Sit and go tournaments are very popular among poker fans of all levels and backgrounds. It is a special kind of tournament, which starts automatically once the required quota of players is filled. This number can range from 2 to 360 players, most common are the 6 (6-MAX) and 9 (9-MAX) players, although each platform has its own limits, so it is necessary to know in advance what is the volume of players that moves each room before starting to play.
What is a Sit and Go?
Sit & Go tournaments are to poker what friendlies are to soccer with friends: they are quick-start competitive games in which it is possible to enter and leave at any time. Also known as SNGs, these competitions have no set start time, so they can be on at any time of the day.
That allows any player who wants to start playing poker in a sit ‘n go tournament to do so at virtually any time of the day. Getting in and out quickly for a quick game of poker is what makes these types of competitions special.
Sit and Go: technical concepts
But let’s go beyond generalities and move on to analyze some of the most important technical aspects of sit and go poker. As in any poker modality, strategic elements such as odds are crucial, so let’s stop point by point to study them.
Odds, pot odds and implied odds
As you probably already know, when we talk about odds, we refer to the options for and against something happening. It is the most efficient way to express the probability that you have to get something. Normally, we talk about odds with poker examples that can sometimes confuse the most novice player instead of clarifying what odds are, so let’s simplify it as much as possible.
Think of something as simple as a die, what is the probability that a specific number will come up? One, because each number is marked only once on the die. But there are six possible choices, so the odds for this case would be 0.16, a figure we get as a result of dividing 1 by 6. In other words, out of 100 times, the probability of getting a particular number is 16%, in this case.
Odds can be used as a tool to find out what is the relationship between the odds and the pot money. In that case, we speak of pot odds.
Calculating pot odds is key to know what is the right amount to bet at each moment of the game. Knowing which bet to face and which one to reject is fundamental. And how do we know if a bet is profitable or not? Very simple: if it offers us more money per euro bet than the amount of money per euro offered by the odds of that particular play, the bet will be profitable. If this is not the case, we can pass on it.
As for the implicit odds, we could define them as those future options that have their importance in the current odds. They are calculated by dividing the amount you could win in a specific pot by the chips you are putting into that pot.
And what is the difference between pot odds and implied odds? Well, the first ones are valid only for the here and now, that is to say, they are only valid for that hand with that specific pot. The second ones take into account future actions and can be adjusted in later hands.
In addition, with implied odds it can be the case that, on paper, the numbers say that it will not be profitable to see a bet, but in practice by letting the bet run we see in later streets that the profitability is there. That is why they are a type of odd reserved for advanced players: here it is not enough to calculate, but to know how to anticipate the game.
Kickers and free cards
The kicker is the card that does not come into play directly, but can be decisive, for example, to break a tie. This is no different in sit ‘n go: poker is a game in which the best hand wins, and often a good play is only separated from the abyss by a good kicker. If, for example, your opponent and you reach the end of the round with the same hand, but his kicker is stronger than yours, you will be dominated and, therefore, you will lose.
As for the free card, the so-called free cars are a useful resource when we occupy the last relative position by raising the last bet. From here we imply that we are in a strong position, encouraging a “check to the raiser” that comes in handy where we are.
If we get that on the next card no one dares to bet (good sign, that means that they have swallowed our raise), when our turn comes, we can check to win a free card. That is, we do not bet on the next street and we save a bet. Well done, this can come in handy.
Continuation bets and pot commitment
Continuation bets, continuation bets or c-bets are bets on the flop made by the player who raises preflop. This is, therefore, the player who opens the pot on the flop. Is it a bluff? Not really, although we could consider them as a semibluff. It is not the optimal play, of course, but it has the potential to become so on later streets.
C-bets are a bet that allows you to build the pot if you take the initiative. Although it is a very profitable type of bet, it must be used at the right time to maintain its strength, otherwise it will be a useless move.
If you have not bet continuously preflop, the continuation bet will be of little use. It is also not very effective if the opponents have not been isolated, since, against more than two villains, the c-bet will not benefit us at all. Remember this: the more players there are in the hand, the less convenient it is to make a continuation bet. And this applies in sit and go tournaments as well as in any other type of poker game.
Let’s move on to pot commitment. In sit n go poker games, if there is between 20% and 25% of your stack in the pot, the appropriate bet is usually to go all-in. The theory says that, when you have put more than 33% of your stack in the pot and there are still cards left, you can put yourself in a place where folding is only contemplated if you are outclassed. So: in sit & go poker tournaments, that threshold has to be lowered.
And based on what other factors should you consider committing to the pot? Basically, on these three:
– Odds (implied odds and pot odds as well).
– Probability of bluff
– Specific time of the tournament
And don’t forget to take into account the errors of reading the game, which can make you go very determined and get yourself into a delicate situation. No matter how much experience you have, always consider the reading errors factor, that is, always add a margin of error to your calculations.
ICM in sit & go poker: pros and cons
Let’s move on to other technical concepts of sit n go poker. The ICM, which stands for Independent Chip Model, is the ratio of the money we expect to win or lose in the tournament to the chips we expect to win or lose in a move. What is the ICM used for in sit n go poker games? To determine your equity of finishing in a particular position. This allows you to associate each dollar in the pot to the size of your stack.
A fundamental aspect related to the ICM is the risk/reward balance. The ICM values any player equally, and this, although on paper is effective, in reality is not so perfect, since there are many nuances that define the game of each opponent.
It is in the final stages of the tournament that the MCI is most valuable. In addition, it should be noted that doubling the stack does not necessarily imply doubling the equity, an erroneous relationship among those who do not have much experience in this type of tournaments.
For the ICM to take effect, it is elementary to properly estimate the range. It is highly convenient to make an accurate estimation of the range of cards with which we should go all-in, and the range of cards with which we see that all-in. In this regard, we will always need stronger cards to see the raise than to raise, since to see it we will have to have better cards than those we need to raise from our position, something that is reflected in the concept of Sklansky’s gap.