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Strategy for Single-Table Sit-And-Go Tournaments

An extremely popular format on online sites like PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker is the single-table sit-and-go tournament. These tournaments are popular since they run 24 hours a day and start as soon as a table of nine or ten is filled. Entry fees range from $1 to hundreds of dollars, and the tournament typically pays the last three finishers. Players typically start with $1,000 or $1,500 in tournament chips.
Here is some basic strategy for playing these single-table SNG tournaments online.
Conservative Play Early to Build a Stack - In the early rounds of a typical single-table SNG, the blinds are very small relative to the chip stacks around the table (usually $10/$20 blinds to a stack average of $1,500). In this situation, conservative play is generally a stable, secure and profitable tactic. In the early rounds, most pots will be fiercely contested, so make sure you have a real hand when you get involved.
During the early period, it is time to observe the other players at the table and collect valuable information about what kind of cards they're playing. Are they playing extremely tight and only betting on premium hands or are they playing any two suited or connected cards?
Aggressive Play in the Middle to Steal Uncontested Pots - Middle rounds of play are characterized by a number of important elements. Several players have been knocked out; the blinds have increased to 10% to 20% of the original stacks ($100-$200 blinds); and the remaining players holding a substantial stack won’t want to risk their chances of going out on the bubble (i.e., finishing without earning any money).
These elements mean that players will tighten up and play more conservatively, and you should be able to steal some pots any time you sense weakness on the part of your opponents. This means you can generally move in for the minimum raise with any two reasonable cards. If you are raised (which at this stage generally represent a strong hand, not a bluff), you can fold (unless you yourself are holding a real hand) without having to suffer too much damage.
Utilize Your Big Stack to Close Out the Tournament – In the final stages of the tournament, the field will typically be reduced to three or so players and the blinds will be large relative to the stack sizes of the remaining players. If you've got a big stack relative to the others, you will be the favorite just by playing solid poker. If you find yourself short stacked in the late stages of the tournament, try to hold on for a decent starting hand, push all-in when you think you’ve got a good chance, and hope to get lucky and double up!


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