Turbo vs Non-Turbo Sit N Go's

written by: John

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Sit n go's are available in many shapes and sizes. Depending on the poker site, you can find sit n go's that spread all the common games and come in a variety of size fields ranging from 9 to 180 players per game. Sit n go's are also played using one of many formats including knockouts, steps, satellites and 4, 6 and 9 player tables.

One of the most common formats, however, is the turbo sit n go. Its key difference from that of a standard sit n go should be painfully obvious - the blind levels increase at a much quicker rate. Turbos will increase every 5 minutes while standard sit n go's increase every 10 minutes.

While the difference between the two may seem minor or even subtle at best, the 5 minutes that separate the two actually make a world of difference. In fact, I'll show you the top 5 differences that you'll find between a turbo and non-turbo sit n go game.

Game Selection

Although a very minor difference, you'll find that while many sites offer both turbo and non-turbo games, you won't find both a non-turbo and turbo sit n go offered at the same stakes. In other words, you might find a $5 non-turbo 9-man sit n go, but it won't be offered in the turbo format. The closest that you'll likely be able to find is a $3 or $6 buy-in for a turbo game.

Again, it's a small difference, but it will have an impact on your bankroll so it's important nonetheless. If you do have to choose one over the other due to bankroll restrictions, you can always make the switch later on with a few adjustments to your strategy. 

Volume & Win Rate

Volume is likely to be the biggest difference between the two formats. It would only make sense that if a non turbo sit n go has blind levels that are twice as long than the turbos do, that the non-turbo games would take twice as long to complete from start to finish.

This may not sound like a big deal at first, but think of this. The faster you can get through a game from start to finish (win), the more games you can get in an hour, session or day. Assuming you are a winning player, this means that by playing the turbo sit n go's, you should expect to earn a much higher hourly rate than you would playing a non-turbo sit n go.

If you are a recreational player, than this might not be that big a deal. However, if you want to make money as a semi or full time professional player, the saying "time is money" holds true.

Hand Selection

Your hand selection shouldn't change a ton between the two formats, but it will change some. In a turbo sit n go, the blinds increase so fast that you don't really want to splash around a lot as you will need the chips for shoving later on.

In a non-turbo sit n go, however, you have 10-minute levels. It's still not a good idea to splash around with marginal hands and spew chips, but you can open up your hand range and include hands such as AJ, AT, KQ and KJ assuming you're comfortable with postflop play. 10-minute blind levels are ideal for chipping up without having to worry about having to shove in order to keep up with the structure like you would have to do in the turbos.

Although it has been said several times in previous articles, it's worth harping on again. Under no circumstances is it necessary to overplay AK whether it's by getting it all in preflop or playing it too aggressively on wet boards at the early stages. This is going to apply to both games, although in a turbo you might be more inclined to stack off preflop with AK starting at the 50/100 level while it still may be overkill at the non-turbos.

Middle & Late Stages

A rather big difference between a turbo and non-turbo sit n go will be the middle and late stages. Often times in a turbo sit n go, these stages are generally going to be when you are in push or fold mode. You will either have blinded down to the point where you have 10 big blinds or the blinds have increased - either way, you don't have the room to maneuver in pots anymore.

You still may have to be in shove mode in a non-turbo sit n go, but it's not going to be nearly as frequent a situation as it will be in a turbo. The reasoning for this is that you've had ample time to try to chip up to prevent having to take extreme measures like shoving in order to stay ahead of the structure.

Another key difference in the late stages is the bubble play. In a turbo sit n go, you will want to take thinner spots in order to exploit the other players or will have to take the thinner spots yourself in order to keep your equity in the tournament. You should be able to avoid having to take thinner spots in a non-turbo as you have more time to wait for decent hands even with the blinds going through you frequently. (*Thinner spots would include, but is not limited to, shoving with less than premium hands or shoving with little to no fold equity in order to chip up all the while risking a huge portion of your stack or tournament life.)


Although it would obviously be preferred that you make as few mistakes as possible, a huge difference between a turbo and non-turbo sit n go is your ability to recover from your mistakes.

A mistake made in a turbo sit n go is going to be a pretty big deal and difficult to recover from because as the blinds rise, your stack gets smaller in comparison and your fold equity (huge in turbos) will start to diminish. For example, if you start a hand with 1,500 chips and make a $500 chip mistake at the start of the 50/100 level in a turbo sit n go, you're going to be hurting in 4 minutes when the blinds go up to 75/150. You'll go from 10 big blinds to 7.5 which is huge in terms of both tournament and fold equity.

If you make the same mistake in a non-turbo sit n go, you'll have 10 big blinds for another 9 minutes which is ample time to find a decent enough hand to shove before the blinds rise again. 

Summary of Turbo & Non-Turbo Differences

When it comes right down to it, the biggest impact a player will see between the two formats is the hourly amount of money that can be won or lost. Turbos are really a catch 22 in this sense. Mistakes, if made, are going to be huge, quite costly and hard to recover from in a turbo sit n go. However, if players can learn the basics of a push/fold game, avoid making major mistakes and learn to multi table, the turbo format is going to prove to be the most profitable in the long term.

The bottom line is that turbos are going to be for those looking to make money faster and can avoid splashing around a ton while the non-turbos are great for the recreational player who likes to see a ton of flops.