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Single-Table Tournament (Sit and Go) Strategy

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Right off the bat I have to admit: single table tournaments (often referred to as Sit & Go tournaments) are my favorite poker games. They are a great mix of strategy that demands a degree of caution as do the larger multi table tournament games, but with the added aggressiveness that can come from seeing all of your opponents, and being able to watch them drop like flies one by one on your pursuit to first place. I love being face to face (even figuratively speaking with online poker) with each and every one of my opponents at once.

Now single table tournaments can be tricky, because there are a variety of different forms to single table tourneys. There is the basic table with ten players and normal blinds, there are short hand tables (usually with six players playing and two places in money), and “turbo” which means the blinds go up much faster than normal.

While I love all types of sit n’ go games, there are two types of tables that are consistently up for the picking. Those are “Beginner” single table tournaments, and turbo short handed hold ‘em. These two tables need to be played in a similar fashion, just with different emphasis. A beginner single table tournament is one in which first place doesn’t pay quite as much, but fourth and fifth get paid, as well. At a turbo short table you will have only six players, almost always they are weak players looking to be overly aggressive. At both tables play conservative, and when you have high pair or better, keep betting to punish them for chasing.

Here’s an example of a hand I played just today at a turbo short handed table.

My Hand: Board:
:kc: :9d: :kd: :7h: :2s: :qc: :6d:

Having seen multiple players take hands like A-10 to the river against all types of raises, or chasing a gut shot, I decided high pair was good enough for a moderate raise of twice the blinds, or $200. One player called me. The turn looked harmless so I raised $200 again. The other player called me. On the river I raised again, slightly worried about a 6-7 hand. The other player raised $50 and I called.

His Hand:
:as: :8d:

No, I’m not kidding. This person even showed off their hand, as if I was supposed to be impressed by the way he was playing. I went after that person every time I had a hand of any kind, otherwise I played conservative and let the others cut their own throat. With the full table, it is even more important to be conservative and just play your strong hands hard. At these games, you tend to find weak opponents. A good conservative style of play, where you press your hand when you have it, and keep it simple (most of these players are not good enough to understand nuances) then these games will end up being huge money makers for you, too.

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