Sit and Go (also called Sit-n-Go or SNG) is a type of poker tournament, usually played online. Whereas most tournaments have a scheduled starting time, in SNG the play begins as soon as the required number of players have joined the game – once enough people sit at the table, the tournament will go.
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Once all the seats are filled and the tournament starts, no new players can join. In a stock-standard set-up, play continues until there is only one player remaining; however, there are many variations that allow for multiple winners. The fast pace and close-ended nature of Sit & Go makes it a popular platform for real-money poker, as players can rake in winnings from multiple tournaments without having to grind it out at the same table all day long.
Single Table Tournaments
The most popular set-up for SNG is the single-table tournament (STT). As the name suggests, these games are played at one table and usually feature between six to ten players. Sit & Go STTs are quick and lively, with tournaments rarely lasting more than an hour in total (usually quite a bit less, depending on the specific game and format). For example, No-Limit Texas Hold’em results in big pots and quick eliminations, as players can bet as much as they want right from the start.
Some single-table SNG events feature multiple winners, making them great cash-cows for real money players. In a Fifty50 tournament, for instance, the game ends when half the field has been eliminated, with the prize pool distributed among the remaining players. So in a 10-player game, there will be five winners; of those five, the one with the biggest stack will get first place and the biggest payout, while the fifth-ranked player will get the smallest prize.
Double or nothing uses a similar set-up to Fifty50, usually involving either 10 players (with five winners) or six (with three winners). In this version, the winners each claim twice the amount of the buy-in, regardless of how many chips they end up with, while the eliminated players go home empty handed.
Steps is a unique take on the STT format that uses tiers with different buy-in amounts. Step 1 is the cheapest. Winning a step allows you to graduate to the next one, although in most cases, players can buy in to whichever step they like. Steps can be a gold mine for Sit-n-Go players, as there is scope to turn a very small outlay in to a huge windfall – not least because the spread of experience (or inexperience) among the competitors is greater than in most other forms of SNG.
Multi-table tournaments (MTT for short) are becoming increasingly popular in Sit & Go poker. These tourneys allow for many different set-ups and can include hundreds of players across dozens of tables. In most MTT events, all players start with the same amount of chips, and the antes and blinds (forced bets at the start of each hand) increase as the tournament progresses.
As more players are eliminated, the remaining participants are often moved to other tables in order to even up the numbers across the field (for example, if Table A has three players and Table B has five, one of the players from Table B will likely join Table A). Eventually, the final few players will merge to form one table, where the last man standing is the ultimate winner.
This system is altered for Shoot-out SNG tournaments. In Shoot-out competitions, players are not moved around, with each table played until just one person remains. The survivors are then grouped on new tables and the process repeats itself until there is one final table, from which the victor will emerge. This style is typically played either as Double Shoot-out (where a player must win two tables to be crowned champion) or Triple Shoot-out (where three tables must be won).
A variation of shoot-out is Heads Up, where players are pitted against each other in a series of one-on-one duels. This format uses a bracket, much like a tennis tournament, which means there is often a qualifying round to create the required field size (for example, if you have nine entrants, one must be removed to create a usable bracket of eight players).
In many MTTs, players are rewarded for reaching the final table of the tournament, win or lose – another big incentive for joining real money events. The amounts of these prizes are generally determined by the overall size of the field.
Satellites are tournaments with relatively low buy-ins (sometimes free) and a small entry fee, where the eventual champion – and in some cases the runner-up, depending on the size of the prize pool – receives entry into a bigger event. This is another potentially lucrative avenue for Sit & Go players, as it gives you the chance to jump into a game with big, juicy pots without having to spend half a week’s wage on the initial buy-in.
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