SNGs Come In 100’s Of Variations, And This Page Aims To List Them All
Sit and Go tournaments come in literally 100’s of types. These can be split by size, buy-in, how fast the blinds go, poker game types payout types and different variations like knockout bounty, double-or-nothing or satellite qualifiers. This page puts all the different types of SNGs in one place – along with links for strategy and comparisons elsewhere on the site.
Of course, there are new games and variations coming out across the poker sites every month. I will keep this page updated as they appear – so add it to your bookmarks right now!
Before we start I'd like to quickly plug my 4-part SNG course 'Planet Mark's SNG Blueprint', this is designed to take novice players to the point where they can earn regular cash from SNGs over 4-weeks. It is free for readers for the time being, at least until the new design goes up next year. You can find out more here.
SNG Variations – Starting With The 'Standard' Game
Believe it or not, there was a time when you could only play 1-table SNGs with 9 players and 3 paying places at a standard speed and with no extras or variations whatsoever! Sometimes called STTs (single table tournaments) these games were recreational in nature, and with the more advanced bubble strategies developing later – along with the software to learn it. Buy-ins of $215 were the highest, and if you wanted to play games other than Texas Holdem, well, you were plain out of luck.
Nowadays the standard games are considered too slow by most regular players, though the 9 players / 3 payouts format is still popular. I have organized this page with the main sizes of the games first, then the speed variations, payout options and game (poker type) choices. After this I will get to the quirks and innovations which continue to make Sit n Goes a great area to specialize in – before wrapping up the article with some recommendations for entertaining and profitable games to check out.
Planet Mark's Rec - Get Tooled Up! If you want to beat Sit N Goes these days you need to know the math. If your push / fold bubble strategy is better than your opponents, you will make profitable decisions where those opponents make mistakes. This adds up to a long term profit for you, and a long term loss for players who 'go by feel'. I strongly recommend you check out ICMIZER 2. You plug in the numbers and situations, and get the perfect bubble strategy in return. You can try it out for free. Check out www.icmpoker.com now to see how ICMIZER 2 can transform your profits!
List Of All Types Of Sit N Goes – The Game Sizes
In theory, a Sit n Go can be any size. Since the strict definition is just a tournament with no fixed start time, that kicks off when the required number of players join. Practically, this format does not work after a couple of hundred players at even the biggest sites – and is best suited to smaller table sizes up to about 45 players at most sites. Here is a list of the SNG sizes in order:
2 Players: These are heads-up SNGs, one player gets the prize. This is a popular niche, and many players specialize as HUSNG experts. Some of the biggest buy-ins are just for these games.
3 Players: Unique to 888 Poker, ‘Triple Up’ Sit N Goes pay one place. Twister Jackpot games at Titan now also have the 3-player format (and hyper-tubo speed too) so these are no longer strictly unique for 888. Update: Full Tilt now also have 3-handed Jackpot Sit N Goes.
4 Players: A Heads-up match with 2 rounds, the winners of round 1 will face-off in the 2nd match. Usually paid as winner-takes all.
5 Players: OnGame Network have 5 and 10 player tables instead of the usual 6 and 9, this has already changed for cash games – so 1-table tournaments might also move at some point soon.
6 Max SNGs: A standard format is to pay 2 places, either 65% / 35% or 70% / 30%. You will find these at almost every site and they are popular at a range of buy-ins.
8 Players: This size is for Stud and its variations (Stud Hi-Lo, Razz or Mixed Games). 8 Players mean you do not run out of cards quite so readily.
9 Players: This is the standard, with 3 places paid at 50% / 30% / 20% of the prize pool. Expect these to be the busiest games at almost every online poker site.
10 Players: Some sites have these games instead of 9-max, though the more common use of this size is for Double-or-Nothing SNGs. Since the DoNs pay half of the players double their buy-in, it makes good sense to start off with an even number of players.
12 Players: 2-table 6-max games can be found, with 4 paying places as a standard. A notable use of this format is in the ‘Dirty Dozen’ Jackpot SNGs at Titan Poker – if you win 5 in a row you can land yourself a sizeable jackpot prize.
18 Players: 2 table 9-max games are common at the larger poker sites. You will see the occasional 3-table 6-max games too.
20 Players: Again, the sites with 10 player formats also have 2-table SNG formats.
27 / 30 Players: You guessed it, 3 tables of 9 or 10, these are a little more common, though the 2 and 5 table variants are the more popular.
36 Players: This number can be found as a 6-max double-shootout. The winners of the first games forming a ‘final table’ for round 2. Mostly used as satellite qualifiers for bigger tournaments or events.
45 / 50 Players: This is another area where some players will specialize, 5 tables of 9-max is the most common, 6 or 7 get paid with the 1st place being a nice bankroll booster.
90 Players: Another 'sweet-spot' which is used in several formats at the larger sites. Here the last 9 get paid. Variations include the excellent 90 player Knockout SNGs at Full Tilt, where you get a bounty for each opponent you eliminate in addition the prize pool. This size is also used for double-shootout qualifiers, where 10 1-table tournaments run, with the winner of each meeting for a ‘final table’.
