When I talk about the middle stages of a Sit&Go I am referring to when the blinds have increased 4-6 times. By now the field of players should be down to 5 or 6 players, hence the middle stage. The middle stage of a Sit&Go is a critical time of play, as the blinds are putting pressure on many players. In the early stages we needed to play tight, now we are shifting are gears and playing aggressive. The reason to play aggressive is you want to build a large chip stack for the later stages to take down first place. One way to build your stack during this time is to make smart moves and bluffs. By watching players during the early stages and taking notes, you should have a good idea of who is weak and who can be bluffed. For example, let’s say you have 76c in the big blind, and it is folded to the small blind. Your observations have told you that this player is weak, and has folded on the flop to bets in the past. The flop comes 5-9-J with one club. If that player checks you need to bet.
Since this player has been a passive player, he is going to fold 95% of the time, but even if he doesn’t fold you still have a gutshot draw as well as a backdoor flush draw. Let’s just say this player calls your bet. The turn brings a K (not a club), and he checks again. By his play you can either put him on a straight draw, or a low pair. Since he is a passive player, you should make another bet. A pot size bet right here should cause the player to fold. If he calls this bet again, you have to give him credit for the hand and check/fold the river unless you improve.
Unlike the early stages example when you check/folded AK when the flop came bad, let’s say you have the same hand AK. You put in a 2x the big blind raise, and the big blind calls. The flop is 729, and the big blind checks. It is extremely likely he has a big unpaired hand like QJ. Having the blinds constantly growing and you need to build your stack, you can no longer play so conservative and you must take risks. In this situation you should make a pot size bet, and if it is called check/fold the rest of the hand unless you improve.
As discussed earlier also, it is very important to learn how to play against players with small, middle, or large chip stacks. Hands should be consistently being played differently depending on who you are in the hand with. You should definitely not try to bluff short stacks and large stacks, as both will likely call. Slow playing can be used to earn you many chips if executed right. I am going to use an AK example again. Let’s say you have AK in the big blind, and the small blind (they are a short stack) raises you. In this situation you can try just calling. Reraising here might scare him off if he has still a good amount of chips left, but if you just call he is more than likely to go all in on the flop even if he does not hit a thing! Remember, during the middle stages do not be afraid to go all in preflop with an exceptional hand. If you hold pocket Jacks or Queens in the big blind, and an aggressive player with a middle stack chip amount raises you from the small blind, it is correct to go all in here. If you just call and you see a horrible flop with aces or kings, you just put yourself in a hard position. Since the other player is extremely aggressive it is likely they are trying to steal blinds and will fold to your reraise.
In the middle stages please remember this is the time to start building a chip stack. Blinds are at a reasonable amount, so you can still outplay people without feeling the pressure that you need to make a game-changing move soon! If you can build an average stack, you will be in great shape for the late stages. Below is the recap of the middle stages:
Tighten up even more
Steal the blinds when you can
Position is key
Watch your stack size in relation to the button
Know when the next blind level is coming
Bluffing is now an option
Don’t go on tilt