How to Play Sit and Go Tournaments for Beginners

Poker table with cards

Sit and Go (SNG) tournaments are poker tournaments that immediately start when a preset number of players are seated.

SNG tournaments are a popular online poker tournament format and they’re great for new players.

  • They don’t cost much to enter.
  • They’re less time commitment and you can be done in under an hour.
  • You can experience every phase of a tournament in a short time.
  • You can choose from various formats to fit your playing style.

Besides being tons of fun, SNG tournaments can also be highly profitable.

Keep reading to learn about SNG tournaments, how they work, and tips to start playing.

Table of Contents

What Is a Sit and Go Tournament?

An SNG tournament is an on-demand poker tournament. Instead of a scheduled time, the tournament starts right when your table is full.

SNG tournaments are typically single tables with 2, 6, or 9 players. ICE Poker’s SNG tournaments are 6 players.

There are also multi-table SNG tournaments and different formats with varying stakes, speed, and blind structures which we’ll cover later in this article.

How Sit and Go Tournaments Work

Think of SNG tournaments as mini tournaments—your goal is to be the last player standing at your table.

  • Every player starts with the same amount of chips (usually 1,000 to 2,000 chips).
  • Blinds increase at set intervals.
  • Once you lose your chips, you’re out.
  • The last player remaining wins the majority of the prize.

Here’s an example using ICE Poker Arcade.

ICE Poker Arcade: Sit and Go tournament
ICE Poker Arcade: Sit and Go tournament

The tournament started after 6 players joined the table. All players are given 1,200 chips, which you can see under each player’s avatar.

Along the bottom of the screen you’ll see:

  • Prizes
  • Tournament position
  • Current blinds
  • Next blinds
  • Time until next blind increase

Blinds start at 10/20 and will increase every 3 minutes. After 3 minutes, the blinds will be increased to 15/30, and so on until there’s 1 player remaining.

Sit and Go Tournament Prize Structure

The top 2 or 3 players win the prize pool from SNG tournaments.

  • Top 2 win in 6-player tables
  • Top 3 win in 9-player tables

The general prize payouts are:

  • Top 2
    • 1st place: 60%
    • 2nd place: 40%
  • Top 3
    • 1st place: 50%
    • 2nd place: 30%
    • 3rd place: 20%

To learn about ICE Poker’s SNG tournaments and prize structures, check out our ICE Poker Arcade blog post.

Prize Structure Example

Let’s use a 6-player tournament with a $10 buy-in as an example.

A 6-player tournament would have a $60 prize pool with the following prize payouts:

  • 1st place: $36 (60% of the prize pool)
  • 2nd place: $24 (40% of the prize pool)

Types of Sit and Go Tournaments

SNG tournaments come in hundreds of types with varying sizes, buy-ins, speeds, and more. We’ll cover some of the main types below.

  • Heads-up: These are 2-player tables where you go heads up against another player.
  • Deep stack: Increased starting chips and often have longer blind levels.
  • Turbo: Fast-paced gameplay with quick blind increase times.
  • Hyper Turbo: If Turbo wasn’t fast enough for you, these tournaments offer even quicker blind increases.

The world of SNG tournaments is diverse and constantly evolving with new game variants. If you want to see what formats are available at ICE Poker, check out our SNG tournament schedule and formats.

Sit and Go Tournament Strategy

Tournaments can be broken down into 3 phases:

  • Early Game
  • Middle Game
  • Late Game

Here’s a quick overview of each.

Early Game

Don’t be too eager to get involved at the start.

With low blinds, play conservatively and tighter than normal. There’s no need to risk a lot of your chips early when the reward is low. Wait until a couple of players are eliminated before jumping in and being ultra aggressive.

Patience pays. Preserve your chips for the middle and late stages of the tournament when the blinds are high enough to steal.

Middle Game

Alright, some players have been eliminated and the blinds are rising. Now what?

The table will become tighter overall as blinds increase. While other players are scared of losing too many chips, this is where you can be more aggressive.

Eliminate limping, and watch for situations where you can accumulate chips by stealing blinds.

Late Game

You’ve made it down to the final 2 players—time to bring it home.

In heads-up, it usually comes down to whoever gets the best cards quickest. Your range should widely expand at this stage. Be aggressive as much as possible, especially when in position.

Want to level up your Sit and Go tournament skills? Check out these tips:

Ready to Hit the Tables?

Hop into the ICE Poker Arcade to start entering SNG tournaments and practicing your skills.

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