Having a big stack at the end stages of a sit & go can be a lot of fun and almost guarantee a victory — as long as you’re playing optimally. In this article we’ll analyze a situation that you’ll find frequently on the money bubble, but have probably overlooked as a big-stack tyrant.
In a standard nine-person sit & go the top three places are paid. Often times on the bubble you’ll see one player with a giant stack, two players with low to medium stacks and one player fighting for their life with a short stack. Many players use their big stack to attack the short player and burst the bubble, but there is an effective way to continue adding chips to your stack while keeping the short stack — and the bubble — alive.
Let’s use these chip counts as an example:
Player 1: 2,500 chips
Player 2: 2,500 chips
Player 3: 750 chips
Player 4: 7,750 chips
With the blinds at 200/400, the three short stacks are playing the game of survival in order to make it into the money. As Player 4, our goal is to attack the medium stacks because we know they’re waiting for Player 3 to be eliminated and will be hesitant to risk their stack against us without an absolutely premium hand. Therefore if we can keep Player 3 around as long as possible it gives us more time to assault the blinds of Player 1 and Player 2 in the near future.
If Player 1 (in the cutoff) and Player 2 (on the button) fold around to Player 3, who moves all in from the small blind, most of the time it is correct for us to fold, even if we are holding a big hand. Yes, we’re getting better than 3-1 odds to call against an almost infinite range, but by folding we can keep applying pressure to Player 1 and Player 2, who will find themselves in the blinds the next two hands.
If this scheme plays out as planned, we’ll lose 400 chips by folding in the big blind, but can add 1,000 chips to our stack by raising into Players 1 and 2 the next two hands. After all, they still have Player 3 outchipped and will continue to wait on his exit.
By utilizing this tactic you can suddenly find yourself in a prime position to win the tournament once the bubble does break. You can reduce the stacks of the other players almost to the point of no return and win the sit & go easily — as long as nothing bizarre happens. It may seem counterintuitive to be folding to a short stack when given the correct odds to call, but you’ll soon discover a higher win rate and, consequently, more money into your bankroll.