Beating Sit-and-Gos

Kick back, relax, then hit 'em hard in Sit and Go tournaments. Roy 'The Boy' Brindley talks controlled aggression.

The game isn’t going to last hours, which is perfect if you’ve got a job and/or nagging partner

Last month I armed you with the basic strategies for Hold’em play. This issue I’m going to show you how to grow your bankroll by taking on the single table tournament, or sit-and-go.

It’s a hugely popular format that plays almost identically to the poker which can be seen on television. Shows like Late Night Poker and Sky’s Poker Million sport six people, with equal chips in a tournament format that sees the blinds rise at regular intervals. The game’s the same online, although most sit-and-gos start with ten players, which requires a slightly different tactical approach.

Sit-and-gos are popular for good reason. For starters you know that the game isn’t going to last hours, which makes it perfect if you’ve got a job and/or a nagging partner. Make it to the end of a 10-man sit-and-go and you’re looking at around an hour, maybe more, if you’re sat with tight players, but often less if you get sucked into a loose game where chips are flying everywhere from the off.

In the money

With prizes allocated to the top three finishers (typically 50 percent of the prize money for the winner, 30 percent for second and 20 percent for third), you’ve got a good chance of finishing in the money if you play a solid game. Compare this to the vast multitable tournaments where the returns are much higher but where it’s feasible to go on a winless run for months.

They’re also a safe way to play your poker. In ring games you can haemorrhage cash in a hurry. With a sit-and-go you know exactly how much you’re risking in a single session.

More importantly, though, a lot of poker players simply have a style that’s ideal for the format and reach prize-paying positions with remarkable consistency. Follow the tips (on the right of this page) and that could be you.

Moving On Up

Because fish swim on the higher stakes tables too

You can play sit-and-gos at whatever level you’re comfortable with but when should you make the move up to a higher level? Are you better off playing two $10 sit-andgos, or a single game with a $20 entry fee? Or should you gamble on your ability to win a $10 table and use the proceeds to play a single $50 table?

There’s a generally held misconception that the standard of poker play increases in direct correlation to the cost of the game. Funnily enough, in a lot of cases the opposite is true. People tend to gamble within their means, so that players on low-stakes tables are often unable to lose much, and thus play very well/tight. Conversely, you often find rich folk at high-stakes tables who simply want the buzz of a big game and aren’t bothered by the fact they lose on a regular basis.

It’s worth a trawl around to test out the theory but, clearly, the one thing you do not want to do during your poker-playing career is go broke, so don’t increase your stakes until you’re happy that your bankroll can sustain an unwelcome losing run. It happens to everyone.

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