High Blinds And 6 or 7 Players In SNGs – When The late Game Becomes Multi-Way

In These ‘Reg Infested’ Times, You Will Often See Sit N Goes Where The Blinds Are Up to 200+ With 7+ Players Remaining – This Article Looks At How To Adjust

Most SNG Strategy focuses on 4 or 5 handed bubbles with shallow stacks and the ‘push / fold’ game based on ranges and prize pool equity. After a session which seemed to feature a lot of cautious players the other day, I got to thinking how the higher ‘blinds with multiple players’ scenario is becoming increasingly common.

When you get to the 150 or 200+ BB levels and still have 7 opponents you will need to adjust in several different ways. Prize Pool Equity Math (ICM) does play a role here, though as you will see below the effect on your play is not as big as at a 4-player bubble. Restealing and inducing steals replaces post-flop play and you will also need to be extra cautious not to get committed to a pot when you would prefer not to!

I’ll talk about the math and ranges in general, you will need an ICM calculator to follow up on the more detailed numbers… I recommend the market leader SNG Wiz, which has a 30 day free trial. The examples below will provide a framework for thinking about how the different factors affect your strategy – plugging real numbers into Wiz will help you take this to the next level.

When 7 Players Remain With High Blinds – How Does Prize Pool Equity Factor In?

Each player’s average profit, based on their chip stack is the fundamental building block of the Independent Chip Model. This shows that your risk (in terms of average profit) at of losing an all-in at the bubble is greater than the benefit you might get from doubling up.

I will compare a simplified 4 handed bubble situation with an equivalent 7 handed one, to demonstrate that prize pool equity still has an effect when multi-way, albeit a smaller one. If you are unsure of how this math works then I recommend reading my Introduction To ICM article first.

For these examples I am assuming a 10 handed game, $10 buy-ins and 1000 chips to start. This helps keep the numbers simple so that I can explain the underlying points.

2 Players Get All In At 4-Handed Bubble : This is our baseline

Before the hand each player has 2500 chips, with $25 in equity (average profits in the long run). If 2 players get all-in and one doubles up to 5000 chips then the equity works out like this.

A-5000 chips - $38.33c
B-2500 chips - $30.83c
C-2500 chips - $30.83c
D-0 chips - $0

So player A doubled his chips, but since the max he can win from this game is $50 (1st place) and there are 2 others who can also win, his average profits only increased by $13.88 (that is to say the risk of his $25 equity paid off with $13.88 more… almost 2-to-1 against).

Here is the same scenario with 7 players.

Before we start the hand each player has $14.28 in equity with equal stacks of 1428 chips. If 2 players get all in the equity changes like this:

A – 2856 chips - $25:28c
The remaining 5 players $14.94c

So the equity risked if you call an all-in is $14.28c, with the reward for doubling up an additional $11, this is not quite the same as the bubble scenario (the equivalent there would have been winning an additional $7) – though it does demonstrate that you still need to be sure that your hand is not just better than the range of the person going all-in, but good enough to justify you getting only 14-to-11 on your money.

Of course, having a big stack in this situation may give you further opportunities to accumulate chips, especially if there are short stacks in play as we approach the bubble proper.

Aware vs Unaware Opponents:

One final note on the ICM side of things. You know you need a better hand to call an all-in when there are 7 players left, though your range is not as tight as at the bubble itself. If your opponents also know this (as they will in higher buy-in games) then you need to adjust your shoving all-in range to beat their wider calling ranges. The danger comes when one or more opponents does not understand what is happening, they can call you very ‘light’, feeling that a ‘better hand’ is justification enough so far from the bubble… be careful to identify the inexperienced SNG players and adjust to their ‘crazy’ ranges accordingly, there is no use complaining about a ‘bad call’, it is up to you to put opponents on accurate ranges!

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7 Players With High Blinds In A Sit N Go – Steals And Resteals

When we are talking 7 to 15 big blind stacks the room for post flop play is extremely limited. In fact the ‘default’ of most players is to maintain their stack without too much risk by stealing blinds, while waiting for a hand to go to war with or opponents to make mistakes against each other and spew their equity to the remaining players.

I discussed the basics of restealing in the ‘mid-game’ of SNG tournaments in this article… here I will just add some thoughts about how the higher blinds / shallower stacks in this situation might affect the ranges different players use for steals / resteals compared with the smaller blind-level equivalents.

Min-raises (or 2x, 2.1x / 2.2x if you prefer) are more than enough to pressure your opponents in multi-way higher blind situations. You need to watch for the short-stacks behind you, these players are often desperate to get those chips in the middle and double up ahead of the bubble. You also need to adjust your raise frequency depending on how passive or aggressive the table is, position matters more than your hand if you are not going to call an all-in anyway. When this higher blind situation occurs I always ask myself how much I can get away with, and also identify targets who are less likely to re-steal or defend their blinds.

One thing to note here is that experienced players (particularly multi-tabling grinders) who raise from early position into 5 or 6 opponents usually have a hand. Whether they would be prepared to play it for all of their chips is another matter, but assume the range is a lot tighter than that same player would have in the cutoff or button positions.

Button or Cutoff raises are another matter, this can be with a huge range – making any resteal from the blinds more likely to succeed.

Leveling Wars With Steals / Resteals

Remember, if the button raiser is an experienced regular they know that their raises could be re-raised. On one hand, the probability of getting folds makes this a profitable move. On the other hand if they know that you are capable of restealing ‘light’ they can use this information against you in assessing whether to make the call or not. Expert players go into depth on the equilibrium ranges here: If player A knows that player B can call with range X then he can adjust his range to Y to exploit this – and so on until we have a ‘nash equilibrium’ balance. Again, if you want to beat the higher level SNGs you are going to need to work through some examples with an ICM calculator / pokerstove and understand the how this dynamic affects the numbers. If your opponents get too resteal happy then they are setting themselves up to be trapped by a monster hand.

Multi-Way High Blind SNGs – Final Factors

There are several more factors to consider here, with the nature of opponents (wild / tight etc) and the speed of the blind increases (turbo / normal) leading the list. Your own experience level will also factor in, if you are less experienced than your opponents then I would advise against getting involved in the ‘he knows, I know’ thought process and just shove all-in when a +ev opportunity arises. If your opponents are all fish then you might pass on some very marginal spots to be able to take advantage of better spots later in the game.

If you are unsure about restealing ranges and blind stealing in these situations you can also find many +ev spots to go all in with 15 or even 20 times the blind effective stacks. One word of caution here, just because an all-in is profitable, does not necessarily mean this is the most profitable way to play your hand – a standard raise might win more in the long run!

More Great SNG Strategy Articles And Guides:

  • This Article Looks at the best SNG sites by breaking down the choices for different types of player from recreational poker fan through to pro grinders. Updated every few months to ensure that the ever-changing world of online poker does not leave us behind!!
  • Course Preview - Information on my acclaimed free course for SNG beginners - The $16 per hour SNG Blueprint
  • Poker Tools And Calculators - This section of the site details how you can get a real edge at the tables using approved software tools.
  • If you are sick of seeing so many multi-tabling 'grinders' at your tables then check out this article, which shows you how to take advantage of them.
  • Of course, if you understand prize pool equity and play solid poker you will soon be ready to move up levels, I created a checklist article so you can make sure that you are ready - read it here.

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