Are You Using These 5 Advanced SNG Tactics?

The basics will take you a long ways.

Raise your good hands. ICM. Shove with 10 big blinds or less.

All standard strategies that can make you money. You could even argue that you don’t need advanced tactics.

But… what if you want to make lots of money? Outplay your opponents? Crush SNGs for insane ROIs?

Then you’re going to need to think outside the box.

5 SNG Tactics Your Opponents ARE NOT Using

The key to beating your opponents is to zig when they zag.

Go left when they go right.

You want to think one level ahead of them.

In doing so you’ll throw them off – force them to make mistakes. That’s how you make money.

Interested? Then here are 5 advanced tactics you can use to throw your opponents off.

1. Have the Nuts? Try a Flat Call

During the later stages most plays / intentions become transparent.

For example, say you have 2,500 chips at 100/200. Someone open-raises to 400 in front of you. You look down at a pair of aces.

You could raise here – say to 1,000 – and hope that you get action.

But when you raise it’s pretty obvious that you’re not going to fold (most times). So you’re only going to get action from the top hands.

Not that we have a problem with that. We have aces. The problem is that our opponents won’t have top hands all that often.

So what we want to do is under-rep our hand. We want to look like we have a weaker hand – that we’re still capable of folding.

So we can do here is flat-call. Just call for 400 chips. This does 2 things:

1) We give the illusion of fold equity.

2) We create dead money.

Often what will happen is someone right after us will see that dead money and shove. The original raiser will fold (usually) and then we snap call. We’ll be up against a hand like TT or KJs.

This is a great way to disguise our premium hands at later stages, and to get a bit of extra value out of them.

2. Flat Call Raise (To Fold)

This is like the idea above.

The difference, though, is that we’re not looking for action – we’re limiting our risk.

For example, say someone shoves all in. The blinds are 100/200 – the pot has 900 in it.

You have 4000 chips and KJs, so you decide to make the call.

The problem – there are 2 big stacks to your left. You don’t want to shove all in here (even though it makes sense) because you have too much equity in the tournament.

So what we can do instead is flat-call the 900 chips. This does a couple things for us:

1) It makes us look stronger – as if we want action – which should increase our fold equity.

2) It gives us the option to fold if someone to our left wakes up with a hand and shoves over us.

We can still fold and have 3100 chips left – plenty to work with.

Do you see how that works? Flatting the raise here gives us the opportunity to still take out the short stack, but without having to risk our entire stack.

Just make sure you know who’s sitting to your left – are they the type to shove wide with lots of dead money in the pot? Then you’ll want to adjust the hands you flat with (something a lot stronger so you can call their shove) or pass on the spot altogether.

3. Keeping the Bubble Alive

One thing you might not realize is how much leverage you have with a stack on the bubble.

The thing is, no one wants to bust in front of a short stack. So you can use this to your advantage.

For example, say the shortest stack is to your immediate left.

Whenever the action folds to you – and it’s the two of you left – you should fold to this player to keep him in the tournament.

But whenever he folds and there’s action in front of you – you should raise or shove all in. Put the ball in your opponent’s court.

Most times they’re going to fold with the short stack still in the game.

Do you see how powerful this is? You keep the shortest stack in, no matter if they have 5 big blinds or 1/2 a big blind. In fact, the shorter this person is, the more leverage you’ll have.

The benefit to this strategy is that by the time this person does bust, you’ll have grinded everyone’s stack down to the point to where they’re fighting for 2nd, 3rd, etc and you’re pretty much guaranteed a first place finish.

4. (Forget ICM) Abuse the Bubble

This is like the last tactic – only we’re not worried about keeping anyone around.

All we do here is shove. Shove. Shove. Shove.

If someone raises, you shove. If someone raises and someone calls, you shove.

The whole idea is to throw your weight around and leverage the situation – the fact that you’re all on the bubble and you have the largest stack.

And if you get to a point to where one player has a tiny stack, then you can use tactic #3.

One tip though – be sure to pay attention to how much you shove and your opponent’s tendencies. At some point someone might say ‘screw it’ and call. You might also run into opponents that are willing to call (however wrong it might be) with hands like KQ, AK or 22.

You don’t want to abuse the table (as aggressively) with players like these – otherwise it’ll be your fault when they call.

5. Raise Instead of Shove

Okay – our last tactic.

One situation we’re all familiar with is when you’re so short you have no fold equity left. For example, when you have 250 chips left at 50/100.

At this point you’d think you’d be out of luck.

And you’d be right… almost.

But there’s one thing left you can do.

Instead of shoving all in, what you can do is make a raise. Raise up to 200 or 225.

Why does this work? Because not everyone is paying attention to your stack. They might have several tables running or maybe they’re recreational players that are browsing forums, texting and Skyping while playing.

They’re just going to see a raise – not that you have a tiny stack left.

If you can pick up the blinds here you can parlay that into a shove the next round. One thing leads to another and, before you know it, you have 8-10 big blinds left and plenty of fold equity.