Sit-N-Go’s are a type of poker tournament that is designed to have a specific number of starting players in it, no more or no less than that number though. They typically range from 6 to 180 players, and have buy-ins that range in price as well. The prize pool is split among the top players in the sit-n-go. For example, a six player tournament pays out the top two, a nine player sit-n-go pays out the top 3, and so on from there. The most popular type of sit-n-go is the nine player tournaments, which pay out top 3. The format for this is normally 50% of the pool going to first, 30% to second, and 20% going to third. So for a $10 buy-in tournament, first place would earn $50, second would earn $30, and third would earn $20.
Sit-N-Go tournament strategy is completely different than most games in poker. You can be very profitable if you learn sit-n-go’s, and in most players’ opinions, they are the easiest type of tournament to learn.
Watch the Blinds
The number of big blinds that you have in a sit-n-go is the most important stat in the entire tournament. Your play should be based off of the number of big blinds that you have 100%. Early in the tournament the blinds will start out at around 10/20 typically, with all players getting 1,500 starting chips (75 big blinds). If you are playing a turbo sit-n-go, the blinds will go up quicker than a regular sit-n-go though. Most players prefer to play turbo sit-n-go’s, as the players tend to go a bit crazier there. In sit-n-go’s, compared to multi-table tournaments, you don’t need to worry about blinds until you are under 10 big blinds. The idea through a sit-n-go is to play tight throughout, and hope to pick up a big hand. If you can double up early in the tournament, then that’s great; but if not then playing late in a sit-n-go is very straight forward.
How To Play The End of a Sit-N-Go
The reason why a lot of players feel that sit-n-go’s are the easiest types of tournament to learn, is because you just play incredibly tight throughout, until you are either short stacked (in terms of big blinds), or make it to the late stages. If you are still at around the 1500 chip mark, and the blinds are over 75/150, then you can consider pushing all in with a strong hand, or just pushing all in with good position. For example, if you are down to 4 or 5 players and have under 10 big blinds, you can push all in with any Ace or pocket pair. Another time to push all in with a short stack is if you are on the button and everyone folded to you, or if you are the small blind and everyone folded to you. Always try to look for spots to either pick up the blinds, or earn a quick double up with a good hand.
Another important thing to remember is to watch the other plays stacks as well. If you have say, 2,000 chips, and the sit-n-go is down to four players, but one player has 1,200 chips; the best play to do is to let him get eliminated unless you get a big hand. The best way to make money at sit-n-go’s is to grind it out until you make the money, that is the whole goal behind these tournaments. On the other side though, if you are the big stack, with more chips than everyone else, and the tournament is down to four players, you should be pushing incredibly wide; with the intention of putting the pressure on all the other players. The other players can only call with top hands in this spot, as they all want to outlast the other and make it into the money. This is a great way to pick up chips and build your stack for when you get in the money as well.
In the Money
Now if you make it into the top three, from there you just need to be looking to get it in with a strong hand. If you are the big stack, continue to put pressure on the other players, but only with good hands such as Ax Kx, all pocket pairs, and around Q/8 and above. If you are the short stack, just try to keep yourself above the 10 big blinds, and shove position pretty wide (suited connectors, any ace, king, queen, pair). From there, just do your best to get your chips in ahead. The more you can get your chips in with the lead, the more often you’ll take down the pot. When it gets down to heads up play, most of the time both players don’t have many big blinds so it turns into a shove fest. Just continue to push with Ax, Kx, pocket pairs, Q/8 or above. Also don’t be afraid to make a call with any ace, most kings, and all pocket pairs.