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PokerStars recently introduced a new format in their offerings of Sit & Go tournaments. These “double or nothing” tournaments, as the name implies, only result in two outcomes. You either make the money and win double your buyin, or you bust out and win nothing. The tournaments are single table, 10-handed, and pay the top 5 spots, with each of the top spots splitting the prize pool equally.
The double or nothing tournaments are only available for No Limit Hold’em and Pot Limit Omaha, and come in regular speed and turbo variations for both games. There are a good selection of buyins, ranging from as little as $1 up to $100 (plus rake). Rake is slightly lower for the turbo versions – for example, the highest buyin regular speed tournaments are $108, and the equivalent turbo costs $104 to enter.
The blinds in these SNGs are similar to the standard tournament structure, with blinds starting at 10/20, then progressing to 15/30, 25/50, 50/100, reaching 300/600 by the 10th blind level. In the NL Hold’em games, antes are introduced earlier than normal, coming into play at the 25/50 level. However, the antes are relatively low, only 10% of the big blind. The Pot Limit Omaha SNGs have the same blind structure, but without the antes. In both games, blinds increase every 10 minutes in the regular speed SNGs, and every 5 minutes in the turbos. There are no breaks in either the regular or the turbo variants.
These Sit & Go tournaments will end when there are five players left, since the top 5 all receive the same payout. Surprisingly, they tend to take just as long as the standard SNGs that pay out the top 3 spots. The length of time to finish will usually vary with buyin level, but as a general rule of thumb allow 60 minutes for regular speed and 30 minutes for turbos.
Strategy for these tournaments will also vary slightly by buyin level, but the general consensus is to play tighter than normal in the early rounds of play. The fact that these are 10-handed rather than 9-handed argues for tight play, as does the fact that there is no advantage to having the most chips when the tourney ends. If you manage to win a big pot early on, the best bet is to play even tighter still – there is usually no reason to risk your chips, and often you can even coast into a cash without even playing another hand.
If you find yourself as a short stack however, you will need to gamble at some point to avoid blinding out on the bubble. Picking up the blinds and antes by being aggressive and willing to push all in can sometimes be very effective, given that in many cases the other players will be more reluctant to put their chips at risk by calling. Even though the payout structure rewards survival over chip accumulation, bubble dynamics can still come into play. If you are a short stack in need of chips, but not the smallest stack, you can still put pressure on your opponents if the shortest stack has already folded or is ready to blind out.
These Double or Nothing Sit & Go tournaments are fairly popular, especially at the lower levels. They tend to fill up pretty quickly, with the turbos filling up faster. Head on over to PokerStars and try to double your money!
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