As the popularity of Sit and Go (SNG) tournaments grows so do the choices available in terms of number of opponents, speed and stack to blind ratios. This article will look at the common variations in Sit and Go tournaments and highlight many of the important factors which go into choosing the right games for you.
The first question that needs to be asked is what kind of player are you? Those who play poker for relaxation, fun and profit may have different requirements to the multi-tabling online 'pro'. Someone with a big poker bankroll and excellent post-flop skills should be playing one type of Sit and Go while players without these benefits may excel in another.
The key to choosing the right Sit and Go tournament for you is to be honest with yourself. Once you have a realistic assessment of your skills and needs trying a few poker rooms with the help of this guide should see your profits improve.
The skill level of your opponents will be largely determined by the buy-in level of the Sit and Go tournaments you are playing. Clever post-flop 'moves' which work in the higher limits may well go straight over the head of micro limit opposition! The speed of the blind increases may leave very little room for your skill advantage to show in turbo Sit and Gos while players who are adept in the mathematical approach to bubble play may have an advantage in these games.
The list of choices of Sit and Go structures shown on our Compare Sit and Go Poker page is in comparison to a 'Standard' game. This usually features 10 to 15 minute blind levels and 1000 to 1500 chip starting stacks. It is recommended that players start with the standard Sit and Go structure at one of our listed poker rooms such as Pokerstars. This will give you a solid basis to decide which of the many variations in structure is right for you.
1) Turbo / Speed Sit and Go's
All Turbo Sit and Gos are not equal. Some, such as the 'extreme turbo' at 32Red Poker feature blind levels which go up so fast as to make the game an entertaining lottery. Others such as the Party Poker 'Speed' Sit and Gos or PokerStars 'Turbo' Sit and Gos have 5 minute blind levels and larger starting stacks - which allow for some flexibility in play.
The common feature of speed Sit and Gos is that opponents will play fast and loose resulting in reaching the bubble very quickly. This type of game can suit those players who are skilled in the mathematical approach to Sit and Go play such as use of the Independent Chip Model (ICM) or Poker Game Theory. This approach uses push all-in or fold play based on the estimated calling ranges of opponents and the current dollar value of each chip stack at the table.
Turbo Sit and Gos, especially those at the larger poker rooms such as Pokerstars, are popular among multi-table players. The type of Sit and Go player who prefers 4, 8 or even more tables simultaneously to increase profits needs games which involves simple decisions. A faster blind structure, in combination with superior bubble play skills make turbo Sit and Gos a viable option, especially as it is possible to play more games per hour with turbo Sit and Gos. Slower blind structures can involve many more complex post-flop decisions which can make playing multiple tables difficult.
2) Short Handed Games.
6-max Sit and Gos see the blinds coming around the table faster. Combine this will having fewer opponents and you have a situation which calls for playing more hands than in a 'standard' Sit and Go.
6-max games usually pay only 2 people, 65% of the prize pool for 1st and 35% for 2nd being the standard. During the early stages there is plenty of opportunity for post-flop poker, blinds being low compared to the number of opponents. These Sit and Gos should appeal to players who are comfortable playing a wide selection of hands. The relatively lower chance of someone at the table holding a premium hand makes for many interesting decisions.
3) Double Stack Sit and Go's
Sit and Gos with double starting stacks of 3000 chips, for example Ladbrokes 'High Stack' Sit and Gos, require significantly more post flop poker play. The large stacks in comparison to the blind structures mean that 'implied odds' are higher. Hands such as suited connectors, small pairs and suited aces can be played for small bets pre-flop more often - the potential to be paid off with a large pot is proportionally greater than in a standard Sit and Go.
Unless your table is particularly wild the bubble will be much later in a double stack Sit and Go. Bigger stacks compared to the blinds mean that the mathematical 'push-fold' approach will usually involve risking too many chips to be profitable, thus post-flop poker will prevail until late in the game. Double stack Sit and Gos are a great way for players used to cash games to try out this form of poker. If your skill advantage involves putting opponents on hands and making tough decisions then these may be the right Sit and Go for you.
4) Variations in Blind Levels.
It is important to mention that not all blind structures are the same. Even with the same starting stack and blind timing increases strategy may need to be adjusted to take more subtle differences into account. Some sites, for example PokerStars, introduce Antes late in the game. This boosts the size of the pot pre-flop leading to the possibility of players loosening their raising ranges to win those chips.
Conversely some sites, such as Titan Poker increase blinds faster in the 'mid-stages' of the game. The difference between an increase from a 100 chip big blind to either 150 (for example PokerStars) chips or 200 (Titan) chips can make a difference to the hands you will play. This is particularly significant in Turbo Sit and Gos where the increases may be more than once per round of the table. Try a few poker rooms to make sure you are comfortable with the blind structure.
5) Heads-Up Sit and Go's
Heads up Sit and Gos feature only 2 players, the winner taking all of the prize pool. They are available at all buy-in levels from a few dollars into the thousands. These are available in Turbo and Regular format at many online rooms such as PokerStars and Party Poker. Heads-Up Sit and Gos require a unique skill set involving selective aggression from position and a good knowledge of both starting hand strength and hand reading skills. Many sites also offer 4-player Heads-Up Sit and Gos, the winners of the first matches facing each other on the final table, again the entire prize pool going to the overall winner.
Good luck at the tables!
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