Multi-Table SNG Strategy – Part #2 – Middle Game Play

Higher Blinds And Fewer Tables – The Money Still Far Away
Adjusting Your Multi-Table SNGs Middle Game Strategy

The mid-game of multi-table SNGs require some serious strategy adjustments when compared to the single table variety. Particularly in a 3 or 5 table Sit N Go your stack will be getting ‘shallow’ compared to the blinds, yet the money is still some way off. Adjusting requires an understanding of how push / fold poker works with chip equity as well as with prize pool equity. It also involves a good understanding of the ‘flexibility level’ that your chip-stack (and those of opponents) allow.

In a 1-table tournament pushing and calling all-ins is usually done with just 4 or 5 people left. The blinds are more than 10% of your stack, effectively committing you to the pot should you make any raise. What is more you can push ‘light’, the reason for this is mathematical – an opponent generally needs a hand that is 2/1 favorite against your pushing range in order to call. (For more on this see our Introduction to ICM article).

MTT SNG Strategy In The Middle Stages - Shallow Stacks With The Money Far Away

In the middle stages of a multi-table Sit N Go the paying places are far enough away for the ‘prize pool equity’ to have only a mild effect. While chip ev and $ev are not exactly equal, to all intents and purposes they can be considered so (the actually effect is between 3 and 10% difference – chip ev being slightly lower than prize pool ev).

What does this mean for our play when holding less than 10 times the big blind?  Well, the first factor is still in place – any raise with a ‘reasonable’ hand will commit us to calling a re-raise based on the pot-odds.

For example: We have 1600 chips and the big blind = 200, we are dealt 77 and raise to 600, the big blind pushes all in, making the effective pot 100+600+1600 = 2200, it costs us 1000 to call. These are pot odds of 2.2/1 – against a ‘reasonable’ pushing range of 66+ AJ+ and KQ we are around 42% to win, making this call massively +ev. Add the fact that the BB may be ‘bluffing’ with a number of weaker hands and the call is even easier.

So, how do we define our pushing and calling ranges in mid-game MTT SNG situations? There are 2 ‘rules of thumb’:

  • For calls we need to be ahead of the bottom half of our opponent’s pushing range.
  • To push we need to have a hand better than half of the hands we could be called with.

Some examples:

  • To follow on from the first example we assess out opponent capable of pushing 66+, AJ+ and KQ (suited or off-suit). Accounting for ‘dead’ blind money and the small Cev > $ev effect with 3 tables left we need a ‘reasonable’ edge to call. Here the mid-range is around 99+ AJs+, this gives us 57% vs our opponents range, more than enough to compensate for the times someone wakes up behind us with a premium hand.
  • Using the same calling range 66+, AJo+ and KQ we can work out a reasonable pushing range. Here we are getting called approximately 8% of the time and so should look to push 16% of hands which is equal to 33+, A7s+, A3o+ and K10s+. This gives a great balance between stealing the blinds and having a hand to show down (with 42% equity) those times we are called. Of course, if you are shorter stacked or the blinds are higher these ranges should be adjusted accordingly.

MTT SNG strategy

MTT SNG Strategy In The Middle Stages - How Stack Size Affects Your Flexibility

Finally we look at levels of flexibility in your stack size, this type of thinking is found in the multi-table poker tournament strategy – but is equally important in multi-table SNGs.

  • 10 BBs or less… Options are more or less push or fold.
  • 12 to 16 BBs… Great stack size for re-stealing, possible to raise then fold but raises should be rare unless you are willing to play a big pot or happy to fold to a re-raise.
  • 20 to 25 BBs… Nice flexibility level here for stealing chips but less effective for re-steals.
  • 30+ BBs… Maximum flexibility for the situation.

Simple rules of thumb such as keeping an eye on your ‘implied-odds’ as your stack shrinks will also help at this stage. Remember that the effective stack is the shortest of the players in the hand – not always your own! For more on stack sizes and flexibility check out this article on Harrington’s Zones And Concept of ‘M’.

Part #3 in this series will look at the bubble of multi-table Sit N Go tournaments. In the meantime why not check out our detailed look at the Best Sites For Multi-Table Sit N Goes.

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