Double Shootout Tournaments Strategy Guide - The 1st Table

Strategy Overview For Double Shootout Satellite Qualifiers.
This Article Covers The First SNG Table.

Double Shootout Tournaments are a popular way of qualifying for the big events such as the Pokerstars Sunday Million, World Series or WPT / EPT events. The format is 2 Sit and Go Tournaments – the winner of the first table getting to play in the 2nd – or final table – with a chance to qualify. The number of qualifiers depends on the buy-in and can range from 1 through to around 4. The blind levels vary from 15 minutes for a standard game to 5 minute levels in a Turbo Double Shootout qualifier - or even 3 minute short-stacked hyper-turbos!

This article will look at strategy considerations for the first table and consider some of the adjustments required compared to normal SNG play. It will assume at least a basic knowledge of ICM and $ev considerations. For more information on this see out Single Table Tournament Articles.

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Double Shootout Tournament Strategy - High Level Overview

Ok, so 10 players on table 1 and we are off - what are the main strategy changes when compared with a normal sit and go?

Here are my observations - next section will be thoughts on what adjustments to make;

  • The 'super-tight early then pushbot late' standard SNG strategy is not ideal here. The reason this works so well is that skilled players can exploit opponents bubble mistakes, the whole ethos for this strategy is to cash and then go for 1st. On the 1st table of a Double Shootout (DS) there is no bubble, the winner alone is going to move to the final table.
  • The reasoning for pushbotting is that you can play on opponents fears of not cashing at the SNG bubble to accumulate chips, that simply does not happen here - with 4 or 5 people left people will often 'accidentally' call you correctly, mathematically speaking, due to the loose nature of their play.
  • You will find that the other players gamble a lot, top pair no-kicker is plenty enough to get all-in on level 1. This means that people exit quickly and by level 4 (100/50 blinds) you are likely to be short handed with 1 or 2 big stacks at the table.

Double Shootout Satellite Qualifiers - Some Key Strategy Adjustments

  • Speculate Early; While in a SNG folding may be the correct play with a suited connector or AQo in middle position with certain stack sizes, in a Double Shootout 1st Table You should loosen up with these hands - even calling a small raise. The logic here is that your chips are not as valuable later in the game as they are in a normal SNG so the reward for hitting a flop against your the risk in equity is better for speculative hands.
  • Use the Gap Concept and not ICM to decide on late pushes. Your opponents will call you light in the late stages so you need to make sure that your pushing hands can stand a showdown. This means looking at things differently - instead of the range of hands your opponent can call you with assume any pair, most aces and 2-broadways as their range then calculate your chances of winning a showdown against that range (remember to include the current pot in this). 'Any-2' pushes may still be good when the blinds + antes are very large, but your Fold Equity is much reduced compared to normal SNG play so be careful.
  • Avoiding confrontations with another big stack is ideal on the bubble of a SNG, on the 1st table of a Double Shootout this is not necessarily the case... waiting for the small stack to bust in 3rd will not help you. Remember that someone with chips will call your raises with lesser hands - try to take advantage of this and do not shy away from such confrontations.
  • Many of your opponents will be cash game players trying to win a World Series seat and not SNG or MTT specialists. Watch for players who defend their button rather than their blinds early on, this information can be valuable later on in the game, if you are in the blinds you can re-steal shove lighter, if you wake up with a hand and act before them limp and then re-raise when they defend their button with a raise.
  • Hand values, the poor standard of play can change relative hand values pre-flop. Since many players see ace-rag or even king-rag suited as premium holdings then medium pairs go up in value. I am usually happy to shove over a raiser and cold-caller with Jacks in a Double shootout qualifier where in a SNG these need to be played more carefully... 65% against your opponents range is more than enough to get your money in when only 1 spot moves up!
  • Heads up play, it is very unlikely that your opponent will understand correct heads up strategy (nash equilibrium etc). They will still over-value ace-rag hands etc (again probably an ‘accidentally’ correct play!) but probably underestimate the range that they should be shoving into you. You can exploit this in a couple of ways - shove slightly lighter than in a SNG (but avoid A-small hands more) and call tighter. Find out as early and cheaply as possible how they react to limps from the SB and to smaller raises.... if your opponent folds to 2 or 2.5xBB raises then keep on raising until they play back, if they raise often re-shove with a reasonable holding early to keep them on the defensive.

Double Shootout tournaments can be used for qualification to a huge range of tournaments – ranging from the Poker Stars Sunday Million through to EPT, WPT and Online Satellites To WSOP events. Understanding the strategy will give you a huge edge in these soft poker games. If you do not already play at Poker Stars you should find out for yourself exactly why this site is so much more popular than the rest. Claim your 100% to $600 sign-up bonus which can be spread over up to 3 deposits with Marketing Code PSPssss (when you register) and Bonus Code STARS600 when you deposit - check out PokerStars with your own eyes today – we will see you at the Double Shootout tables soon!


Further Reading In Our Satellite Section

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