A common misunderstanding with many players that like to play SNG events is that as long as they make it into the money, which is normally the top three, they are doing well. The problem with this logic though is that unlike large-field tournaments that offer considerable profits for those that place in the final spots, SNG payouts really only add up if you’re winning the single-table tournament. Once you realize this, you’ll understand why so many SNG specialists stress that you only ever strive to win these SNG events, and never be content with just making it into the money.
Now this isn’t to say that you should play recklessly and gamble too much during the opening and middle rounds of a SNG, as that is just not good poker. You don’t need to always make it into the money with the chip lead (though it’s nice), but once you’re there you should not be willing to let yourself be blinded off in hopes of catching premium hands or waiting for the other players to bust each other. People that play with that mentality are willing to settle with a 3rd place finish and hopefully maybe a 2nd place another opponent gets knocked out. In reality though, you should be the one making the moves necessary to better your odds for a 1st place win.
Once you’re in the money, you are going to want to always be looking for ways to add chips to your stack. The less chips your opponents have, the more likely they are going to be forced to play marginal hands, allowing you to hopefully capitalize on that weakness. If you continue to play very tight when there are only two other players left for you to beat, they will pick on you continuously, steal your blinds and bet you out of pots. At this point you have lost control of the match and now are just hoping to get lucky with a great flop or some other uncommon situation.
Don’t ever consider 2nd place to be an acceptable finish. You’ve already won your buy-in back once you’re in the top three, now it’s time to go for the real profit. Pick your spots wisely and try and keep yourself in control of the game as much as possible.
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