Since a lot of novice players that I have coached start out with SnG’s, I wanted to spend a little time today talking about small SnG’s and how to consistently make the money. If you find yourself playing 6-18 player SnG’s and you are not making the money at least the majority of the time, you are probably simply playing too loose.
First of all, if you are a beginning to intermediate poker player and you spend most of your poker time playing SnG’s, then good for you! These small tournaments may not make you rich any time soon, but they are a great bang for your buck experience-wise. You cannot gain more experience for a cheaper price by playing any games instead of small SnG’s. You will see alot of hands from a lot of different situations (small stacked, big stacked, on the bubble, etc) and you can do no worse than lose your buy-in. Great deal and a smart way to play poker.
The first problem some players have with SnG’s is that they get way too impatient. Folks, you can get to the money or close to it, by playing very few hands in a small SnG. You generally do not have to take chances. Throw away that A-rag. If you try to play K-Jo and get raised, let it go, there will be better opportunities. This is the number one mistake that is made in these tournaments; because it is a small, quick, tournament, everybody wants to double up early. You don’t have to. The only thing you need to do is not waste chips on speculative hands and wait for your opportunity. Trust me, wait for that A-K and you will more than likely get someone playing A-6o against you and have them dominated.
Don’t be afraid to limp with hands like small pairs and suited connectors. I know, I know, raising is good and you always want to raise, but in a small SnG where you only have 1500 in starting chips, you do not want to commit 300 chips trying to play 6-6 too strongly. You will find limping in with these hands (if you can) gives you a chance to see a lot of flops for cheap, but doesn’t over commit you with a hand that just will not hold up if it misses the flop. Remember, you are not deep stacked like you would be in a large multi-table tournament, so you cannot throw away large portions of your stack trying to hit a big one! You should be able to get into more than a few of these hands for 5% of your stack or less. If you can’t, don’t!
Play your big hands strong. Do not get too cute with A-K or K-K or you will find too many limpers in the hand trying to suck out on you. Obviously, you need some action, so this is very dependent upon the temprement of your table, but try to avoid giving too many cheap cards away when you are dominant.
Follow these basics, don’t stray, and you will find yourself in the money more often than not. Tomorrow we will talk more about how to WIN SnG’s and what to do if you still find yourself busting out too often.
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