For the late stages of a Sit&Go, I am referring to 5 players or less. By now blinds will be eating everyone’s chip stack up and putting lots of pressure on all players, but the large stacks. The fact that it is shorthanded and the blinds are enormous makes you use a new style of play to succeed and win.
When you reach the final 4 players in the Sit&Go, you will see many unique situations. You must face all these situations and the only way you can get better is to practice. The first problem is that someone has to get knocked out, in order for YOU to reach the money. This is referred to as being on the “bubble”. There is no worse feeling that playing so well in a Sit&Go just to lose in 4th place. If anything I would rather get knocked out in 9th, then waste my time and get knocked out in 4th. Everyone’s game changes during this time. In order to survive, make the money, and take down first place you must adjust your game. What I mean about adjusting your game is you need to become more aggressive then other players.
Most players, excluding big stacks, will fold and play passive so they can make the money. More often times than not, this will result in the player NOT making the money. They constantly will be folding away their blinds and not increasing their chip stack by not taking down any pots.
When you are entering a pot during this stage, you need a stronger hand to call than you do to raise. The reason is because if you are going to have to play the flop against another opponent, you need to have a very strong hand. If you are raising, you will need a lesser hand, as there are good chances everyone will fold and you will take down the blinds. One example here is if you hold a hand like 10 10. You may want to limp in and try to see a good flop. However, if you hold a hand like QJ, you should raise to try and take down the pot right away, as you would need to hit the flop to make a hand.
In many situations you can get tricky with your play at this stage because people aren’t playing their normal game. One example of this is if you held KK in the big blind, and a mid size stack raised from early position. If it is folded to you, you can just call. This makes it seem like you hold either a mid pair, or big unpaired cards, as long as the flop is not horrible with no ace especially, you can check. Your opponent will almost always bet here. After the players preflop raise, he will have a much shorter stack and likely to try and take the pot down even if he doesn’t hit. Once he goes all in you can make an easy call and knock him out. Knocking a player out with an excellent move is a great feeling that you will feel over and over again by following this strategy.
If you had by chance reraised preflop in this situation, the player may have been able to get away from the hand, unless he had a similar strong hand. By acting like you had a weak hand, you can earn yourself a larger pot while also knocking out another player if you execute it right! Here is a recap of the late stages:
Loosen up and become more aggressive
Put the spotlight on stealing the blinds
Play according to your stack size
Try to trap your opponents
Below is a chart of hands to play in early, middle, and late position along with the early, middle, and late stages of the Sit-N-Go. Please print this out and use it when you’re playing on your own!
Progression Of Tournament: Position: Hands You Should Play
Early Early AA, KK, QQ, JJ, AK
Early Middle AA, KK, QQ, JJ, AK, TT, 99
Early Late AA, KK, QQ, JJ, AK, TT, 99, 88, 77, 66, 55, 44, 33, 22
Middle Early AA, KK, QQ, JJ, AK, AQs, AQ
Middle Middle AA, KK, QQ, JJ, AK, AQs, AQ, KQs, TT, 99, 88
Middle Late AA, KK, QQ, JJ, AK, AQs, AQ, KQs, TT, 99, 88, 77, 66, 55, 44, 33, 22
Late Dealer AA, KK, QQ, JJ, AK, AQs, AQ, KQs, KQ, JQ, JK, KT, TA, TJ, AJ, TT, 99, 88, 77, 66, 55, 44, 33, 22
Late Small blind AA, KK, QQ, JJ, AK, AQs, AQ, KQs, KQ, JQ, JK, KT, TA, TJ, AJ, TT, 99, 88, 77, 66, 55, 44, 33, 22
Late Big Blind AA, KK, QQ, JJ, AK, AQs, AQ, KQs, KQ, JQ, JK, KT, TA, TJ, AJ, TT, 99, 88, 77, 66, 55, 44, 33, 22