Why You Should Min-Raise in Sit n Go’s

Whenever I reviewed sit n go hand histories or sweated one of my horses, one of the sit n go strategies I always suggested they try was the min-raise.

Many players don’t agree with the min-raise. The reasons usually fall under the scope of you won’t have any fold equity because it’s so cheap for people to call.

I disagree (obviously) with the naysayers. I know from experience that min-raising works. You just have to know when to do it. It probably helps to know why, too.

When to Min-Raise in a Sit n Go Tournament

One of the keys to min-raising successfully is knowing when to do it.

You don’t want to min-raise until you get to the 100/200 level. The rounds before this, everyone will be deep enough to where a min-raise won’t have that much fold equity. Not only that, but you won’t be stealing nearly as often as you will be in the later stages. In other words, you’ll be playing (fewer) stronger hands that you want to get value for so you can build a big stack. So you’ll definitely want to 3-4x your raises earlier on.

Why Min-Raising Works

Min-raising works for numerous reasons:

  • Most stacks are going to be shallow enough to where you have fold equity. They can’t afford to call you light preflop because too often they’ll have to fold to a c-bet postflop.
  • To random / fishy players, a min-raise looks extremely strong, as if you want action.
  • Players who don’t know optimal strategy tighten up drastically during these stages because stack sizes are either short or near 10-15 big blinds, and depending on the game you’re playing, you might be near the bubble.

The bottom line is that most players don’t know how to adjust during the later stages, nor do they know how to react or interpret a min-raise. So you’ll get more folds than you probably think that you will

That said, I do want to point out that, like always, poker is situational. So if you’re min-raising and you’re not getting folds or you cannot c-bet profitably (you c-bet and have to give up and/or are committed), then you need to change up your strategy. Min-raise for value or raise bigger and make it look like you’re committed. Don’t keep doing the same thing if it’s not working.

How Min-Raising is Profitable

Another benefit to min-raising is that it’s very profitable. After all, you’re risking less to win (more). This will affect you both pre and postflop.

Preflop you’ll notice smaller gains, especially before antes. But they’re still there. For example, say the blinds are 100/200 with no antes. That would put 300 chips in the pot. A min-raise would be 400. If you have to fold, you only lose 100 chips. But if you did a standard 3-4x raise, every time you folded you’d lose 200 to 400 chips. That’s a big difference, especially if you look at how it adds up over the course of a session, week, month, year, etc.

With antes, you’re given a lot more slack. For example, during the same level with antes (25), the pot would be 525. So now with a min-raise you’re now risking less to win the money in the pot. However, if you were to 2.5x you’d nearly break even, and a 3x would put you at risking more than what you stand to win.

The moral of the story? One, min-raising allows you to wager less to earn more, increasing your margins regardless if you win or lose. Two, min-raising is more effective when there are antes.

Dealing With Re-Shoves

Another benefit to min-raising preflop is that you put less money in the pot. This is good because at the later stages of the tournament, the pot is bloated with dead money already due to the blinds and antes (when compared to stack sizes). This makes it extremely profitable for players to re-ship on raises. However, the less money you put in the pot, the worse the odds it is for someone to re-shove on you. So, you’ll have to fold (to re-shoves) less often, giving you more opportunities to steal the blinds. Win-win.

Continuation Bets Are Cheaper

Continuation bets will be the same way. The smaller your bets preflop, the smaller the pot is postflop. That means your c-bets will also be less.

For example, say you bet 600 chips preflop at 100/200 without antes. You got one caller and the blinds folded. The pot would be 1500. A c-bet here would have to be around 1,000 chips. So you’re investing 1,600 chips in this hand. That can be a massive blow to your stack and tournament equity if you end up having to fold.

Now consider this. Say you min-raised instead. There would only be 1100 chips in the pot. A continuation bet here would be around 750 chips for a total investment of 1150 – 450 chips less! That’s a huge difference when you consider that 450 chips can be the equivalent to 10-20% or more of your existing stack

The moral of the story? Min-raising has a positive compounding effect that cannot be ignored.

Use the Min-Raise Wisely

The min-raise works in sit n go’s. I hope you see that by now.

But that’s not the key takeaway, at least not the primary one.

The takeaway here is that using a strategy that others don’t agree with, use or understand is the out of the box thinking that can separate yourself from your competitors, as well as propel your ROI to heights seen by few players at your games and stakes.

But on top of thinking outside the box you also need to know when to use the strategy, which means knowing what opponents to min-raise against, when and how to adjust the strategy when it stops working. Once you get the hang of all of this, I guarantee that you’ll find min-raising to be a massively profitable betting strategy.