Sit n go (SNG) strategy tips #1 - overplaying KK and AA

Naturally in any poker game when we wake up to pocket Kings or Aces this is great news. In a SNG this is no exception. In this short article we'll look at a non-standard way to play these hands, which can be surprisingly effective.

Firstly, what would you say the normal way to respond to a pre flop raise is when holding a monster pair like this? Well 9/10 times it's probably going to be 're raise them'. A common example would be someone before us, with the BB being 40, raises to 120. The action gets folded round to us and we make a standard 3-bet/re-raise to 360.

Now I want to be clear, I'm not saying there's anything wrong with that play; it's increasing the pot, isolating the raiser and we're hoping he 5-bets it all in and we take it down. The only problem with doing so is it so standard that a lot of the time it gives information away about how strong our hand is. Even a crappy player will know that the 3-bet indicates strength and even the worst recreational player could probably now narrow our hand range down to QQ+ and AK. Unless our opponent holds a monster himself (QQ or AK perhaps) than most of the time he's either folding pre-flop or on the flop.

There is another way!

So what's the alternative I'm suggesting here? Well, quite simply it's to go all in rather than making a standard 3-bet re-raise. Now I know you've read that and said that's crappy play. That's the point. It's a play that is meant to look weak and to look crappy. It's not a move that really looks strong or that we want a call from our opponent.

I've used this trick many times and you will often get called by AJ, AQ, and medium pocket pairs. This move gives us an easy way to take down a huge pot and hopefully knock someone out. It's a play that can be effective even against regs/good players. They will see our move as weak and therefore be tempted to call and make a stand with holdings such as 88. I'm not saying the move always works but it works often enough to at least warrant you trying it.

When you do get called and players can see your hand, you will also probably be labelled a bad player by many people - this can be used to your advantage as people will assume they can easily outplay you.

Don't do it all the time!

Here's where your poker note-taking comes in. Once you've made the move, do your best to make a note on that opponent -a) that you made the play (so you can play it differently the next time it happens) and also b) whether he called and with what range. It may well be weeks or even months before the same situation comes up with the same player but when it does you want to be prepared so you can make the most of it. Try and mix up overshoving with 3-betting, don't end up being a predictable player and therefore an exploitable one.

So next time you pick up AA or KK in a sit n go, give it a go. You'll be pleasantly surprised how many times you get called with worse hands!