The Complete Guide To Steps Sit And Go Tournaments
Update: This article aged like milk... Nowadays, a lot more sites feature Steps - and the differences between them are bigger too. The biggest change is that you can now exit Steps Sit N Goes in more places - which makes them an ideal way to win those mid to high buy-in tournament tickets. Carbon Poker Steps for US Players have been discontinued (for now at least). I recommend US readers check my US Sit n Goes overview for the options available.
The main article starts here:
Finding the most profitable Steps Sit and Go Games + understanding the simple strategy adjustments required to beat them is a great route to quicky grow your poker bankroll.
There are some BIG differences in the skill-level of your opponents in Steps SNGs across the different poker sites. There are also some big differences in 'exit points' - with some sites letting you cash-in Steps tickets for entry into guaranteed multi-table tournaments, and others 'trapping' you in the Steps setup all the way to the very end.
This article shows you where to make the easiest money in these great games, highlights the key differences in setups and shows you where to get that vital information on the strategy adjustments required.
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Steps Sit N Go Tournaments were first introduced by Party Poker back in the early 2000’s. For an investment of just $3, players would win their way up a series of progressively higher buy-in tournaments, aiming for the $2,100 prize at step 6.
Since then steps have become available at many of the leading online poker sites including Pokerstars, Titan Poker, Full Tilt, OnGame's Red Kings Poker and the US-friendly Carbon Poker too.
This guide gives you a starting point to profit from Steps, with information and strategy guides all from one place. From here I will link out to the room-specific reviews and strategy guides - keeping this updated as the main page for Steps Sit n Go info. If you enjoy steps, or any other form of SNG or online poker tournament, remember to bookmark us today!
Steps Sit N Go Tournaments - Important Strategy Adjustments Overview + Links
Two key factors shape the differences in strategy between steps SNGs and standard 1-table games. First, your opponents – especially at the lower buy-in levels – are far less likely to be experienced in SNG math or overall strategy ideas, requiring you to adjust your own play to effectively exploit their errors. You will need to avoid the common pitfalls of playing against inexperienced opponents.
Second, the prize pool structure changes the ‘play for the bubble then maximize equity’ approach, especially when there are several ‘try again’ prizes and two equal bigger prizes (entry to the next level up). Changing the prize pool to more like a satellite ‘winners take all’ structure makes a big difference to your calling ranges and all-in plays. I have covered this in the advanced steps strategy link below.
Previously we had strategy articles dedicated to the old Party Poker steps – what I have now done is to rewrite these in a way that can be easily adapted to any of the sites offering steps. The 4 articles below cover strategy in more detail - they will all open a new tab:
- Steps SNG Strategy Overview Primer - How And Why You Need To Play Steps Differently To Standard SNGs.
- Advanced Steps Strategy, Looks At ICM and Prize Pool Equity, Epecially At The Bubble.
- Buying In To The Later Stages, Asks Whether Buying-in Half Way Up Is Worth It (made for the original Party Poker Steps games)
- Step 6 Strategy Tips, Again Based On The Party Steps – though can be applied to other sites too.
Steps Sit N Goes – Summaries Of The Steps Sit And Goes Offered At The Major Poker Sites
Titan Poker Steps Sit N Goes - Softest Games Anywhere And Lots Of 'Exit Points'
Titan Poker were relatively late in introducing Steps SNGs, however they more than make up for this with famously bad players! As part of the 'iPoker Network' Titan enjoy cross-over traffic from many of Europe's biggest betting brands - ensuring that there is always a healthy ratio between 'gamblers' and poker experts in the games. Recently, this site moved all of their games over to Euros (some in British pounds), and at the same time transformed their Steps to 6-max games. There are a lot of prizes including try again spots - so the odd bad beat should not knock you back too far. There are some other great sit n go games at Titan, including their infamous 'Jackpot Sit N Goes' and the innovative 'Twister' games.
What I like about these games is that they start very cheap - just €0.50c to enter Step 1, and can allow you to win your way up 8 level to grab a €150 token to the big Sunday tournament at Titan - the $200k guaranteed. For those who do not make it all the way, you can use tickets for earlier steps at €1, €3 and €11, €20 and €40 to enter some of the smaller guaranteed tournaments at Titan. This is a great way to get into those tournaments cheaply, you'll need to see just how terrible your opponents are with your own eyes before you can really appreciate exactly how easy this is.
