Our legal poker guide offers

  • Poker Reviews
  • State Laws
  • Comparison Guide

Beginners Sit N' Go Poker Strategy

Sit N Goes are Great Bankroll Builders – Here is How to Beat Them

Head to any poker site and you’ll always find three distinct types of games – cash games, tournaments and sit and goes. Of these, new players won’t always want to head to the cash games – which can be a fast way to lose cash for players not used to online poker.

Many beginners head to the tournaments and sit and goes, as the fixed buy-in here offers a level of certainty. Many of the tournaments can be a large time commitment, though sit and goes offer a great, shorter alternative. This guide starts with a look at why the bubble is so important in sit and goes. Then your average single table sit and go is broken down into three sections – with strategy outlined for the beginning, the middle and the end stages.

Sit and Go – Why is the Bubble So Important?

The ideal strategy for sit and goes is heavily influenced by the jumps in prize money. In a cash game, you’ll simply win what you win. In a multi table tournament, the jumps in pay rise as you move closer to finishing first, so much of your focus should be on finishing top of the pile. However, in a single table sit and go, the jump from the bubble to finishing third has the same value as the jump between finishing 2nd and 1st. This makes for a game where the bubble is all important. Math, including the popular ‘Independent Chip Model’ (ICM) will show you that the value of chips won in a single table sit and go are worth less than the chips you lose – check out our ‘Math in Sit and Go Tournaments’ for more info on ICM.

By getting to the bubble (4 players remaining) stage, you’ll put yourself in the position to make money from your opponent’s mistakes. Opponent’s that do not understand and adjust to the fact that chips have declining incremental value will give away a lot of money. You can profit from sit n goes simply by adjusting your own strategy in a way that lets you take advantage of this.

Sit and Go Strategy – Early Stages

The motto ‘tight is right’ is especially true when playing in the early stages of a sit and go. You should only stick to playing premium hands or playing decent hands in position. Your main focus should be on protecting your chip stack, although of course, if you do look down and see AA or KK and a player has already pushed all-in, then gladly take their chips. However, try to avoid coin-flips for all your chips. The equity (net worth in the tournament) lost by the losing player in a coin flip is split between all the players left at the table. Yes, the winning player in the flip gains most of the equity, but a small portion of the equity goes to every other player. So, every time you see a flip you are not involved in, consider it a win!

Sit and Go Strategy – Middle Stages

The game becomes a bit trickier during the middle stages, but if you used the approach above, you should certainly head into this stage with a decent sized stack. At this stage, it’s not quite so easy to just sit tight and wait for those big hands. The blinds are becoming larger and eventually sitting tight will start to seriously eat into your stack. It’s important to keep a solid sized stack for the later stages as you’ll want to be able to put pressure on players around the bubble. To achieve this, you have to be the aggressor. You’ll want to be raising and re-raising and winning lots of small pots. You won’t want to be calling, unless you really do have the goods to do this.

Sit and Go Strategy – Bubble and in the Cash

On the bubble you’ll certainly need to play aggressively. Your aim is to NOT to get involved in a showdown for all your chips, but this seems counter-intuitive to the fact that you have to play aggressively. Once again, you certainly won’t want to be calling, instead you will be wanting to put the pressure on other players by raising and pushing all-in. Other players won’t want to be calling either, so a raise or a push (if you have less than 10 big blinds a push all-in is your only option) will regularly achieve its aim of being unchallenged.

With the blinds large at this point, a couple of blind steals can make a huge difference.  Around the bubble you can see hand after hand where one player shoves and everyone else folds, so the most aggressive player at this stage can certainly grab an edge. You have to apply some common sense too. If you are a mid stack and likely to cash as there is a tiny stack left on the bubble, you should certainly avoid tangling with the large stack. If a mid stack does raise in this situation, if you have the large stack you can re-raise knowing there is a huge chance that the mid stack will avoid the confrontation and fold.

The game changes slightly when all three players have made the money. Players are more likely to call that all-in at this stage, so take this into account. The blinds will now be huge in relation to the stack sizes, so all-ins can be the only option. Decent holdings such as two picture cards, an ace or any pair can certainly be shoved at this point.