Before we get into the strategies of early stages, middle stages, late stages, then taking down first place you must understand how crucial 4 key tactics are that almost always go unnoticed. Observing players during a game is extremely important, because once you figure a player out you can take advantage of them. For example if someone always raises and then bets the pot right after a raise, or if a player is constantly being bullied and pushed off hands take notes. Note taking is free on every poker site and is a valuable tool that most people haven’t even used. These notes you take will help you in later stages of the Sit&Go tournament or in future Sit&Go’s. When you start playing Sit&Go’s hours a day, on average 5 at a time, you will start seeing many of the same players over and over especially if you stick to one site.
When you observe players, you must be aware of 3 categories. Short stacks, Mid Stack, and the Large stack. Let’s start off with the short stack. Short stacks are more than likely to go all in with average hands such as an extremely low pocket pair or Ace and a low off suite card. When you are in a hand with a short stack you should rarely bluff, because more than likely the majority of their chip stack is already in the pot and they will not be scared to dump the rest of it in. When you are entering a pot with an average hand make sure to check where the short stacks are at on the table. If they have already folded then you are safe to play these kinds of hands. Though, if a short stack is in the blinds or has not acted yet on his turn, you may want to re-evaluate entering the pot. There is a great probability that a short stack will move all in, so if you have an average hand you will be obligated to either fold, or make a call and try to get fortunate. If you are in the small blind with a strong hand, and a short stack is in the big blind, you can play another way than normal. If it is folded to you, just call, because the short stack 90% of the time will try to move all in here. If you would have raised, there is a greater chance that they would fold, and you lose the extra tournament chips you could have won by just calling in that situation.
The next opponent that you need to observe around the table is the middle stack. The middle stack is the player you should be attacking in the later stages of the Sit&Go, which we will discuss later in this guide. The reason for this is the middle stacks are trying to patiently wait out the short stacks to finish in the top 3, and make some money. Being aggressive is vital here when you are playing against a mid stack, as they are the player most likely to fold decent hands to any kind of bet.
If you are in the small blind, and the big blind is a mid stack, you should be trying to steal their blind more than any other type of stack if all players fold around to you, you it’s best to raise just about every time, as the mid stack will be trying to play cautiously to make the money. If your raise gets called by a mid stack in this situation you need to slow down.
When they call your raise, the majority of their chip stack is now in the pot, and now they will play the flop with the same tactics a short stack uses; going all in with garbage hands.
The final opponent you must observe is the large stack. This type of opponent can be extremely risky to get in a showdown with and can cause you to get knocked out in a hurry if you are not careful. Large stacks are more probable to gamble to try to knock other players out. When you have a mediocre hand, you should avoid trying to bluff the large stack. More than likely, he/she may call just to have a chance to knock you out. The opposite can also be true. When you have a strong hand, you should be looking to play against a large stack.
Also another few key things to watch are the following:
Sometimes you will find yourself in a Sit&Go where players go all in frequently. Many people refer to them as “all-in maniacs.” Unless you are dealt a high pocket pair or can catch top pair on the flop with a good kicker, it is just best to sit back and watch them knock out each other. I find it funny watching them trying to knock each other out with horrible hands!
Once they knock each other out its game time for you.
At this point in the game the blinds should still be real low, so often you will find that there are 6 people left, and you only need 3 more gone to make the money. It’s best to start out tight a gradually loosen up as the game advances. On the opposite side of the spectrum, sometimes you will find yourself in a Sit&Go where it is boring and there is no action going on at all. Try to entertain yourself and have patience, this is actually a very good thing. You may not have a chance to win a large pot at the beginning stages, but in the long run you are slowly building your stack to take down first place. If you are in this situation it is best to take charge of the table and show them who is boss. You can bluff more without getting caught, bet people off their draws, etc. Please note that as the Sit&Go progresses player’s games may change and start loosening up. You must adjust accordingly.