This article was a runner up in the NoPayPOKER January poker article writing contest. Member ZeppelinV got $100 FreeD.
Single Table Tournaments, STT’s or SNG as they are called, can be serious Bankroll boosters with a little forethought prior to play. I currently play a lot of free Texas Holdem online poker as well as money site $5.00 and $10.00 SNG’s with a fair amount of success.
This is a simple version of how I play them and succeed:
Solid and Tight early on.
- This means that early in a tournament (even if it is a free poker one) you only play premium hands.
- Position is very important. Pairs from 22 thru 99 I only call and then only up to only 3 times the Big Blind. A larger raise and I fold them.
- Larger pairs like 1010, JJ, QQ, KK, and AA of course call for a raise on a short table. Be prepared to call an all in with any of those.
- Hands like QJ, QK, KJ, and A 10 I play like small pairs and fold to raises larger than 3 times the Big Blind.
Now the hands that can get you into trouble.
AJ, AQ, and AK….you’ve got to know when to fold them! They are great hands when down to 3 or maybe 4 players left, but early on they are dead to any pair.
Learn to lay them down in the early part of a tourney. One of the things I also do until I get to the last 3 and in the money is show my winners. The table see’s those KK and trip 7’s and so on. And I haven’t bluffed on a single hand…Yet. That comes when only 3 are left. Then no more show and tell.
This sets up some great steals. All they have seen is winners from you…they have no reason to believe you don’t have them now. But take care with this, use it too often and you’ll get caught. On some tables it may also be bad etiquette so take care.
Kill the Bingo Players
By only playing premium hands in the early stages you allow the “Bingo” players to play themselves out. Chances are by playing Solid and Tight you will have the opportunity to take one or two out yourselves.
Aim to Win
The whole idea in any tournament is to win of course. However, making the money places in SNG’s is much easier than in an MTT. In most cases top 3 pay with 3rd usually paying back at least your buy-in. So making the money places is critical to successful SNG play. So aim to win and as long as you play well you should at least place most of the time.
These are just a few common sense factors that I employ when playing for cash. I have played poker in many forms and fashions for a lot of years, but I do have to agree with Doyle Brunson..”No Limit Holdem can be learned in an hour but takes a lifetime to master.” You go Doyle. Hope some of this helps someone improve their game.
To this I’d add, when you start or if you’re already familiar with poker but struggling – go and practice on micro/low stakes or free poker site tournaments such as you’ll find at NoPayPOKER. There are some great ones out there and you can play loads with little or nothing at risk and in doing so really build your confidence and skills before starting to risk it bigger.