7th June, 2006
One of the areas of my poker game that is lacking is my sit and go abilities. I have tried many different strategies, and continually attempt to improve, but continue to struggle. A friend of mine, who happens to be a very good poker player, suggested one of the most interesting strategies that I have found.
It consists of either folding or moving all in pre flop until you reach the final three spots, which are the money positions. Once you get into the top three, you revert to what would be considered more normal play.
This system has a pretty solid set of guidelines, which we will cover shortly, but in my limited experience, it only works with any degree of success at the lower level buy-in sit and go's. I tested it at the 10 plus 1 buy-in level, with some success. The reason it works better at the lower levels is that there are many more players willing to gamble, by calling all ins with hands as poor as A9 or even KQs at times. As you advance to higher buy-ins, the numbers of players who do things like this are greatly reduced.
The list of hands that you will move all in with during the early rounds includes AA KK QQ JJ AKs and AK. As you move further into the tournament, you will either have been able to increase your chip stack or the blinds will start eating away at your stack. In the event you have been fortunate enough to improve your stack, you can continue playing the same way. However, if you start getting short stacked, you expand your hands to include TT 99 88 AQs AQ and AJs, and if you get severely short, you add all other pairs and possibly ATs and A9s.
This style of play offers many positives. If any of your opponents is paying attention, they will realize that you are playing tight and that when you do play you have a good hand. This can help you steal a few blinds late in the tournament, when they get big enough to fight for. It also gives you a great chance to double up in the early rounds. Lastly, because you are only playing a few hands, you can easily play more than one sit and go at a time.
If you do well at these tournaments, I don't recommend trying this system, however, if you are like me and struggle with them, by all means give it a shot and see how it works for you. Until next week, good luck at the tables!
The Poker Column is published weekly. Send questions for the author or subscription requests to firstname.lastname@example.org