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Learn a Winning SNG Strategy in 5 Minutes

7 May 2010, By: Pokerjunkie.com
Someone once said that he could teach a monkey to become a winning sit-and-go player. Although that might be an exaggeration, sit-and-gos are probably the easiest poker variation to learn. Here's a 5 minute lesson on a winning strategy.

Early stages

In the early stages of a sit and go you should mostly play premium hands. If you're in late position with a suited connector, and it's called to you, you might as well call and see a cheap flop. But apart from that, stick to high pairs, AK and AQ, in early position; add mid pairs AJ and AT to your range in mid position and add low pairs, KQ, KJ, and maybe KT, QJ, QT and JT in late position. Always aim to be the first raiser when you enter a pot.

If someone raised before you pre-flop, only re-raise with the absolute premium hands. If someone has raised and you're torn between calling and folding, the latter is probably the best option.

Also, don't get too creative if you miss the flop. Of course you can make a continuation bet or two if you've raised pre-flop and missed, but generally you want to have something good to proceeded with a hand.

Mid Stages

In the mid stages, when the blinds have gone up a bit and, say, two or three players have been eliminated, you want to loosen up your game a bit. Now your game plan is decided by size of your stack.

1. Big Stack: If you have doubled up your original stack or more, you can almost stick to the early-stage game plan. However, in late position you can take advantage of your stack size/position and put pressure on the blinds with somewhat weaker starting hands. But you don't want to start calling raises with bad aces and hands like KT and don't start donking off chips because you "feel like you can afford it."

2. Small Stack: If you have the starting stack or less, you want to start making some moves. The key is to start pushing some chips around before you're down to so little that everybody around the table expects you to go all-in with a random hand.

Again, there's no use in calling with semi-weak starting hands, but you could start putting pressure on compulsive raisers and re-raise with (almost) anything as long as you have enough chips that you give the original raiser an option to fold. Also, you can widen you range a bit when it comes to hands you raise with pre-flop, especially from mid and late position. Add all aces, the best kings and high connectors like T9 to your range.

But on the other hand, if you enter a pot, most of the times you must be prepared to go all the way. If you raise-fold a couple of times, you'll probably be down to only a few big blinds.

The mid stage is where you need to start collecting chips if you haven't done so already.  Remember, it's better to risk going out with the chance of doubling up compared to blinding yourself to the rails.

End Game

When there are four players left, start raising a lot. With small stack you're forced to do so, and with a large stack, you can pick up a lot of pots by attacking the smaller stacks. People are afraid to go out on the bubble, you shouldn't be, exploit the situation instead.

When there are three players left it's full throttle. If your opponents are weak, raise every other hand. Unless you're a huge chip leader, and don't want to let your opponents back in the game by playing crap hands, play super-aggressive from the button and raise back from the blinds with most decent  hands.

When you're heads up the blinds are usually so high that it's basically all about catching a good hand, pushing all-in and winning the showdown.

Try to get lucky and you've won the sit and go.

Where is the best place to use this strategy? We have compiled a list of the sites offering the best online poker tournaments. Choose a site on that toplist and you'll have a bright future at the monkeys' tables, no, sorry, I meant sit-and-go tables.

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