SnG strategy

Played a low entry MTT this evening, and I was out after a couple of hands when my pair of Tens did not come good, so I decided to play some Sit’n’Go instead.

I managed to win a $25,000 9-seater, but it was an awful grind. When we were down to two people I had only 20% of the chips of the leader, and it took a long time to grind him down and finish him off.

What strikes me about SnGs in general is that it is hard to make money, because second and third don’t pay much, so you must have a high win ratio to increase your overall chip stack. In an MTT, even if there are only 18 players, the returns are much better when you get into the money.

Also the standard of play is really atrocious, so your best bet is to stay out of as many hands as possible/

I was quite pleased with this one. I had K 9 of hearts. See if you can guess what my opponent had!

I was not in this hand, but it was pretty amusing to watch and guess what would happen.

Although you can get lucky for a while playing junk hands and calling flop bets with nothing, intending to bluff on the river, in the end it will usually catch up with you if you do it too often.

I find SnGs to be the “slow steady” route, whereas MTTs are “faster” route. Not to be egotistical, I expect to cash in 80% of SnGs play’d ( unless I’m playing for a promo LB ). ( basically try’n 2win ) To me its the safest way to grow your bankroll, albeit very slowly… A standard 9 person SnG is really a 3 in 6 chance to cash… Usually there’s always 2-3 donks @ the table… Its basically a “final table” but everyone’s stacks are equal… You need variance before ppl’s stacks are exploitable, and if someone else is on fire… let them bust everyone else, and take your chances HeadsUp, even severely shortstacked.

Obviously, the higher the stakes SnG, the fewer (hopefully) the donks… Its actually less of a turbo than a MTT kinda is, because you’re already @ the final table ( so to speak ) with “some” room to manuver, before its shortstack-ship-it time…

1 Like

Nice grind.

I don’t want to sound rude or something, just wanted to comment on that first hand.

K9s is a fold there UTG with 35 BB’s from my point of view and from what I learned…That’s if you want to listen to any theoretical stuff.
Then flop, I don’t understand your thinking process ; why bet pot, 300 ? You’re going to have 2’s called, of course, which are crushing you, you’re going to get called by 9’s, which you beat, except A9, and you are going to make two over-card hands fold. Too dangerous imo, you aren’t getting enough value.
There are 2’s in the BB’s range, but also for the button who could limp hands like A2 (K2 maybe ?).
Same for the SB.

Anyway, nice call there river, really important. Interesting bluff to be honest. Check/call flop, still think they would bet turn there with a 2 knowing that it’s a brick, to avoid bad cards river who could destroy action. The bluff wasn’t that clear, I’m interested in knowing what your thought process was like ? Did you think that a 2 would bet turn, or bet smaller river ? Did his rank made you decide, or other infos ?

Cya and GL !

Yes, K9s is not a great hand, but with low blinds in these kind of games, you need to mix it up and limp a number of hands trying to see a flop cheaply and get hit squarely by the flop and win a big pot. There are also plenty of pots that no one really wants that might be picked up with a small bluff. K9s can make second best flush, second best straight, and can easily flop top pair with either card, so not completely useless either. Of course if you miss the flop, you have no draws, and someone else shows aggression, then it is a quick fold.

An unpaired 2 COULD be in the opponents range, but most players will fold hands with an unpaired 2 unless it is a suited Ace hand, because making a pair of 2s can only give you 4th pair on the flop or river. Even on a paired flop with a 2, your pair of 2s is vulnerable to ANY card on the turn or river. Also, the fact that the flop produced a pair of 2s suggests that the deck was 2-rich, which slightly reduces the probability of a player in the blinds holding a 2.

By making a pot-sized bet on the flop, I hoped to finish off the hand, or at least eliminate most opponents.

Had the opponent had a 2 in his hand, he would probably have raised my pot-sized bet on the flop, or betted on the turn, because trip 2s is pretty vulnerable to any card giving opponent with a pocket pair a full house, and a limp from UTG is strongly suggestive of a small pair.

From what I had seen of the opponent in previous hands, he seemed to be making a lot of bluffs, or squarely hitting every paired flop, and and I thought that here he might have a smaller-than-nine pocket pair and be trying a semi bluff on the river. It did not seem very likely that he had called the flop bet with A3 and made his straight. His river bet seemed a bit big(pot sized) if he wanted to be called. Perhaps the possibility that I held 22 was also in the back of his mind, not that I really have any idea what was in his mind other than trying to convince me that he had a 2.

In fact he had called a pot-sized bet on the flop with nothing more than 2 overcards (which I partly suspected) and had he paired his King on the turn or river, might have lost his whole stack.

Obviously you have to take some chances early on in these games, and this one happened to pay off. I almost folded the river, but something seemed fishy, so I called.

It is, but if you finish in third, you hardly get more than your entry fee back.

In a MTT, if you come in just before late entry closes, it is often the case that up to 20% of the field has already been eliminated and you find yourself starting at halfway, or even above halfway of the survivors,. so the prize money to entry fee ratio is much more favorable.

1 Like

Yes, but, all things being equal, you should expect…

To win a 9 seat SnG about 11% of the time.

And expect to win a 100 seat MTT about 1% of the time.

So yeah, the MTTs pay more, but they also take longer and you will win less often.

A 100 seat MTT with a 25k entry pays about 600k for a win.

A 9 seat SnG with 25k Entry pays 104,062 for a win, and one should expect to win 11 times as often.

It would cost the same amount to enter 100 25k MTTs as it would to enter 100 25k SnGs, but the SnGs would take about half the time and net almost twice as much.

We would have to factor in all the other paying positions to get a true evaluation, but it seems like SnGs are a much faster way to build your bank with roughly 4x the potential per hour.

