Winning Sit n Go Poker Strategy

Chapter 5

Visit our other article to get the cliff note cheat sheet for Sit and go poker online.  This article is very long but I promise, if you use this strategy you will start winning in no time.

As we have already discussed, people are extremely wild and aggressive when playing online poker. The fact that they have nothing tangible in front of them makes them almost forget that they are still playing for real money. This is a very great thing for playing in tournaments. The faster players get knocked out the better for you.  Sit n Go’s lessen the risk and you can actually consistently win a lot more playing these tournaments than in cash games.

I believe Dan Harrington is the world’s best tournament player. If you don’t know who Dan Harrington, he is a multi World Series of Poker Winner and seems to place high every time he plays. His statistics in playing big tournaments stand for it self. It is this reason that I have always thought players should try to emulate his style. Dan portrays a tight / aggressive game .  When Harrington bluffs players usually believe he has a monster and will tend to fold.  Let’s go into some examples of Sit and Go strategy.

Sit and Go Ten Players – Buy in $20/2 NL and UP
Playing Ace X Off-suit

Just because you have an ace doesn’t mean you are automatically playing. Ace 6, 7, 8,9,10 off-suit really are not good starting hands. For this reason we try not to play these cards unless we are in late position and it is cheap to limp in. If players fold in front of you and you are in late position you can go ahead and raise with Ace-Ten in hope to pick up the blinds. Let me also remind you that this is early in the tournament. Single aces become much more valuable later in the tournament where bluffing and big bets will secure you large blinds.

Playing Suited Connectors in Sit n Go’s

These cards can become very valuable. You should play these cards. These cards consist of 5, 6 suited, 6-7 suited, 7-8 suited etc. We prefer to limp in with these cards. It is sometimes good to raise with these cards when you feel you are playing experienced players. This will throw off an experienced player if you actually flop something good. He will never know what bit him when you raised pre-flop and you flop a straight.

These cards are only good when it is early in the tournament and the blinds are inexpensive. If you feel the players you are up against are weak players I do not suggest raising with this type of hand. As we stated earlier, most of the players online are amateurs and have no clue as to what is going on. For this reason it would not be beneficial for you to raise because the poor player does not try to figure out what you are raising with anyways. It would be better just to limp in for cheap and hope you flop something.

I am now going to give you a perfect scenario of the biggest pay-off hand you can catch online. You are holding 5, 7 suited. You limp in with two other players.

Players Hand
You “Stud” 5,7 of spades
Opponent “Monkey” A,2 offsuit
2nd Opponent “ATM” J,9 offsuit
FLOP 6s, Ad, 4h

This is an ideal situation against a poor player online. You have an open-ended straight draw and one of your opponents, “Monkey Man” now has two aces. Since Monkey Man is an inexperienced player he will almost always slow play his aces hoping you will bet and he can re-raise. In this scenario both Monkey Man and ATM check in front of you and you check as well hoping to catch a straight for free.

The next card that comes is an eight of diamonds. This is where your heart starts beating out of your chest because you just hit the nut straight with suckers in the hand. Monkey Man finally bets because he still thinks his ace is good. The only thing you have to do is move that cursor to the all in position and click all-in.

You will get the guy who paired his aces to call just about every single time. The moral of this story is that there is no reason to slow play a monster in online poker with an ace on board. Poor players will go to the death with aces.

Playing Small Pairs In Sit and Go’s

Small pairs are also another great hand to just limp in with. We put small pairs in the same category as suited connectors. The best strategy with small pairs is to limp in with these cards. We have agreed that on average we will not call any more than 7% of our stack with a small pair. After that point it becomes too pricy to try and catch two cards to make a hand. Once again if you flop a set with more than three or four people in and an ace on board you better be firing away.

There is no need to slow play because you will get called no matter how much you decide you want from your opponent. The chance of flopping a set is very small but the pay off is very large. That is why we put it in the same category as suited connectors. This is called implied odds of playing a hand like this.

Flush Draws in Sit n Gos

Flush draws can be very tricky sometimes. Unless you have very high suited cards or suited connectors you should NOT play every time you are suited. The chances of flopping a flush are highly against you, but when they are suited or face cards your chances are much higher of winning the hand.

