The 5 Most Frequent SNG Mistakes
SNGs are extremely popular these days: the tournament format is indeed a very attractive one, because of the limited number of participants and because of the increased individual odds for each and every one of the players. There are special SNGs that pay out half the participants, so as bankroll-builders, the appeal of SNGs is indeed great.
Despite the fact that they have been around pretty much forever and despite all the great educational information available out there regarding SNG strategy, players still commit numerous mistakes in these tournaments - which is actually great for good players, as long as they know how to avoid those same mistakes.
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Here's a brief run-down of the most frequent SNG mistakes players make:
Most beginners tend to play too many hands during the early stages of the tournament. While conventional wisdom (as well as Dan Harrington's system) recommends that one play few hands and only the best starting hands during this stage, beginners get caught up in the heat of the action and they go overboard, with less-than ideal consequences for their stack.
Another typical mistake that many get lulled into is to play way too passively as the short-stack. Being a short-stack is never a good position to be in, but in the case of SNGs it is doubly tragic. Some obviously adopt this passive stance hoping that someone else may bust out before them, but that is just not going to happen. As the short-stack, one instantly becomes a target for everyone at the table and the other players won't stop until they send him/her packing. Waiting for a decent hand and staking one's tournament life on it is the way to go at this stage, and by a "decent" starting hand we do not mean 10,10 and up...
Some seem not to know that big stacks shouldn't tangle at the SNG table. The goal of someone holding a medium stack is not to attack the chip leader to double up, but to bust short-stacks. Until there's no way around the issue, larger stacks than one's own should be avoided at all cost.
Another problem beginner SNG players run into is: what to do when they are the big stack at the table? Many of them fail to understand that as the big stack, they have to keep their opponents under constant pressure. They take their status as a ticket to the paid stages of the event and become passive, thusly failing to capitalize on their obvious advantage. Aggression is the key here. One does not want to start calling shoves by short-stacks, because this way the fold equity will be lost and calling is generally not a good idea anyway.
Moving up the stakes too early is the most frequent SNG mistake. Let us make this clear: one shouldn't move up to higher stakes unless he has his current stakes absolutely dominated. Ego plays a big role in this one obviously, and whenever ego prompts decisions, they don't turn out to be good ones.