighter calls.

You also want to keep in mind that you have less leverage or fold equity on the final table compared to the bubble. Players are already in the money, so they aren’t thinking about a top two or three finish. In their minds they already won. So you’ll want to scale back on the table abuse and blind steals.

You will also want to be aware of stack sizes to your left anytime that you decide to open a hand. About 3-6 players will be short (15-ish big blinds), which is a perfect stack to shove after someone opens. So don’t open unless you can make a call, or you know that a player is extremely tight and won’t reshove on you often. And I don’t care what anyone says, if you do open and get reshoved on, don’t feel compelled to make the call just because you have good odds. Just fold, save your chips and take a note.

Other than that, just play your final table game and if you have any questions just stick to ICM. If you can, pick up a few bounties along the way — they’ll definitely add to the good money that you can make playing these 90-mans on FTP.