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Sit & Go: Mid Stages

    In the middle stages of a Sit n Go tournament, blinds begin to increase substantially in value, so it becomes crucial for players to bring in as many chips as possible. By this time, most of the ultra-aggressive players have probably dropped out, and you may be down to the last ten players or so, depending on the size of the overall tournament. In this stage, roughly between the 4th and 7th blind stages, self-preservation will no longer be a profitable strategy, as it becomes increasingly crucial for players to maintain a deep enough stack to make plays and post blinds.

    For the middle stages of a Sit n Go tournament, different, more intensive strategies become necessary to achieve victory. Instead of just sitting back and playing the best hands, as the blinds increase in value, players are forced to make advanced moves to gain as many chips as possible. For the middle stages, bluffing becomes a crucial part of any decent player's strategy.

    You don't, however, want to just throw chips at a pot and hope to come out on top. As with other plays in poker, there's a right way to bluff, and there's most certainly a wrong way.

    Observation will play a key role in your decision for when you should make a move for the pot. Especially in the earlier stages, watch the tendencies of the players at your table. By the time the middle stages roll around, you should have a rough idea of each player's style. You should know whether they'll back down to a large bet, how they play their top cards, and their tendencies of slowplaying and check-raising.

    Pick your bluffs wisely. If you notice that you have position on a relatively passive player who has tendencies to back down to pot-sized bets and above, it may be the time to make a move for the pot. In these rounds of a Sit n Go tournament, every little bit counts, and it's necessary for you to pick up as many blinds as possible.

    When bluffing, make good use of position. It's usually never profitable to bluff out of position, as you open yourself up to an array of counteractions – raises, reraises, check-raises, and even smooth calls opening up to later raises. Watch your position and watch your opponents. When both circumstances point in your favor, seize the opportunity.

    In this crucial point in the Sit n Go, continuation bets can often make or break your game. Once again, the necessity to build your stack is crucial, and any opportunity for you to gain chips that is presented needs to be seized.

    A continuation bet, much like a bluff, is made when you have position on your opponent, and you hold a strong hand that may not have connected with the flop. By this time, you need to start playing your big drawing hands aggressively, trying to either pick up the blinds, or get to heads-up on the flop. What do you do if you don't connect, though?

    If it were earlier in the tournament, folding would be your best option. Chips and blinds, however, are now crucial, so folding might not necessarily be an option. Lets say you raises pre-flop with AQ suited and the big blind called. The flop shows all low-value cards, with one more suit to your flush, giving you a backdoor draw. Your opponent checks in front of you. What do you do?

    Your best option is to bet a sizable amount. Your object here is to scare your opponent off. Chances are good that you hold the best hand as it is, as your raise pre-flop should have eliminated any player holding junk. He probably has not paired, and may be holding a lower suited connector than your AQ. A solid bet should scare him off. If not, consider firing another shell on the turn. Remember, chips are crucial at this point. Even if he calls your bets, you still have the outs to make the best hand by the river.

    Slowplaying great starting hands in the middle stages of a Sit n Go also becomes crucial to your success. By the middles stages of the tournament, you'll notice that players' styles of play change drastically. Players who you once saw making frivolous raises and calls may now be playing quite passively, and many of the aggressive players may have been knocked out by now. In the middle stages of a Sit n Go, everyone seems to be much tighter with their play; everyone is just trying to make the money.

    Opposite of the beginning of the tournament, when you combated the aggressiveness by tightening up your play and hand selection, the same strategy must be used in this stage of play. To defeat a passive opponent, you need to play more aggressively. With that being said, however, you need to be intelligent with your aggressive plays.

    Nothing screams of more aggression than the dreaded check-raise. This will become a crucial move in your game strategy. When dealt your monster hands, slowplaying becomes a necessity to try to milk them for all they're worth.

    The middle stages of a tournament are all about becoming more and more aggressive. At this point in the tournament, many players tighten up their play and become more passive with their betting; they want to make the money. To combat other players' tight play, become more aggressive with yours. You'll take down more uncontested pots, more blinds, and more chips.



« More poker guides or show all guides Article last updated: Friday, May 22, 2009.

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