Basic Sit N Go Tips

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Looking to maximize chances of profiting in the sit and go format? Here are some quick tips to get us raking in the wins as soon as possible. It is very direct and to the point but is written to help with basic understanding behind sit and go strategy for both online and live players.

Tip 1 – Maximizing our average payout is the goal.

This might sound like it’s a no brainer, but many players get this fundamentally wrong. They imagine the goal in tournaments is to win as many chips as possible, the same as in cash games, but this is absolutely not the case.

Tip 2 – Take time to analyze the sit and go structure.

When players think about a sit and go, they typically think of a 9 handed tournament where the top 3 places are paid. While these sit and goes are amongst the most common, sit and goes are actually offered with a wide range of different entrant numbers and prize structures.

The way we approach a 200+ man sit and go will be fundamentally different from the way we approach a heads up sit and go, for example. The way we approach a satellite sit and go will be different from the way we approach a sit and go where the prizepool is more top heavy. We get the idea.

Of course, the comparisons don’t need to end there. Even sit and goes with identical numbers of entrants will often make use of different blind structures and level speeds. Good players will take some time to analyze the types of sit and go they are targeting and construct rough strategies for playing in every stage of the tournament.

Tip 3 – Play tight early on.

Assuming a regular sit and go, we should look to play tight early on. Thanks to ICM considerations (independent chip modelling), doubling our stack in the early stages of a sit and go does not double the value of the stack in terms of real world money.

In other words, chips won do not have the same value as chips lost. As a result, we are absolutely not incentivized to get the stacks in light during the early stages of a tournament. If we are going to put everything on the line, we technically need a stronger hand in sit and goes than we do in cash games (assuming equivalent effective stacks).

Tip 4 – Loosen up as the stacks dwindle.

We can’t continue to play tight for the entire tournament, otherwise we’ll typically get blinded out without reaching the prize pool. As our stack size begins to dwindle, we’ll look to increase our aggression, especially in terms of blind steals.

Once the sack sizes get to the 10bb region and lower, we enter what is referred to as the “push/fold” stage of the sit and go. This is because the best option will usually be to either shove all-in or fold when the action is folded around to us preflop.

Tip 5 – Take Some Time to Learn ICM

We’ll often hear good players throw around concepts such as “ICM” and “ICM pressure”. If we want to truly master sit and go tournaments, we’ll need to spend some time getting to grips with the theory behind such concepts.

When we understand the meaning of “ICM pressure” we’ll get a clearer idea how our default mode of behavior is modelled by i) our stack depth relative to our opponents and ii) the stage of the tournament with respects to jumps in the prizepool.

Having a background in cash games is not enough here. As emphasized, the maths is different for tournaments. It could even be correct to fold AA preflop given certain ICM implications.

The logical starting point is to play around with an ICM calculator online and learn how to run basic ICM calculations.