When is it o.k. to draw into a flush after the flop? We don’t suggest drawing into a hand where a lot of people have limped in before the flop and the board comes with a pair on it. Many amateurs aren’t paying attention that a pair flopped and even though they have a flush draw it can still be busted. With so many people playing before the flop it is very likely that someone made a set off that flop.

There is also a good chance that the guy who flopped a set with his rags could possibly make a full house with your flush. This will break you and you will be forced into losing all your chips. It is for this reason that we don’t suggest chasing a flush when the board has paired and there were a lot of pre-flop calls.

Raising in Sit n Go’s

We have played almost every hand possible and it is almost second nature as to what we raise with and how much. In all of our scenarios we try to come to an average and a consensus to what we raise with and how much. Every situation is different and I could write forever on all the situations you will have in your career. We are trying to cover the basics and give you an understanding of how to properly raise.

Raising hands consist of pairs of tens or better pairs. Through our formulas we found that our average raise with these hands is nearly ten to twelve percent of our stack. Remember this is all pre-flop with no raises in front of us. The purpose of this raise is to keep the rats away from catching their scraps. The only time you should limp in with a high pair is when you predict a player acting after you is going to raise and this is where you plan on re-raising.

We also suggest raising with suited face cards such as A, K and K, Q, and A, Q, and A, J. These are very strong hands and are worthy of a raise equal to eight percent of your stack. At this point I would also like to say that if you raise pre-flop and you only get one or two callers you better be betting after the flop. With a high pair or over-cards you are probably still in a dominating position and you will usually force players out with a raise after the flop which is a good thing. If you get re-raised you will then have to rethink the situation.

In these tournaments you just want to pick up average sized pots with your raises and you don’t want a lot of callers no matter what you are holding when you raise. The only time you are going to slow play is when you flop an absolute monster and you don’t think your opponent has a very strong hand. Always keep in mind that you are trying to be as patient as possible. Dan Harrington, a live poker pro, is extremely patient. He sits around and let’s other people fight his battles and before you know it you will be in the money. Playing winning poker isn’t meant to be exciting. It is a long, boring, and patient ride with occasional climaxes with large benefits if you stick to your plan.

So You Have Made It to the Final Four

If you’ve played in Sit and Go tournaments you know what happens at this time. Everyone tightens up because they don’t want to be the next person to lose because all their effort will go down the tube. Boy it sure feels bad to finish just out of the money. That is the reason everyone quits betting all the sudden. When players are playing tight what should you do? I hope you said play aggressive because that means you were paying attention in the previous chapters. Yes, you need to play aggressive.

Sometimes it helps to type in the chat box that there is only one more player left until we make it in the money. This will get them to tighten up even more. Knowing this little bit of information can win you some very valuable blinds by bluffing.

In the Money

Once you make it to three guys we all know what happens next. It becomes an all in spree. There is a lot of luck involved when the blinds are raised so large and there are only three players left. The most effective thing you can do is bet very big with mediocre hands at this point. The only thing you are trying to do is take the blinds in front of you. I see a lot of amateurs who only have one move and it is all in at this point. This isn’t necessarily the best move.

Sometimes just a raise equal to double the blind or slightly more will be just effective at this point. If you’re used to going all in no matter what at this point, try just raising enough to get them to fold. You will still be left with plenty of chips if they call and you can see a flop. If you are pushed all in then you still have an option to fold which is o.k.

Once you make it to heads up play you DO NOT have to go all-in every time. See some flops and play some poker. Going all-in is effective in taking blinds but you don’t have to go all-in every hand. This is a classic mistake we see in amateurs. If I have a mountain of chips there is a pretty good chance that I am going to hit a hand in the next four or five hands so I will just sit a couple of hands and let my opponent make the move for me. This is a good time to slow play a good hand. If you catch aces or king in the hole try slow playing them. Your opponent is almost always going to go all in. This is a great time to slow play good cards.

Hey, look we just won another tournament thanks to smart, tight, but yet aggressive play. Before you knew it most of the players were knocked out and we were in the final three and we made some money. Good job!


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