A Sit-and-Go (or sit-n-go or sitngo) is a kind of tournament in which you pay a buy-in, sit in a table where everyone gets the same number of chips, and play until there is only one left. The blinds go up after a specific time, or after a specific number of hands is played. It is the fever of online poker nowadays, with a lot of players playing for fun and profit.
Usually, sit-n-gos have only one table, with six or ten participants. They start as soon as the last player joins, so you can find tables 24h a day. You can also find sitngos with only two players (heads-up), and up to 5 tables.
Let me tell you why you should be playing sit-and-gos:
Easy money management. Let’s say it has a $5 buy-in. That’s it, even if you play really bad, you only lose the buy-in. In cash games you could lose a lot more, from putting more money in every time you are knocked out.
Good payouts. In multi-table tournaments, only 10-15% of players finish in the money. In Sit-n-gos, pay-out goes to 30-50% of players. Most of the time, a ten players table pays for 3 players, and a six-handed table pays for 2.
Bonus tip: You can find some rooms (Titan Poker, for example) that have six-players tables paying for 3 players. It can be good for practice, but the third place usually get a prize equal or slightly higher than the buy-in.
Faster games. While in multitable tournaments you can play for two, three or even six hours (sometimes getting no prize in return), in sit-and-gos, the full tournament can be finished in 30 to 90 minutes.
But how should you play the sit-n-gos? What should be your strategy? Take a look at the following errors that are committed very often in these games, and try to avoid them at all costs.
Loose playing. Sit and Go tables usually have very loose players, specially early in the tourney, and in lower buy-ins (up to $22). So, if you play the right way (tight aggressive), you have a much better chance of finishing in the money. But be aware that, sometimes, the loose player may actually have a good hand, so avoid calling their big raises unless you have something good. You have to control your desire to knock-out players that raise a lot.
Example: you are holding A9, the flop comes J93. You check, the opponent (a loose one) bets the minimum. You call, and a 3 comes. You bet a moderate bet, and your opponent raises all-in. You have seen him making raises like that with nothing, but calling here would be wrong most of the time.
Virtual money madness. People that play sit-n-gos with lower buy-ins sometimes get a disease called “Virtual money madness”. After they pay the buy-in, they feel like there is no real money involved, only virtual chips, so they forget about the rules, the strategy and good manners. The main symptoms are: (a) bluffing with crap hands; (b) cursing in the chat box; (c) limping in every hand hoping to get lucky; (d) and committing most of their pots to bad draws (like a gut-shot draw); (e) going all-in pre-flop with hands like AQo. This “disease” is very contagious, so avoid talking to them, but the good news is – they are the ones donating money to the good players; you just have to know they exist, to avoid making the same mistakes.
Now you know how Sit-and-gos work, so sign-up to a poker room, join a low buy-in sitngo, and try this strategy. You will be in a much better shape than most of your opponents.
– Be careful when you choose your sit’n’go table, because there are some types called FAST or TURBO. These games increase the blinds faster than usual, increasing the luck factor of the game. Let me explain: since the blinds go up faster, if you get too tight, you will lose most of your chips before getting a good hand. In this kind of sit-and-go, you have to be a little more loose, limping in to see extra flops, but you should do it when you are in a good position.
– There are a handful of softwares that can help during the tournament, providing tips and statistical information. A personal favorite is Sit-And-Go Shark. This piece of software provides real time text information about the actions you should take. With sitngo shark, you get to know if you should seek a draw or fold right away, or if you should be raising for value, for example. I think it is a great addition to your poker arsenal, and it has helped me a lot. For more information, check their website here. For a more detailed analysis of poker softwares, check the article: The truth about poker cheats, poker bots and other softwares.