Sit and go strategy

Never call a raise with your junk.

If someone is raising then it means they have a hand.

This is low limit poker and if you start calling raises because you think someone is stealing then it's going to end up in tears.

Even if it's pretty obvious that someone is stealing your blinds in the early part of the SNG you have to let them get on with it. One time they will try to steal when you have a hand and the chips you win back will more than outweigh the chips they managed to steal from you in the first place.

Seat six gets spanked for calling for the umpteenth time.

The only way you can combat the stealing is by reraising when you have a hand, but of course you have to be aware that they may actually have a hand as well when doing this. But the chances of them having it are reduced.

If you call with junk like K9 suited then you are asking for big trouble. This is not the WSOP or a tournament where you can afford to spew a few chips and not worry too much about it. Every single chip counts.

The chances are you are going to miss the flop when you call and when your opponent bets as he undoubtedly will, you are not in a position to make another call without making an unrepairable dent in your stack.

When you are playing six handed you have to remember that middle hands like Q 10 are absolutely no use to you to make a call. You must have at least an Ace or a pair to be able to make a call here.

In general if you are playing a six max SNG you will play a maximum of about four hands before you start to feel any heat. Playing those three or four hands should aim to put you on about 2000 chips by the time the blinds move up to 50/100.

All you do by trying to defend your blinds by calling raises is to donk off chips that would have made you feel more comfortable by the time the blinds get to this level. If you have let go of a load of chips by this stage then the odds of you having to move all in with a decent hand are increasing.

There are enough limpers in this game to ensure that you will get to see your fair share of flops on the big blind and that also makes folding to a steal a more compelling play because you will constantly get the opportunity to play from the big blind which would not normally happen in a ring game.

If someone raises in front of you you simply can not call. It's either a reraise or a fold. Even if you have Aces and someone raises in front of you, you have to reraise them. There is no way you want to be seeing or playing on the flop with these people because they will get lucky on your arse and bounce you out.

Equally you can not slow play. If you hit a big flop when someone calls your re raise then you have to make them pay big time by following up with a big bet. Nearly all the time they will move all in on you to try and steal and you can laugh at their pathetic attempt to bluff you.

You can't call to "see a flop". If you start doing this you will just spew off chips that you need when the opportunity presents itself to double up. How many times have you played with sub standard cards and lost a whack of chips in a tourney only to get KK or AA a couple of hands later?

This is one of the reasons why patience is so vital in these short handed SNG's. Everybody and his dog thinks that the way to play is to bluff and rebluff and raise with junk. When they run into a player who waits for a real hand before making a move they are finished.

The only time you can reasonably call to see a flop is when you have 77 through to 99 and you can see if the flop comes high or low cards. The problem with this is that even if the flop comes with a couple of low cards there is usually something higher than 7,8 or 9 and so it makes it difficult to bet with confidence.

And essentially that is the essence of our gameplay. When we get a real hand we play it to extract the maximum amount of chips we possibly can from our opponent. There is no trickery, no slow playing, no slow rolling or any fancy stuff. It is straightforward tight aggressive poker and always playing with a hand.

At this level others will always be bluffing you and calling with sub par hands and draws. The beauty of playing with better hands is that when the time comes to put all your chips in the middle you are usually way, way ahead and they have to get lucky on you to win

Of course this happens and it wouldn't be poker if aces couldn't be cracked but by constantly going in with the better hand you reduce the chances of getting sucked out on.

For example.

Your opponent has A Clubs 9 Hearts in the cut off and raises a standard raise three times the big blind.

You have 36 Clubs suited and make the call hoping to get lucky.

Bingo! You do. The flop Is A, 6, 3 rainbow and you are well ahead. You make a half pot bet and get called.

The turn card is a 2 and you still figure to be way ahead. More chips get committed.

The river comes a 9 and now you are dead. Did your opponent get lucky?

You have no one to blame but yourself for playing this trashy hand. Sure Gus Hansen and the like make it look easy but there is a major difference in the way this is played.

When Gus hansen raises with trash he is raising. Not calling.

When his opponent lays down a winning hand it is because of the money at stake in the tournament and serious pressure. The best poker players have a healthy or unhealthy disregard of money when it comes to poker.

In our $10 SNG it is not going to make much difference and you are going to get called with trash hands.

The idea is not to call with trash full stop. Junk hands will just get you into trouble or donk off chips that you need to play with when you have a real hand.

Or in the above example you call with A 5. Now you are in the brown stuff up to your neck. Unless you hit a 5 it's very difficult to get away from this hand.

The only way to play your A5 in this spot is to reraise. And when you get called you know you are beat. Better to just fold in the first place and wait for something better.

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