A Complete Guide To SNGs At PokerStars.com
Quick Summary: You will find more Sit n Go games, more choice and better loyalty rewards than anywhere else online at PokerStars.com. Though, you will also need to avoid the 'grinders' who infest the games there. This guide to PokerStars SNGs gives you all the info you will need to find the most profitable games at this awesome (and huge) site!
Below you will find a list of the types of Sit N Go tournaments at PokerStars. This is a huge list which includes turbo, short-handed, knockout, PLO, Mixed Games, Fifty50 (PokerStars' variation on double-or-nothing), hyper-turbo, multi-table, satellites and 'steps'. Nowhere else has more choice, and nowhere else has more players to ensure that you can find a game that fits your bankroll and preferences.
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Below is my detailed review of Sit N Go Tournaments at PokerStars.com. This unique review gives you info on the games available, plus my views on the best games for different types of player (new players, grinders and recreational poker fans). I start with the 'standard' 1-table games, then cover the many variations and unique structures - before looking at multi-table SNGs.
Many of the games covered below have specific strategy considerations. I have linked to these where possible, these articles will open in a new tab so you can continue reading the main piece. At the end of this article you will find my summary and '5-reasons to play' list.
PokerStars SNG Tournaments Guide - 1-Table Sit N Goes
With 100's of SNG tournaments kicking off every minute the choice at PokerStars is staggering. I'll define the 'Standard' SNGs as the 9 handed and 6 handed games with the normal 20% / 30% / 50% payouts ( 35% / 65% for 6-max) with either the regular 10 minute blind levels or the turbo 5 minute levels.
PokerStars have standardized their buy-in levels across the different games, and their fee is included in the price. Here are the levels:
$1.50c, $3.50c, $7, $15, $30, $60, $100, $200, $300, $500, $1000, $2000 and $5000
Standard starting stacks are 1500, and blinds are designed to give you some room for post-flop play early, starting at 10 / 20. I like the fact that there is no huge jump late in their structures. Antes come in at the 2nd 100 / 200 level at a managable 25 chips. I always feel that the Turbo SNGs at PokerStars are well balanced compared to other sites where it seems to become a shove-fest very early.
These games are the favorite of the pro-grinders, and you will find them from $7 up in increasing numbers. While there are plenty of fish to go around, it can pay to identify (color-code) and avoid these players where too many of them are signed up for any one game. Sure, you can beat them, however grinders who have a grasp of the SNG math are never going to be as profitable for you to play against as the 'fun' players.
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1-Table SNGs - Different Games
In addition to No-Limit, Pot-Limit and Fixed Limit Holdem you will find the following games in 1-table tournament format: Pot Limit Omaha, PLO8, Fixed Limit Omaha Hi-Lo, Stud Hi-Lo, Triple Stud, Badugi, 2-7 Triple Draw, 5-Card Draw, HORSE and 8-Game mix. When you consider the different speeds and buy-ins this is easily the most comprehensive selection of SNGs anywhere!
PokerStars SNG Tournaments Guide - Variations And Special Games
Sticking with the 1-table formats for now, the key variations are knockouts, Fifty50 games, Hyper-Turbos and satellite qualifiers.
Knockout SNGs split the prize pool, with 25% or so of each player's buy-in becoming a bounty on their head. When you knock out a player you immediately get paid the bounty, with the remaining prize pool paid in the standard split for the size of game. You will find knockouts are popular amoung recreational players, making them softer than some of their non-knockout equivalents. These games come in a wide selection of game types and buy-ins.
Fifty50 Sit N Goes are unique to PokerStars. These are a variation on the popular 'Double Or Nothing' theme. Like Double-or-Nothing SNGs the games end when half of the players remain (the games are 10 handed for this reason). At this point everyone left gets half of the prize pool (their buy-ins back) with the remaining half of the prize pool split depending on chip stack sizes. By giving players an incentive to accumulate chips - rather than just survive - PokerStars have created an entertaining poker variation. You need to be careful of the 'regulars' in these games, which are reasonably easy to multi-table.
