Sunday, March 18, 2012

Why SNG Are Different

Pretend that you are playing in a sit and go tournament. The buy in is ten dollar and first place gets $45, second place gets $27, and third place gets $18. (To learn more about SNG, check out this article on poker hand odds.)

Now imagine that you are fortunate enough to be one of the last 4 players remaining. Not only that, you have the second biggest chip stake at 2,000 chips. The chip leader has 7,000 chips. And the other two players have 10 chips each.

You are in the big blind for 100 and the chip leader is in the small blind for 50.

The other two player folds and the chip leader goes all in on you.

Fortunately for you, as he pushes in his chip stack, the clumsy idiot accidentally turns over his cards and you see that he only has a measly 72 offsuit.

You breathe a sigh of relief when you look down at your hand and see that you are dealt a very sexy Ace King suited. You know that your hand will beat his hand 70 percent of the time. You are way ahead.

Would this be a good call?

This is where it gets weird. If you're goal is to win the sit and go then you should definitely call. However, even though calling would allow you to win the sit & go tournament most often, it will actually cause you to lose A LOT of money.

The most profitable play, by far, is to fold.

Let me explain.

Since the other 2 players are so short stacked, you are pretty much guaranteed to finish second and win the $27.

This means that folding will actually earn you an immediate $27 profit.

On the other hand, by calling the chip leader's all in you are risking your entire tournament life. You risk losing that $27 that is yours and the benefit that you'll get if you happen to win the hand is very little.

There is actually solid math behind this reasoning that can prove why calling is such a bad idea.

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