I'm strongly recommending Titan for their Steps games to all non-US readers.You can grab $20 in extra free cash on top of your 200% matched welcome bonus to try out the games. All you need to do is register with Titan Poker Bonus Code SNGPLANET I will then ensure that the cash is paid direct to your player account within 48 hours (usually much sooner). A great boost to your bankroll while you enjoy those famously easy games. Click Here To See The Titan Poker Fish for Yourself Now!!
Pokerstars Steps SNGs - Biggest Traffic And Great Choice Of Games
Pokerstars were not the first site to offer Steps, however they took the concept and made it hugely popular. There are now 2 standard ladders, one in US dollars (Starting at $7.50c) and the other in Euros (Starting at €2.20c), there are even sub-qualifiers for the Step 1 games using frequent player points or from $1. At the top end of the scale, Step 6 (or Step G for the Euro games) cost $2100 and award seats to major live events or online tournaments such as the WCOOP.
There is a lot to like about Pokerstars Steps Sit n Goes. Firstly these games are always running, you will often have a choice at the lower levels and find mid-level games frequent during the evenings and weekends too. Second there are a good number of 'try again' places, keeping you going those times you do suffer a bad beat! With several different games, and variations such as a 90 player step-1 there is always some action at Stars. While your opponents are likely to be somewhat more experienced than at the sites below, the Steps remain largely recreational - and are certainly beatable for players with some basic strategy knowledge.
Best of all for me is the fact that you can use a Step 4 ticket, which is worth $215, to buy into the Sunday Million or any of the other $215 'Major' tournaments - so that $7.50c could potentially end up in life changing money. More recently, Stars have tied these tournaments into their online poker events (WCOOP / TCOOP and so on). This provides a great way for smaller stakes players to get into the big buy-in games which are scheduled with these.
If you have not played at Pokerstars before then you are elibible to claim a 100% match on your 3 first deposits up to $600 in total, just use Pokerstars Marketing Code PSPXXXX when you register and bonus code STARS600 when you deposit! Check out www.pokerstars.com here.
Party Poker Steps - Now WPT Qualifier Games
Party Poker Steps were the first of this type of game anywhere, first on offer way back in the early 2000’s these give players a chance to turn $3 into $2100 through 6 levels.
These games have now switched over to become qualifiers for the World Poker Tour events. Party own this brand and give a lot of their players the chance to qualify for live tournaments around the world online. You can win a package wirth $1700, which includes entry into a $525 tournament - plus your travel expenses. The entry point to this system is $1, or just 10 party points for a 'Step 0' pre-qualifier.
Another change to these games is that they are all now 6-handed. There are no exit points, though you can buy-in direct at any point along the way.
Party Poker continue to attract 1st time players, who keep the games soft - what I really like about Party these days is that they are relentless in their bonus offers! You get 100% to $500 to start, and then they just keep on sending reloads, top-ups and extras - which run on top of their 'Challenges' scheme to keep your bankroll fat and happy!! Claim your bonus with bonus code SNGPLANET, check out the soft games at Party Now by clicking here!
Steps At Full Tilt Poker - Brilliantly Tied In With Their Tournament Buy-Ins
A new addition for the latest update of this article - Full Tilt are flourishing under the ownership of Rational Group, who run PokerStars. Their Steps have always been good - with the best thing about them how well aligned they are with the tournament buy-ins. You'll get a choice of standard, turbo and hyper-turbo steps.
The buy-ins are $3.30c, $8.70c, $26, $75 and $215.
Tickets at Step 3+ can be exchanged for tournament entries, and many of the tournaments will follow exactly this buy-in schedule - meaning you have a huge choice. There are cash prizes on offer for the highest buy-in level at Step 5, with the winners getting a cool $795.96c. The faster games are the most popular, and if you understand ICM / Push-fold strategy, then you'll certainly have an edge in these games.
Full Tilt continue to innovate, make sure you check them out soon at www.fulltiltpoker.com
RedKings Poker Steps SNGs - Steps Qualifiers, A Great Alternative For Recreational Players
Last though not least - Red Kings Poker are a premium site on the OnGame network. Their Steps Sit N Goes are run as qualifiers for their bigger online tournaments, including the "Champion Chip" Sunday Major with a €15 guarantee. While the options are more limited than at some sites, this is more than made up for by easy games you will find on this great mid-sized network.
I'll recommend these (and the SNGs in general at RedKings) for readers looking for a profitable alternative who are happy with just a few tables - you can avoid the 'pro grinders' and play some cool steps qualifiers at the same time! New players get a choice of up to 6 different sign-up bonuses at Red Kings, and you'll get an extra €300 bonus the first time you get beaten (in a cash game) holding the 2 red kings too! Click Here To Check Out RedKings Poker For Yourself Now!
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