Sit and go strategy

Raising Your Hand

Don't try any funny stuff. Just play a straight poker game.

It's early in the tourney. Blinds are 30/60. You are in seat 3 next to the button. Everybody folds to you and you have AK. What to do?

If you raise then you are likely to scare everybody out of the pot.

If you limp then you are letting people have a free look at a flop and giving them the chance to get lucky.

Seat Two admires the fireworks.

So you decide to minimum raise. Lo and behold every man and his brothers, sisters and dog follow you into the pot. Now you have committed to a four way pot and the chances of someone hitting their crappy hand has just greatly increased. You play out the hand, get busted by someone who hit trip 8's against your K high and type into the chat box "you moron, how can you call that raise".

The good thing is that there are a lot of cash players playing this game. So if you are good you can build a bankroll out of these SNG's. But if you limp raise any hand anytime you are asking for trouble. Just don't do it.

So the correct play here is a three times the blind raise. Everybody folds and you pick up the blinds.

This is exactly what you want.

Not what you wanted?

You wanted a caller?

Nope, you don't want callers here. If someone calls then they are either planning on getting lucky or they have a weaker kicker. You don't want people hitting a seven to bust you.

If you miss the flop then you have two choices.

Choice One. Fold.

This is my preferential line. Especially early on. Sure, you could be laying down the best hand but you need to understand that to win at this game that's exactly what you need to do.

There are literally thousands of poker players playing at these SNG's and you will be facing different opponents virtually everytime you play a game. You have absolutely no idea of what they are capable of playing.

More often than not it is something they should never have called with like JQ offsuit and they hit the Q or J. You just don't know and therefore you have to check fold.

Even if the flop is 346 you could be well beaten by a four, five suited and the best decision is to fold.

In the early stages of playing this is difficult to do. It's not easy to patiently wait for a hand and then have to lay it down when you miss the flop. But it's better than spewing off chips in the hope of catching on the turn or river by which time you could be comprehensively beaten anyway.

Choice Two. Bet into the pot and hope your opponent folds.

If they have A rag then they will likely fold. But if they have a piece of the flop there is no way they are folding and you just lost more chips than you should have.

If you get called the best way to play is to consider that your opponent has a hand. It's very easy to think that you are way ahead when in fact you are way behind. Too many players keep betting at a pot when they have absolutely nothing.

Remember that your caller could be a beginner and called with 5,6 suited. Or they called with 33 and hit their set. There are any number of permuations here but in general you should make the decision to fold and move on.

In limit hold 'em this is generally what constitutes a winning player, the ability to be able to wait for a hand, see it miss and then throw it away. Very often your AK is up against any pair and once the flop has come without hitting you are way behind.

Winning the blinds is a good result for you anyway. It keeps your stack intact, there is smaller risk and as the blinds go up all of those limpers start to be put under pressure as their stack gets whittled away.

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