Hyper-Turbos start with just 500 chips, have 2 minute blind levels (starting at 10 / 20) and have a small ante right from the start too. Being short-stacked from the start there is rarely any room for post-flop play. While you might think of these games as a fun diversion, pro-grinders who know the push-fold math well do use them to increase their volume of games. There are plenty enough fish to keep these games soft in the evenings and weekends.
New - Spin N Go: This is a new format where you can compete for up to 1200 times your buy-in. The games are hyper-turbo and 3 handed. At the start of each game you'll spin to see how much money you are playing for. These are fast and fun games, and while most games will be for 2x your buy-in (this funds the bigger prizes), you can end up competing for $9000 (for example) from a $3 entry.
Finally, satellite qualifiers are a popular 1-table SNG category at PokerStars.com. Again these come in several types including standard 1-table satellites, hyper-turbo (often short handed) games and the 'Steps SNGs' where you move up levels by finishing in the top 2 of lower buy-in games - aiming for Step 6 which awards packages to major live events as prizes.
PokerStars.com SNGs Guide - Multi-Table SNG Tournaments
Multi-table SNGs again give you an idea of the sheer size of PokerStars. Table sizes start at 18 players and go up to the hugely popular 180 player Sit N Go tournaments... with a ton of action in different formats in between.
Popular sizes include the 18-player (2 full tables), 45-player (5-tables) and 90-player (10 table) games. You will find turbos, hyper-turbos and variations like No Limit Omaha Hi-Lo and PLO also in the list. Buy-ins for the larger multi-table SNGs start at $1, with more levels available than for the standard games - especially with the 180 player games which include a popular $3.50+rebuy option in addition to the $2.50c, $7 and $15 buy-ins which fill up fast thanks to their prominent place on the main listing in the tournament lobby.
In a recent update 36 player games which include bounties for every opponent you knock out have been unveiled.
I cover heads-up SNGs separately here.
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PokerStars.com SNGs Guide - Summary + My '5 Reasons'
With so many games to choose from, and the ability to play 24 tables at a time if your mouse-fingers are fast enough - it is no wonder that the majority of players choosing to play SNGs professionally (or semi-professionally) choose PokerStars.
There are plenty of recreational players too, and games with lower buy-ins that you can use to gain experience. I recommend that you get to know the 'regulars' and highlight them (light blue works for me). When you are registering you can then avoid tables with more than 3 highlighted opponents and wait for a softer game! In addition the multi-table SNGs and knockout tournaments are very soft.
Here are my Top 5 Reasons To Choose SNGs At PokerStars.com
#1 - Widest Choice Anywhere Online: Whether you look at it in terms of the total number of tables, types of structure, poker variation or buy-in level - nowhere offers you a better choice.
#2 - Generous Loyalty Bonuses: The PokerStars.com VIP club is the best loyalty scheme you will find anywhere online, even after the recent rebalancing from the 'Elite' levels back to the lower to middle tiers. This allows players with big and small bankrolls to accumulate some great bonuses, buy cool gifts from their online store and enter some huge 'points' tournaments, including a quarterly game with a million dollar prize pool!
#3 - Cool Poker Software: You will enjoy the PokerStars software, this is fast, responsive and easy to multi-table too. Considered to be one of the best poker software clients of any site.
#4 - Profitable Leader Boards: Called the 'Battle Of The Planets' the PokerStars SNG leaderboard is a big deal! This rewards higher volume players at different buy-in levels with cash bonuses, depending on how many points they collect through each month. This can be a great boost to your poker bankroll.
#5 - Plenty Of Satellite Qualifiers: You can win a seat in the famous Sunday Million, work your way through the 'Steps' to a World Series or EPT ticket or try a hyper-turbo to win a ticket in a big-guarantee weekday tournaments - when it comes to satellite qualifiers nobody offers you more than PokerStars.
It would take a big change at the smaller sites to come anywhere close to the Sit N Go tournaments at PokerStars. If you enjoy this popular poker format then make sure you check out PokerStars.com for yourself now!