Or am I looking at this wrong?

@SunPowerGuru "All things being equal, you have a 1-in-9 chance of winning a 9-seat SNG, and a 1-in-100 chance of winning a 100-seat MTT.

Ah, but all things are not equal, are they. A good player is better than most of the entrants. This gives you a better than average chance of winning than the random draw odds implied by the number of players.

It is harder to win an MTT than a single table game, due to the size of the field, of course.

MTT do take longer, but not as much longer. A 9-seat turbo SNG is over in 45 min to an hour, usually. A 60-100 seat MTT may take about 2 hours.

If you can get ITM, you have to get far deeper in the MTT for it to really be worthwhile, but there’s a lot more ITM finishers.

I think both types of games are good to play, not just from a profitability standpoint, but to round out the skills needed to do well in the game in general.

For MTT, I prefer 6 seat tables. You can play a wider range of opening hands in them, which makes it easier to play more hands and get more chips faster, which is essential for a deep run. For SNG, I prefer 9-seat tables because you can win more chips in them, there’s three winning positions instead of just two, and in most 9-seat games played here, there will be 1-3 donkeys who’ll bust out early anyway, turning it into a 6-seat game anyway.

That’s not my way of thinking, but I totally accept it. The blinds are low, but your stack is low too. 35 BB’s is really not that comfortable ; If you limp UTG, you’ll face a raise almost 30-40% of the time, so what do you do at that moment ? Blinds 15/30, limp 30 UTG, you face a raise of 70, you call right ? I mean, it’s getting way too expensive. The flops in which K7s is strong is actually way to rare to allow yourself such a limp.

Ok with this, that’s what I thought. Honestly, if I had been your opponent, I would have easily read you on a pair of 9’s with pretty good kicker : there is nothing else you can have ! Maybe TT+, but I doubt you’re limping these hands.
If you have a 2, you never bet this big on such a dry flop. A bluff could have been the perfect spot here. I would have checked too normally, but would have used your “tell” bet to change my hand into a bluff. Well executed the opponent could have made you fold, with NOTHING ! I’ve got such a similar example, where I did this : …

Can’t find it anymore : but was practically the same. I’m SB (J8s), everyone folds to me, I complete. BB checks.
Flop QQ7 rainbow. I check, he bets pot. I find it strange because of the reasons mentioned above, I raise around 3x, a bit less. He folds.

I mean you’re giving away so much information, and you’re also risking your stack way too much, and you’re missing out of value.


Bingo! What are the odds of 100 players playing a tournament 100 times and each person wins one time? What are the odds of even one person finishing one time in each position from 1 to 100?

The better players will get into the money with a much higher frequency, and when they do, they will win more money. Many players will never win or even make the final table.

In a sit and go each player is just a couple of lucky double ups from getting into the money.

I would not play K7s except from the blinds. If it is folded to the small blind the odds are in favor of K9s hand dominating a random hand. K9s has much more straight possibilities in a multiway pot.

K9s is at about the top 15th percentile of hands, so there is about a one in six chance that a random opponent has a better starting hand. Obviously KTs and KJs are better hands, and can make the nut straight.

Like I say, you have to mix up your hands a bit, and if your opponents think you are liable to play with weak starting hands, so much the better when you tighten up or when you hit Aces and limp.

Well yeah, all things aren’t equal, but I thought it might shed some light on the question if we looked at it from a theoretical perspective. There are too many variables to do it any other way, I think. Well, let;s just say it would require way more effort than I am willing to do.

I don’t keep detailed records of my play, but I do have a few “real world” stats that might help…

I win between 4% to 6% of the MTTs I enter. The last time I worked this out was one month last fall, where I played 121 tournies and won 6, so let’s say 5%.

I never played a lot of SnGs, but decided to try them out last March. I played 236 med SnGs and won 57 of them, so about 24%. “All things equal,” my SnG wins should have been 11 times the 5%, but my actual results fell far short of this. Since the SnGs took roughly half the time, it’s pretty close to a wash for me. If we factor in leaderboards, SnGs are probably a little more profitable for me, but it’s close.

I don’t bother tracking cashes. Actually, I don’t bother tracking anything, but I do get emails, and delete anything but wins, so I sort of have a record even though I rarely bother to look at it.

Anyway, at least for me, there doesn’t seem to be a big difference between playing MTTs or SnGs.

1 Like

In all honesty, I’d be rather surprised if RPP didn’t deliberately balance the design of the tournament structures to make them equally profitable, so people could just play what they enjoy, rather than decide what to play based on how much they can potentially earn.


@puggywug - you’re close to the target. I don’t know how Replay has changed MTT payouts over time, or even if they have at all. However, in general, full ring SnG’s have had a stable 50/30/20 payout structure for a long time. In general, MTT’s used to have much steeper payout structures than they do now, paying the top ~10% of fields. Cashing was significant and winning was extremely significant. Several years back operators decided to flatten the payout structures so that more people would finish ITM. This was done to keep more people interested in playing the games (and paying the fees/rake) but it had the effect of reducing individual profit potentials. In the new structures, winning an MTT results in a payout of about 27-30% (as opposed to 40%+ before). The new structure makes a win in an MTT roughly equivalent to a 2nd place finish in a SnG in terms of %prize pool.

SnG’s and MTT’s are related but not the same game. Many people spin up their bankrolls in SnG’s because they provide more steady returns for winning players. They pay out a higher % of places than MTT’s do. Even with flatter structures, only 20% of the field cashes in an MTT while 33% cash in a SnG. They are much lower variance than MTT’s as well because variance increases as the # of runners increases (and not proportionately). Also, most online SnG players are multi-tabling, playing at least 4 games at any one time. This helps boost the hourly profitability.