180 Players: Popularized by PokerStars, the 180 SNGs are now found at several sites. Here 18 players get paid, with these feeling like miniature poker tournaments – great for getting a lot of MTT experience in a short time.
240 / 360 Players: Some larger sites have bigger Sit N Goes, these usually have tiny buy-ins (even for loyalty points) and are more for giving smaller bankroll players a chance to play in a bigger event.
Every Type Of Sit N Go Tournament – Different Games Have Different Speeds
My next dimension is speed. Once we combine the different speeds with the number of players then the possible variations start to get multiplied. Not every speed works with every table size, and I have highlighted below the most common use of each speed.
One more note on this, different poker sites have their own way of labeling things – and some have different steps in the increases in blinds too – it is always worth having a look at the SNG lobby and checking the starting chips, and blind amounts in addition the time between levels.
This time I will start with the slowest and work my way through to the fastest games.
Deep Stacked: With 3000 starting chips and 15 minute blind levels, these games have more room for post flop play. Not every site will offer these games.
Standard Speed: This is 15 minute blind levels, and 1500 starting chips with blinds starting at either 10 / 20 or 15 / 30 – you will have room to make some post-flop moves early on, before the pressure on your stack increases. Some of the larger SNGs have 3000 chips with standard levels.
Turbo SNGs: This is the new standard for most specialists, and features 15 minute blinds with 5 or 6 minute blind increases. Getting to the bubble faster means you can enjoy your ‘mathematical’ advantage in the push-fold game (assuming you know the right strategy!). Since this is the single most popular speed, I have an article dedicated to the best Turbo SNG games around.
Speed SNGs: These are found at Party Poker, and are actually slower than the turbos there. While Speed games at iPoker are faster... this does highlight the need to double-check the blind increases before you register - its too late once the game starts!
Hyper Turbo SNGs: Here we cover games with 500 chips and 2 minute blind levels, only a limited time for seeing flops, as players are forced into push-fold mode very quickly.
Super-Turbo SNGs: Again 2 minute blind levels, only this time there are only 300 chips to start the game with 15 / 30 blinds.
All-in Or Fold: Speed is hard to judge for these games, since you only have 2 choices of action, push all-in or fold your hand.
Coin-Flip All-In: Here every player is all-in on every hand, more of a gambling gimmick than a real SNG, but great fun none-the-less!
Flipout Tournaments: A new idea from Full Tilt Poker. Everyone is all in first hand, with the game structured so that once you are in the money paying places, the game reverts to a standard Sit N Go tournament setup... The idea here is to cut out all of the time spent reaching the money! 36 player games are ideal for this format.
Lottery Sit N Goes: A whole new category of short handed hyper turbo games with randomly assigned prize pools. There are several variations here, including Blast! from 888, SNG Hero from Party and Jackpot Poker from the US friendly America's Cardroom.
Every Type Of Sit N Go Tournaments – A Quick Note On Payout Structures And Games
Hopefully you have an idea of the rich variation in games on offer by now. You need to be aware that there are differences in the payouts between sites, not only in terms of the number of players who get paid in each size of game – but the percentage of the prize pool given to each.
It would be too much to list all the minor variations here, so for now I will just advise players that you check the payouts carefully when trying a new site or new game – I do not want to hear of SNG Planet readers getting caught out!
Likewise, listing every game type in each size and speed would create a huge list – though not a particularly useful one! You can find NL Holdem and Pot Limit Omaha SNGs at most sites, with Omaha Hi-Lo a close runner up. At the bigger sites you might also find Pot-Limit Holdem and some Fixed Limit Holdem games. For those looking for variations like Stud, Razz and Draw Poker (or even mixed games) then you will need to stick to the biggest sites of all – PokerStars have a huge selection of games for Sit n Go fans. I should also add 5 card Omaha (including Hi-Lo) and Courchevel to this list.
A personal favorite are the 8-game Sit N Goes at PokerStars, while they sometimes take a while to kick off, the standard of play is generally very recreational - making them easy to beat. You can play the new 5-Card Omaha variations in 1-table tournament format too.
Sit N Go Blueprint Course
One final plug for my free SNG course! Which is designed for the Turbo games and will take novice players to the point where they average $16+ per hour from 1-table tournaments over 4-weeks. This continues to get fantastic feedback, and once you have built that bankroll the poker world (either cash, tournaments or SNG variations) really does open up. You can see a preview of the course via this link - or simply register below!
SNG Variations List – The Crazy World Of SNG Variations
This is where the article becomes fun – the poker sites have taken the Sit N Go idea and have made it more interesting in many ways. This list continues to evolve, and I will keep it updated whenever a cool new idea comes along. I will order these games roughly by popularity starting with Double-or-Nothings, then Steps, Jackpot SNGs, Knockouts and then going into the more obscure game types!
