Sit and Go Strategy Guide – Middle Rounds
Sit and Go Strategy Guide – Middle Rounds Play
Hopefully you’ve reached the middle rounds of a SNG tournament with some chips to play with. Having reached this stage of the tournament, it now requires that you switch gears from playing tight to being loose and aggressive so that you’re the one who is dictating the terms of the game.
As we mentioned in Part 1 of our Sit and Go Tournament Guide, Image is everything! If you start out the SNG Tournament playing a lot of hands, raising a lot, or if you are playing tight, the experienced Sit-n-Go players will notice this. So the image you set for yourself in the Early rounds are crucial. So be aware of how YOU are being labeled by other players. If you’ve been playing a tight game up until this point, your raises will get more respect and it will allow you to take down a lot of pots uncontested, so make sure to take advantage of your table image.
Middle Round Sit and Go Strategy
With the increased blinds much bigger in relation to stack sizes there is a lot more dead money in pots, and a lot more incentive to win this money. Simply playing tight ABC poker is not going to allow you to gain any momentum during the middle rounds of a SNG tournament. The problem with being patient and playing your cards instead of the situation is that you are not getting premium hands that often, and if you’re just waiting for a big hand, you are losing out on so many opportunities to add chips to your stack.
Open Up Your Hand Range
Typically, opening up your game and raising more hands is a good strategy in the middle rounds. Never limp into pots always come in with a raise, and if the action is folded around to you, look to target tight players in the blinds. Many players will not defend their blinds unless they have a premium hand they can defend it with, since they will be out of position in the hand with a marginal hand.
There will also be a lot of players who are simply trying to survive until the bubble bursts, so you can pick on the overly tight players that seem to be folding every hand close to the bubble. Do NOT be one of those players. These are the players that good players pick on. If you are so concerned with placing just in the money, then you need to be playing lower stakes. You must be willing to lose in order to win.
Middle Rounds – Blind Play
When playing in the blinds, you don’t want other players to perceive you are a push over, so you will sometimes want to defend your own blind, especially against players who you expect are blind stealing but tend to play fairly straight forwardly and fold when they miss on the flop.
Something to consider when playing from the blinds, is that you are not going to make a hand that often, so only winning these hands when you hit is obviously not going to be a profitable strategy. If you do happen to call in the blinds, you should be looking to make plays by taking advantage of the old “donk bet”, which basically refers to leading out on the flop even when you miss on the flop. This can be a good play if you expect the flop to have also missed your opponent, and thus the pot is up for grabs to whoever wants it most.
If you are not making plays like this and simply choosing to check/fold every time you call and miss when playing from the blinds, it will only be burning chips, which you can ill afford in the middle rounds of a SNG.
Although you generally want to be adopting a raise/fold strategy when entering a pot, there is a lot to be said for open limping in late position when you have a marginal/premium hand. The lack of initiate having not raised pre-flop is compensated by having position in the hand. This positional advantage will allow you to better identify where you’re at in the hand, as well as giving you the ability to steal a lot of pots when your opponents check it around to you, which usually suggests weakness.
Attention To Stack Sizes
One of the most important aspects that influence your middle round strategy in SNG tournaments is the depth of your stack at any give table. If you have a short stack with let’s say 10 times the big blind, you are waiting to hopefully get a decent hand and are in shove/fold mode.
With an average sized stack, playing the situation is far more important then your own cards. Due to fairly shallow stacks, you can’t expect to play a lot of post flop poker, and instead should be focusing on accumulating lots of small pots when the opportunities present themselves. If you are in the fortunate position of being the big stack at the table, you can be a bit more creative with more chips you can risk to play more speculative hands to bust out the other players.
All in all, if you are finding safe spots to accumulate more chips it will allow you to build a big stack heading into the end game of the tournament, and that is an ideal situation to be in to give yourself every chance of winning the tournament.