2 Table SNG Strategy Guide Based on 18 Player Sit N Go Poker Tournaments
18 Player 2-table SNG Tournaments are home to many recreational poker players – making these games extremely profitable for players prepared to understand the strategy adjustments required during the various stages. This article outlines the key elements of a profitable 18 man Sit and Go Tournament Strategy.
2 Table SNG Strategy – The Early Stages
18 Player SNGs popularity among recreational players mean that you will see many common errors during the early stages. These include the classic of over-playing easily dominated hands, particularly out of position – hands such as Ace-Rag and 2 pictures often contesting big pots.
With the money further away you will need to find some balance between the need to accumulate chips and the maintenance of fold equity. We recommend that players used to 1 table tournaments play a few more hands, particularly in later position. These should be hands with the potential to stack an opponent – such as small pairs and suited connectors, and not medium aces or unsuited picture cards. Likewise we recommend playing draws more aggressively in 18 player tournaments.
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2 Table SNG Strategy – The Middle Stages
With blinds at 50 / 100 or 75 / 150 a strange dynamic appears – both tables are often down to 5 or 6 players and the mixture of stack sizes can make it unclear what the optimal strategy is. At this point mid-stacks will often be looking to last until the last table before reassessing their options, small stacks will be desperate for a quick double and big stacks will (and should) be raising with impunity to take advantage of the situation.
Once the final table appears you strategy will be even more affected by your chip stack size and the stacks of those players around you. Short-stacked play at a full table creates some interesting situations. While there are too many factors to list in one strategy article look out for the following.
- Don’t Accidentally Pot-Commit: With a <10 blind stack any raise will often leave you committed to calling any re-raise due to the huge pot-odds. If your hand is good enough to raise then maximize your fold equity by pushing all-in.
- Restealing Is Very Profitable: Re-raising an opponent who does have room to fold (and is capable of doing so) can be very profitable.
- Medium Stacks: Watch the medium stacks, they are unlikely to raise without a very strong hand and are more likely to give up their blinds.
- Fold Equity Is Key: Never blind down to the point where you have lost the ability to get your opponents to fold. Remember than even 7-2 off has 40% winning chances against Ace-King!
2 Table SNG Strategy – The Late Stages
One of the key advantages of 2 table games is that you have plenty of time to assess the tendencies of your opponents before the all-important bubble. There are 3 bubble factors which are slightly different in a 5-player bubble than in a 4-player 1-table bubble:
- More Players: Having an extra player increases the chance of 2 opponents ‘going to war’ in any one hand.
- Varied Stacks: The distribution of stack sizes is often wider with an increased probability of there being more than one short-stack.
- Fewer Blinds: Blind Pressure is slightly lower each round (you have that extra hand!)
These factors mean that you are slightly less desperate to push all-in at the bubble of a 18 player SNG compared with a 9 player game. What this does not mean is that you should turn down positive expectation pushes or calls in terms of ICM – the difference is really only in those marginal decisions.
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2-Table SNG Strategy – In The Money
With equal jumps in the payout structure your aim is to take those positive prize pool equity decisions when offered. Remember that small stacks will be looking for the ‘quick double’ once the bubble bursts and are liable to push all-in with a wide range – giving you the opportunity to isolate with a weaker hand than you might consider normally. Each step up the pay-scale is equal, so make sure you play positive and aggressive poker and ensure you climb as high as the situations and cards will allow you to.
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