Sit and Go Strategy Guide – Early Rounds

Sit and Go Tournaments – Early Round Strategy

The secret to winning Sit and Go tournaments is resisting the urge to be too aggressive during the beginning phase of the tournament. Without a solid early round SNG strategy, you risk crippling your stack or even being knocked out, killing your chances of winning the tournament. Many players in the low level SNG tournaments are very loose and predictable, so the game is relatively easy to beat, as long as you stick to a winning SNG Tournament Strategy Guide that you know works.

Be sure and read Parts 2 and 3 of our Sit and Go Tournament Guide:


Early Stages Sit n Go Strategy

The early part of SNG tournaments is all about stack management. You want to pay close attention to the blinds and how quickly they’re increasing in size, who the weaker players are at the table, and the players you shouldn’t tangle with, to avoid losing any big pots that can potentially cripple your chip stack.

Playing Tight Early

During the early parts of a Sit and Go the blinds are really small in relation to stack sizes. Adopting tighter pre-flop starting hand requirements works better, because stealing dead money when the blinds are still small is not really a priority, and won’t have a huge impact on the outcome of the tournament.

By not playing too many hands, when you hit the flop, you will typically hit the flop pretty hard, allowing you to win some sizable pots. Remember in sit and Go’s, image can be everything and by developing a tight image early, you are more likely to win with the worst cards, and win bigger pots when you have real hands.

Watch the action and get reads on players

For the most part, though, early on the main aim is to observe the other players to get a feel for their playing styles. Getting involved in really big pots in a fairly readless situation is just a losing proposition in the long run when you only have a marginal hand and your facing resistance. Therefore, by playing tight at the beginning of a SNG tournament, it gives you the ability to look for spots where you are more then just a slight favorite to safely double up.

Raise your big hands but be ready to let go

Open raising pre-flop with premium hands such as medium to big pock pairs and AK will win nice sized pots to build up a stack. Since you raised before the flop, it will allow you to gain initiative in the hand post-flop, giving you the ability to take down pots even when you miss on the flop because the other players will probably figure you have a strong hand.

While the blinds are still relatively small, tournament pre flop play is really not much different to cash game poker, and you can be limping in with hands like suited aces, suited kings, suited connectors and low pocket pairs to try and see a flop cheap. You really want to flop a big hand and not get attached to your hand when you only catch a piece of it and your opponent is betting into you, suggesting they likely have your kicker beat. In limped pots early on in tournament, make sure you just fold to any reasonable sized raise as you are no longer getting the implied odds to make the call.

Don’t Chase unless you have the pot odds

If you happen to flop a draw, don’t chase it all the way until the river unless you are getting the right odds to call. While it would be great to hit your draw and take down a big pot, the main aim is conserving your chips at the moment, so you definitely don’t want to be burning a lot of chips when you miss hitting your draw and your opponent makes another big bet on the turn.

Generally, however, the weaker players will sort each other out, and you’re just waiting for a few loose players to knock themselves out. Before you know it the tables will have reduced and you will only have to beat the remaining players left in the field. If you have protected your chip stack by looking for spots to safely double up and generally just avoiding any trouble, you will head into the middle round and late stage of the tournament with every chance of winning it.