Sit and go strategy

Here we have a perfect example of someone who understands implicitly the underlying principles of good sixhanded SNG play but is struggling with the extra couple of jigsaw pieces to flesh out their game.

Dave is playing $5 6 seat sng's on bluesquare.

Hi, I've just been browsing through your site and its got some great tips and advice on how to consistently beat the 6 handed SNGs. However I've been trying out your strategy on Blue Square but only been breaking even at best after about ten games, the main problem being that Ive made the money 5 times but never finished first. I believe this is a result of of a number of factors.

Let me say here that that's a good return, also 10 games is a small sample and 20 or 30 is a better indicator. Breaking even is a fantastic starting point because you don't lose more money whilst you improve your game.

Firstly, Ive been following your strategy and playing extremely tight early on, folding KQs, and everything from AQ and 99, much against my better judgement I might add. However, the problem that results from such a strategy is that by the time it gets to four handed and the blinds are about 30/60, my stacks always seems to hover at about 1200-1300 and continues to dwindle as im paying money out into the blinds every other hand and its hard to pick up enough hands to steal with especially when the blinds seem to call most raises.

This is good. It means you see the value in a fold. However a lot of your folding should be done depending on position. Six handed play is very much about position, which is where almost all ring game players come a cropper when they first sit down at a six handed game.

Yes I advise folding these hands early on because you have bad players who will call hoping to catch a flop full of bricks to match their 5,9 suited, however if you have position then you should not be folding these hands.

Bear in mind that the advice I give generally is for beginning players, as the site has grown so we get more experienced players wanting help to beat the six handed game. You can see that by folding these hands early on it preserves your stack. However of course you must increase or maintain your stack to make the money.

KQs is a hand i would fold from early position but a hand I would use to take the blinds. 99 is a raising hand depending on situation.

How far should i open up my range of starting hands at this point? Should I raise with Q8off or continue to fold it? How about 68off, K5s etc? By raising these hands aren't I in danger of playin too loose and running into hands which dominate me?

Much too loose. All these hands are junk because you always face the very real possibility of someone shoving on you.

As a result of folding these marginal hands, by the time the blinds get to 50/100 my stack is usually around 1000 and quickly dwindles to about 800 in 2 orbits if I dont pick up any decent raising hands, in which case im forced to push all in with mediocre hands like K7 and either double up or go bust.
As the blinds quickly go up to 100/200, and if Ive doubled up my stack is hovering at about 1500, Im forced to start pushing again with the marginal hands for fear of getting blinded out. Hence when i do make it heads up im a huge short stack and always seem to finish second, or get knocked out third in a 60-40 All In.

This is the game. This is what it is all about. This is the struggle. It is a poker struggle. This is how you get good.

You won't always have great cards. And often you are not going to get anywhere by waiting for them when blinds are high. Recognising opportunities to steal and understanding who are the weaker players you can steal from is what it is all about.

There is no "correct" formula. Poker is a game of luck and skill. Your edge is being able to raise with less than stellar hands in tight spots and keep yourself alive.

While I agreee with the idea of playing tight in principle (not risking too much chips early on when the blinds are low and knowing that that you cant win a tournament in the early stages, only loose it), it seems from my experience that by folding premium hands such as AJ and KQ early on when the blinds are .

Instead of forfitting my premium hands early in favour of marginal ones in the critical high blind stage, would it not be better to play those hands early on and use my superior skill to try and take down a couple of pots and build a small chip lead?

Anyone can play great hands in the early stages. If you hit the flop fantastic. If you miss it's your ability to be able to discard in the face of resistance that is your skill. Playing average hands and losing/winning is the average players skill level.

Very often you will raise with AQ get called with J10 and flop comes with 10, 6,7. Folding is your skill. Believing you are beat is your skill. Think cash game here.

In addition, getting your chips in the middle when you have hit the flop is your skill. Learning how to get paid off is a skill. Letting a player bluff at you is a skill.

This is not meant as a criticism to your advice because i think this website is a great resource, this is merely an inquiry as to why this system doesnt seem to be working for me and what advice you could give  to improve my SNG game. Am i playing too tight, or not aggressive enough? should I continuation bet every flop I miss regardless of position, and if i get a caller should i continue firing on the turn or shut it down? And when i do get the monster pocket pair should i risk limping in to win a big pot or is min raising the way to go?

Never limp. People will not always believe you. Very often I've flopped a full house and bet big getting called down. Don't give free cards. Don't slow play, the game is too cruel.

Sorry if ive rambled on a bit, but I am keen to apply the principles and strategy laid out on this website in a winning style which will increase my bankroll. Any feedback you could offer would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
Dave.

Fantastic! All good stuff. Becoming a winning player involves more than just following the basics, but you are off to a great start! Good luck!