Double Or Nothing / Fifty50 SNGs
Double Or Nothing games pay half of entrants double their buy-in. The standard format is 10 players, with 5 getting paid. These are easy to ‘grind’ and so attract a lot of regulars. There is a distinct strategy shift towards defensive play which a lot of new players get wrong – meaning these games can be profitable (you can find more info on where to play these games here).
PokerStars have a variation on this theme. Their games also pay out when half of the entrants are left, but this time 50% of the prize pool (so, your entry back minus the fee) is for simply surviving and the other 50% is distributed based on stack sizes when the game ends.
This variation was first introduced by Party Poker and is now available at almost all the poker sites in some form. These work by awarding tickets to progressively higher buy-in SNG tournaments to the winners (and sometimes runners-up) of lower buy-in events. For example, Party start at $3, and give the top 2 places spots in a $11 game which feeds a $33 and so on – all the way to the top step where you can win a huge prize.
Some sites allow ‘exit points’ in their steps, for example at PokerStars you can use a Step 4 token to enter any of their $215 Tournaments (including the infamous Sunday Million), and at Titan Poker you can buy into a tournament for as little as $3 using your tokens. For other sites, you need to stay within the steps system all the way to the top – where many award packages to live tournament events instead of cash.
With many ‘try again’ tokens for 3rd to 5th places, these games are great for building your experience, and maybe even landing a top prize! For more info you can see my detailed guide to Steps SNGs here. Note: US based readers can now find Steps games on the cool Carbon Poker.
Jackpot Sit N Go Tournaments
These games play the same as a standard SNG, though winning 5 or 6 in a row will land you a big jackpot of up to $50,000. To keep the jackpots growing, extra fees are charged to enter these games, for example $10+$2 instead of $10+$1 for a standard game. While these fees can eat into your bankroll, Jackpot SNGs do attract recreational players far more than grinders – so the extra profits from this softer standard of play does make up for the extra fee. While several sites have these games, none even come close to the choice and popularity of Titan Jackpot SNGs – see my detailed guide + extra deposit offer here.
Lottery Jackpot Sit N Goes: This is a great variation on the jackpot theme. The games are 3 handed and super-turbo speed, though the real twist is that the prize is randomly decided by a spin or wheel before the game starts. The prize will be between twice and 1200x your buy-in. There are currently 3 international sites with these games, Titan Poker (Twisters (recommended), PokerStars (Spin n Go) and Full Tilt (who call them 'Jackpot Sit N Goes). See my lottery strategy guide.
Knockout Bounty Sit N Goes
With knockouts (sometimes just called ‘bounty SNGs’) a proportion of each player’s buy-in becomes a bounty on their head. When you knock a player out then you are instantly paid that bounty. This is usually around 20% of the total buy-in, though 50% can be found at some sites and there are even ‘pure bounty’ games where 100% of each players buy-in (minus the fee) is a bounty. What you will find is that many players make mistakes by being too eager to collect bounties – forgetting about their equity in the main prize pool. My favorite variation of this game is the 90 Player Knockout SNGs at Full Tilt Poker. These games sit on the main tournament screen in the lobby, which ensures a lot of players find them.
PokerStars recently added a great new twist on knockouts, with their 'Progressive Knockout' 180 player games. You get a bounty for each player you knock out, plus your own bounty increases - making for some excellent bounties by the time the late stages come around. I love this format, and recommend it as a change up from the regular games.
Many SNG tournaments are qualifiers to bigger online tournaments or even live events. These include sub-qualifiers (satellites to bigger satellites) and come in several variations of their own including hyper-turbos and double-shootouts. If you enjoy SNGs but do not want to play in the bigger event, then look out for sites which allow you to unregister. PokerStars is the best example of this. For example, if you win a seat in the Sunday Million you can unregister from it and receive $215 in ‘tournament dollars’. These can be used to buy in to any tournament or SNG a small part at a time – meaning you do not have to risk a large proportion of your bankroll in any single event.
Even More Variations
There are a few extras to mention here including Matrix SNGs – where you play 4 tables at once and are awarded prizes based on your overall scores – which are unique to Full Tilt Poker. Also at this site are Rush ‘OnDemand’ tournaments, which kick off when 36 players join, these are more like tournaments than SNGS – and the Rush Format is great fun. There are also games you can enter with points from site loyalty bonus schemes – which come in a variety of sizes and game types! Titan also released 'On Demand' Sit n Goes, which are more like small tournaments.
Every Type Of SNG Tournament – Summary And My Picks
It is amazing how diverse the world of Sit n Go Tournaments has become from relatively bland beginnings a few years ago. While the ‘bread and butter’ games are great for building a bankroll, most people move on after a few months – returning now and again to reload their ‘rolls.
Planet Mark’s Rec: America’s Cardroom are crushing it for online poker tournament events that welcome both US and worldwide players. ‘The Venom’ tops the list, add to this the popular OSS events, PKO games and a packed regular schedule with guarantees that are growing all the time. You'll find plenty of soft SNG action there too.
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