Micro Stakes Sit N Go's
written by: John
An important concept to understand in poker is that often times it's not what you do, but it's what you don't do that you benefit from the most. A good example is making mistakes. The fewer mistakes you make while playing, the more money you will save. And as we all know, saving money in poker is no different than making it.
Although this specific example can apply to just about any poker game or situation, I really feel as if it plays a defining role in the success of sit n go players. The reasoning being, is that sit n go's have very little room for error given how they're structured. So, it's crucial that players look for and eliminate the mistakes they commonly make so that they find themselves in the money more often than not.
What the focus of this article will be is on the common mistakes that sit n go players make but can easily avoid. The following mistakes will apply mostly to the lower stakes games although you are sure to find that some of them can be adapted to the higher stakes as well.
Mistakes to Avoid in Micro Stakes Sit n Go's
Play Too Many Hands Early On
One of the biggest mistakes I see that micro stakes sit n go players make is playing far too many hands, often times with no regards to their position at the table. The mindset is that the blinds are low, so why not try to gamble and double up.
The biggest problem with this type of mindset is that many players lack the postflop skills needed to make solid decisions. What ends up happening is someone deciding to play K-10 suited and stacking off on a king high board and losing to a better king. I've been in tons of games where players decide to splash around with suited connectors, connector with top pair and then decide that they must have the best hand when in fact they are far behind their opponents.
The fix for this kind of mistake is simple; play fewer hands. Only start to open up your range when you are more comfortable with your postflop game. To start with, I would suggest only playing hands like AQ+, limp pocket pairs like 22 through 10-10 and raise JJ plus. This will help you to avoid awkward post-flop situations as well as avoid being dominated as much when involved in all in situations.
From experience, I have found that continuation betting is almost a complete waste of time and chips at the micro stakes sit n go's. It just seems as if opponents don't give you any credit for a hand at all, despite how tight you might be playing. They also like to float a ton with all kinds of hands, even hands that make no sense at all. It's just creates more sticky situations than it's worth.
However, if you feel the absolute need to c-bet in a micro stakes sit n go, then you should do so using the following criteria:
• You are not in a multi way pot. Continuation betting will be much more effective heads up as you are more likely to succeed in taking down the pot uncontested.
• The board is dry. C-betting a board like A-8-3 rainbow is going to be much more likely to be successful then c-betting boards like A-T-J of two suits or A-8-9 of the same suit. The difference between what is ok to c-bet and what is not is how connected the cards are. An A-8-3 rainbow flop has no immediate flush draws and hits very little of your opponent's likely range. The other example (A-T-J or A-8-9) hits your opponent's range hard, as there are tons of flush draws, straight draws and aces in it. It would be almost impossible to push him or her off their hand if they had this kind of draw.
• Your opponent is a thinking player that is able to fold.
I avoid isolating limpers with my bigger hands for the same reasons outlined above for why I don't c-bet that often. You just aren't given credit for what you're doing and/or recreational players don't realize what you are trying to do (isolate the fish). Because of this, I avoid isolating for the most part.
Again, there are exceptions to every rule. Here are mine for isolating at the micro stakes sit n go's.
• I'm almost guaranteed to have position on all betting rounds. Nothing sucks more than trying to isolate only to be flatted by the button and having to play your hand multi way and out of position. If I'm not on the button, I generally won't iso an opponent unless I'm positive the player on the button will fold. If I am on the button, I really prefer the blinds to be tight and almost sure to fold or they're fishy enough that I know I can get value from them if I hit the flop well.
Aces are definitely great cards to hold, even more so when they are accompanied by a second ace or a jack, queen or king. However, keep in mind that no ace is invincible.
What I mean by this is that you should try to avoid overplaying your aces. This means not getting your stack in preflop when the blinds are only 10/20 and you have AK. Also, you should avoid playing your mid to lower aces early on even if they are suited to avoid being dominated later on in the hand.
As a rule of thumb, don't even consider getting your stack in with an AK or AQ until the blinds are at 50/100 or so and don't bother playing your raggedy aces at all unless you are in the small blinds, can complete and see a flop for cheap or if you have less than 10 big blinds and need to open shove. Long story short, it is ok to fold an ace - even AK. You will find that there are plenty of times where it is in fact the best play.
Bluffing, like c-bets and iso-raises, are going to be less effective at the micro stakes sit n go's simply because a majority of your opponents were given defective software aka they have no fold button. Or, they simply look at their own two cards and cannot seem to realize they're beaten. Either way, most of your opponents will call you down super light which makes bluffing rather ineffective. So, in most cases don't even bother.
However, there are a few cases where bluffing may work. Here are my suggestions:
• On a paired flop. Flops that are paired are great to bluff on because it's so unlikely that your opponent has connected with it at all. Additionally, it scares them to death when you bet because of the fact that they think they are so far behind. So, whenever you see a board of Q-Q-x, 8-8-x, A-A-x or whatever pair-x combo, be sure to bet it. You'll get folds more often than not and when you are called, you can easily slow down and go into pot control mode.
• On the river when all likely draws missed. This would still depend on how many cards are out there that likely hit your opponents range and if they will fold or not. But if you had a board of A-2-7-T-6 of one or two suits, I would definitely try to bluff this against a halfway competent opponent if they played the hand passively (check/calling or small blocker bets).
• If my opponent puts out a blocker bet. Blocker bets are basically small bets with the intention of trying to see another street for cheap. Most times, you can put in a re-raise and induce a fold. If that doesn't work, you might have to fire another barrel on the turn if the turn card didn't improve those draws. Sadly, some opponents will still call here and commit themselves on the river with x-high. Don't bother trying to bluff these guys as it won't be worth it in the long run.
Summary of What Not to Do in Micro Stakes Sit n Go's
You'll find that if you can eliminate these mistakes from your game in the micro stakes sit n go's that your results will improve dramatically. To make this an easier task, just remind yourself that your opponents will make all of these mistakes outlined above. As a result, they will bust out more frequently which gives you a much better chance of making the money.