Development of sit'n gos


sit'n go

Tournament poker is becoming a mainstream sport. Encouraged by television, more and more players are entering tournaments for a shot at a big payday. It's quite understandable; where else can you turn a mere $100 investment into thousands and thousands of dollars in a single day?

As more and more players join, buy-ins for major tournaments are getting bigger and bigger. Main events at major tournaments are usually in the thousands to enter. For the amateur player, investing thousands of dollars into a single event can be quite overwhelming. And let's be honest, in order to compete optimally in a tournament, you should never have the fear of losing your investment hovering over your head.

There is, however, an alternative to investing thousands into a single event. You can choose to spend a much smaller sum by entering a single-table satellite and moving on to the big event if you win a seat. Satellites are available for big events (like the $10,000 World Series of Poker Championship) and, more and more frequently, for much smaller events even in the low hundreds.

For example, if you wish to enter a $2,000 buy-in tournament but can't afford it, you might want to enter a 10-player satellite that will cost you only $200. The winner of the table will move on to the $2,000 event. This is a nice opportunity for many players to get a shot at a huge prize for a minimal investment.

As satellites have been getting very popular, a new breed of single table tournaments has cropped up: sit'n gos. Mostly spread online, single table sit-n gos are fun and popular. They have become a regular part of internet poker. At any time of the day, you can sit at a table and as soon as there are ten players the tournament will go. If you don't want to spend hours playing a multi-table tournament but still want to experience the feel of playing in a tournament, sit'n gos are for you.

These single table tournaments can be very profitable to the experienced player. You can enter many of them during a single day and make a nice long-term profit. One of the main reasons for this is that the action gets short-handed near the end. This benefits the more experienced players because they usually have an edge in short-handed play over the typical amateur.

Structurally speaking, satellites and sit'n gos are almost identical. Of course, satellites are usually spread in traditional cardrooms and sit'n gos in online cardrooms making for differences in the nature of the games that will impact your strategy (absence of physical tells online, ability to play more than one game, etc.). Concretely, however, the same number of players are involved, they last the same time, and the structure is similar. At a glance, both forms appear to require the same strategy. They are, however, very different in one aspect: the number of players making a profit. This subtle difference means that your strategy should be adjusted considerably depending on the type in which you are competing.

Since the object of poker is to maximize your profit, it is normal for your strategy to be based on what will make you the most money in the long run. You must, therefore, adjust your strategy according to the prize structure.

In a single table satellite, there is usually only one winner. This means that you have to accumulate all the chips to win some money. In a sit'n go, the top three finishers make money.

Basically, in a satellite you should not be making many adjustments as you get close to the money (close to the end). Folding a marginal hand when a smaller number of players are left in the hopes of striking a deal is usually a bad play, unlike in a traditional tournament where it can have merit. The goal in a satellite is to get all the chips.

Specifically, this means that in satellites you should play your normal ring game strategy most of the time. The fact that you are in a tournament setting is almost irrelevant. In sit'n gos and multi-table tournaments you should frequently forgo small edges in the hopes of gaining a larger edge later, or in creeping up another level on the pay scale. In a satellite, if a play has a positive expectation, you should make it, regardless of the fact that you can be eliminated from the satellite. For example, if you have a flush draw and you are getting proper odds to call, even for all of your chips, you should call even if it means that you will be knocked out more often than not.

In a sit'n go, when you get short-handed, you should frequently adjust your strategy so that you can sneak up another level in the money. For example, if four players are left and you have a small stack, you might decide to pass on a marginal situation like big slick. You are hoping another short-stacked player will go all-in and be eliminated, moving you into the money. Making a play like this might cost you some tournament chips, but it will earn you more dollars in the long run.

Poker is a very complicated game; that's what makes it so interesting. As an amateur player, try out pokerstars one-table tournaments. Simply know that in order to compete optimally you need to understand that the type of tournament determines the correct strategy.

Liv Boeree is still very single, but the line at her door is getting longer by the minute. Good luck to Liv for a long poker career full of tournament winnings.


This is a Liv Boeree fan site, not authorized or endorsed by Liv Boeree. As Liv Boeree is our favorite female poker player and model, we had to show our appreciation.