There are several poker games and formats to pick from. We may play for cash, participate in sit-and-go tournaments (also known as single-table tournaments or STTs), or compete in multi-table tournaments while playing no-limit hold’em (MTTs).
Due to the difficulties of securing live SNG events in locations other than the WSOP, SNGs are frequently viewed as the most specialized format of the three. Regardless, the format has a lot of appealing aspects, including the ability to raise your bankroll and get a critical final table experience for MTT players. In this post, we’ll look at some of the compelling reasons to put your time and money into single-table tournaments (SNGs), as well as provide a high-level overview of how to defeat them.
Some SNG History
Single-table tournaments are said to have existed since the World Series of Poker’s beginning. The astute event organizers understood that the $10,000 entry cost for the main event would dissuade many players, but that giving a single-table, winner-take-all qualifier for a seat in the main event would both prolong the tournament and attract a wider spectrum of players.
The growth of the internet gambling industry provided a new market for single-table tournament gaming, which quickly gained popularity. It’s also worth mentioning that they were the first poker variation to be properly tested using the GTO methodology. The explanation for this is self-evident.
Because the majority of a typical SNG is played at a shallow stack level, the mathematical analysis may be simplified. In its most basic form, a GTO solution can be reduced to one street of preflop play. And, by the mid-2000s, early training sites like PokerXFactor had done just that, to the point that, by the end of the decade, many players stated that SNG play had been solved and it was time to move on to something new.
It is important to note that just though a game has a solution does not indicate that the average player understands what it is. There is a notable distinction between the two. However, online SNG experts realized that their ROIs were constantly deteriorating as a result of easily-applicable tactics supplied by training sites. As a result of this tendency, interest in online SNGs started to wane. As a result of this tendency, fewer card rooms provided the format in a live setting, making SNG experts an endangered species.
Why Should You Participate in SNGs?
Given this background information and the claim that SNG issues have been rectified, you may be wondering why we would bother to explore the Single-Night-Guild-Game poker format at all. Even if being a specialist isn’t your long-term objective, we believe that expanding your game to include SNGs may be beneficial, and we’ve outlined a few of the reasons why below.
To begin, single-table tournaments are a fantastic method to build your bankroll. When playing poker for real money, most websites provide “turbo” versions of the game that may be finished in less than 30 minutes while still giving a good player a substantial edge over their opponents. (While some players say that their speed allows them to produce a fair hourly rate, we recommend avoiding hyper-turbos because they are more of a gamble than anything else.) This quick speed only allows you to participate in a large number of SNGs, especially if you play at many tables, allowing you to compensate for volatility with the most effective tool available: sheer volume.
To expand on the preceding point, the most prevalent reason for a player to be in the bankroll-building stage of their poker career is that they are still relatively new to the game of poker, or at the very least to effectively play poker. A basic technique that is appropriate for players with little prior expertise will help you reach a high win rate in SNGs. This is elaborated on and discussed more below.
Final Table Preparation for the MTT
The first three places in many different forms of MTTs get the majority of the prize pool. As a result, your ability to negotiate final table play may have a major influence on your long-term return on investment from MTTs. It’s astonishing how many players in a live tournament will take a bad deal at the final table, then quietly explain to their other competitors, “I had to take a deal, I’m stinking short-handed.”
Leaving aside for the time the question of why someone lacking in short-handed abilities would enter a tournament requiring them, the reality remains that gaining experience at the final table is tough. Making it to the final table and developing the necessary competence in large-field multi-table tournaments is extremely difficult. This is especially true for first-time players. SNGs are an effective answer to this problem.
Time and flexibility are critical
Many players like competing in tournaments, but their “real lives” duties prevent them from doing so. Online systems that have significantly extended the period for MTT late registration have aggravated the matter. Competitions in which the juice may be beaten in real time sometimes have slower frameworks, requiring a complete day to be set up to compete.
We are aware of a large number of players that are compelled to play cash games. This is not because they enjoy the structure of these games; rather, they enjoy the flexibility to join and leave the table whenever they choose, which is frequently required of them for them to participate at all. SNGs provide the excitement of a tournament without the need for extensive preparation or the rigidity of a tournament schedule.
What is the Strategy for Beating SNG?
We won’t be able to provide a comprehensive explanation in the scope of this post, but we can provide an overview:
Maintain a high level of precision and play strongly at first
The primary purpose of participating in a single-table event (SNG) is to earn money. The top three finishers in a standard nine-handed single-table event are awarded. In a single-table tournament, the phrase “playing to win” is completely inaccurate (SNG). You are competing for third place. When you have enough money in your pocket, you may begin playing to win. This is an inherent consequence of the traditional 50/30/20 pay-out formula.
When the blinds are rapidly increasing in the early stages of the game, there is little to gain and a lot to lose by risking in the pots that are being played out. This is particularly true early in the game before the ante is activated.
Where do we stand in terms of perfect performance? This is the meat of the topic, and the specifics require a whole training session rather than a few pages here since they are so in-depth. The fundamentals, on the other hand, are less complicated than they appear.
Because SNG blind sizes are continuously growing, effective stacks will soon fall below 25 big blinds. Look for 3-bet-shove opportunities over open raises between 15 and 25 big blinds. When the effective stack size falls below 15 bb, you should begin looking for open push opportunities.
You’ve probably heard of the term “ICM pressure.” This occurs during tournaments when your opponent must have a solid hand to call your preflop push. The effect is seen in SNGs, particularly on the bubble, where your shoves cause a huge number of players to fold their cards. This is one of the reasons why people have a “tight early” mindset. It will be much simpler to raise your stack as the game progresses if the blinds and antes are huge and you continue to accept them.
Knowing the right ranges, as well as a significant part of the game, is crucial for success in contemporary poker. In single-table tournaments, unlike 100-bb cash games, that is all you need to know (SNGs). Please, no convoluted, post-flop, multi-street bullshit. Simply fine-tune your preflop ranges using a tool like the HoldemResources Calculator or the ICMizer, and you’ll be able to play the crucial aspects of these events properly. If you avoid high-stakes SNG competition against poker pros, you should have little trouble turning a profit.