How To Play a Sit-N-Go Poker Tournament

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There are a number of different tournament options offered by each poker room and by online poker as a whole.  The Sit-N-Go style tournaments are quickly becoming a new player favorite. The format is exactly what it sounds like; these tournaments typically have six to ten players and play like poker pick-up games, starting as soon as enough players sit.

As with any of the many tournament styles, there are a lot of different strategies for how to play and win in a Sit-N-Go.  Of course all strategies are designed to do one thing: win money.  All Sit-N-Go strategies have another basic focus: playing and winning as many tournaments as possible.  Naturally you can’t always win, but having a healthy win to lose ratio will guarantee you always come out ahead.

For this particular Sit-N-Go strategy, the process is broken down to demonstrate the best way to play an individual tournament.  Sit-N-Go tournaments differ from larger tournaments where the play is hard and fast.  In other tournaments, as the blinds increase you have a high risk of getting trapped by aggressive players that want to start narrowing the field.  The one table style of Sit-N-Go promotes a more relaxed pace, making patience a real virtue for successful players.

The relaxed pace does not mean you should have a relaxed strategy.  The ideal Sit-N-Go playing strategy is to be tight with your chips but aggressive with your cards.  This means you are going to be folding a lot over all, and playing hard when you do play a hand.  Many people confuse playing a lot of tournaments with playing a lot of hands.  Sloppy playing will not create a positive win-lose ratio.  In this Sit-N-Go strategy the idea is to stay safe and hold your chips until the end, when the field has been narrowed and the blinds are high.

Why hold back?  Because even as you stay tight, other players will get loose and eliminate themselves.  The tournament is going to be decided in the last rounds, so your primary goal is to stay in the game.  It is ok, even advisable, to play a good hand when you’ve got it, but otherwise this Sit-N-Go strategy is about making the majority of your moves at the end.

By the end of the tournament you have the advantage of knowing the players and their individual styles better.  You are in a better position to play more loosely, as any risks you take now have a much greater payoff.  Other players may be tightening up now as the blinds grow and the stakes get higher.

This is when you make your move, taking advantage of the big blinds by playing hard and fast before the flop.  Go all in early, and most players are unlikely to have a starting hand that is worth the risk.  You can build your stack quickly with a couple pre-flop pots in the end rounds, and have the potential to double it should anyone call your all-in.

As always, the successful use of this strategy depends on your own consistency and your ability to determine when your hand is worth the bet.  To win Sit-N-Go with this theory of play, the idea is to come in like a bear and go out like a bull.