Some people get all snobby about Sit n Gos, calling them little cousins to “proper” tournaments but they’re a great place to sharpen your poker skills. Sit and Gos are never the Cincinnati Kid or Casino Royale there’s no 24 hour death or glory Le Mans run at the table circuit. If you don’t have the stones (or the caffeine) to stay up for a long run, Sit n Goes are brilliant ways of finding out if you can actually cut it in a poker game
The general rule is T & A (Tight and Aggressive), don’t throw your money around on long shots and don’t let anyone in on the cheap, be prepared to bail out rather than get over committed. Hopefully you don’t need to remind you that as the number of players in the tournament decreases the strength of poker hands increases. I won’t go into the maths of it because we all know that if you’re up against 10 players a King high isn’t that impressive, but in a head to head situation, it is more likely to scoop the pot. (I’ll leave you to do the maths to cover the permutations in-between).
Early on don’t get tangled up with any hands when you have anything less than premium cards and be prepared to blow those sweet Queens off if you find yourself over your head with suited connectors or pairs. Warning THERE BE DRAGONS! When opportunity knocks and offers you with the best cards you can reap big early rewards as the worst players are still in it and will “gladly” pay you– but don’t do anything overly elaborate fancy, you don’t want to give the spod who doesn’t know when he should be parachuting out rivering a decent hand too often. Early on there’ll be lots of going all-in with next to nothing (they’ve been watching too many movies, and playing too many “free” tables) and playing as many hands as possible. Early on The blinds, they be low so don’t go getting into calling big bets, or chasing small pots with marginal hands. Calm down, and be sensible you should be making very solid starting hand selections and paying close attention to your positional play.
If you’re in middle position think about the players behind you. Re-raising in anything other than late positions is all too often just throwing away chips, as a later player could go all-in and leave you with a difficult decision of your own making. Don’t go playing marginal hands at the early stage as you will be consistently chipping away at your stack.
If you trust yourself (not trust to luck) you can consider staying in for the flop if it’s cheap with drawing hands, but be strict with yourself! You MUST be willing to lay down your hand if it hasn’t happened on the flop. If you can’t be trusted to do this, go ahead and play and once you’re busted out, go and think about what you’ve done. If you don’t like this piece of advice, come back when you’ve grown a pair.
Make your opponents work for it
Make them pay, make them pay and make them PAY… If you have premium hands (for the kids reading this, that’s AA, KK, QQ or maybe KA suited) then you must play them hard. Playing them soft leaves more people with more cards to do you damage. Push them out early, because t’s not about making money it’s about being the last man standing.
The exception to the rule
It can pay dividends if you throw a little cash around early on. I often like to test the table, throwing down some raises (or re-raises) out on the first couple of hands. Firstly this will let you know who you can bully and who the fearless maniac is. This is called BUYING information (there’s no such thing as a free lunch after all). Also it will make the other tight aggressive players think you might be a crazy man, so later on they might happily go all in while you’re holding an Ace high flush. The flip side of this when you’re at a site full of weak players or one with a wee starting stack of chips that you can’t afford to waste. You can also be fairly secure in the knowledge that that you will get your premium hands paid off sooner or later, so don’t waste chips, just wait your turn.
By this stage the complete idiots and bad players will have been eliminated, leaving the tricky middle stage where you’re all close to getting into the money. Now by this stage you will either have a very healthy chips stack to build on (but not blow-off by being impatient) or you will be scrapping along with an average or short stack. The important thing here is opportunity – Big Stack or small the way you’ve played so far will have got respect from the remaining players – they will have seen you have a solid tight aggressive game – added to that your early big raises on the first couple of hands puts in an element of doubt too. If your short stacked it gives you opportunity in late position to steal and get super aggressive as they will put you on a good hand also knowing that you could be prepared to go all the way with a hand – this is a huge advantage at this stage as most players tend to try and sit on their chips to make it to the money and then play more hands. TIP … Take advantage where you can. Look for scary cards you can represent on the flop. Get more aggressive on the button / late position consider stealing with semi bluff cards- hope for a fold but if not you have some outs.
I’ll add one other point here – If you are really, really short stacked with say 4/5 players left a couple of which are very loose aggressive (ie. likely to go out if they carry on playing) then there is no shame in sitting back and hoping they lose their chips before you get blinded away. Only play if you get a really decent hand – remember you WILL get called as it’s not going to break anyone to get you out – Patience – It’s better to scrap in to 3rd place and make a small profit for your time than get desperate and play a weak hand.