SNGs To MTTs: How to Make the Transition

Lots of players transition from SNGs to MTTs. SNGs becomes a grind after awhile. And you can make better money in MTTs.

The transition is natural, too. You just need to make some adjustments.

What kinds of adjustments?

Let’s look at a couple examples now.

Open up your shoving range.

In a SNG the rule of thumb is to shove (or fold) with 10 big blinds.

You have just enough fold equity, but not enough chips to play a hand and not commit yourself – or make a mistake by folding.

So instead you play shove or fold.

This is the same strategy for any game really – and that goes for MTTs.

However the difference in MTTs is that you should start shoving much sooner.

There’s not a rule of thumb for MTTs like SNGs. In fact, I think most people still claim that 10 big blinds is the way to go.

But if you pay attention you’ll notice that many players start shoving at 15 or even 20 big blinds.

It really depends on your reads of the table – can you still raise, c-bet and take down the pot on the flop? Then maybe at 15 big blinds that makes more sense – it’s certainly less risky.

But if you got someone to your left that’s a pain in the ass, then shoving and maximizing your fold equity (while still trying to maintain it) is the way to go.

Start reshoving.

Or reshove more often.

In the smaller SNGs you can probably get away with not reshoving… if you play a tighter, more passive game.

But not tournaments. Not if you want to build stacks.

You need to reshove.

I suggest keeping an eye out for guys that steal the blinds often. That opens tons of hands. That is still capable of folding to a shove.

Then start shoving on them.

Stick to the top of your range to start – pairs, strong aces, strong kings, etc. Avoid shoving with dominated hands like JT or A7 – the only exception to the ace/king scenario is if you’re suited. There’s value in shoving those.

Then once you get a feel for your opponents you can probably start mixing in suited connectors and one-gapers – to mix up your range and to shove hands that, even if called, still have equity in a race.

Play more hands post flop.

In SNGs you just don’t have the stack to play post flop (much), let alone play post flop and not take the pot down.

1,500 starting stacks just don’t grant you that freedom.

But 3,000 or 10,000 stacks do – especially with a slow blind structure.

So you got to learn how to play post flop.

This is an entirely different skill set you’re not used to using in SNGs.

But it’s important to learn.

Being able to play post flop will help you build a stack. You’ll be able to avoid coin flips (to an extent).

One could write a book on post flop play – so it makes no sense for me to cover it here.

So I suggest just starting to play more hands. Then review them later.

You can also hire a coach. You can sign up to a training site and watch videos. I think even Dan Harrington of Harrington on Holdem fame has a cash game book or two out there you can read.

I suggest going that route and adding post flop skills to your resume as fast as possible.

Stack off less with top pair.

You’re essentially playing a deep-stacked cash game at this point. You have enough chips to play all 3 streets.

That’s not so much the case in a SNG where you have 75 or 100 big blinds, about what you’d have in a normal cash game. By the time you make a bet or two – you’re committed.

But that’s not usually the case in MTTs – you’re much deeper, at least in the beginning.

So starting off it won’t make sense to get your stack in with top pair, top kicker. It’s just a lot of money and equity to risk.

Stack off with AK.

This is going to come off as a contradiction.

But in SNGs it makes no sense to stack of with AK. You’re just giving up too much of an edge flipping when you can make it deep without having to flip at all.

That’s not the case in tournaments, though. You’re going to have to flip unless you can build a stack.

So I recommend going all in preflop with AK. But only if you have a 100 big blind effective stacks and you’re up against players that are going all in with much worse.

You’ll just want to use your best judgment (for the last two points).