Sit and Go tournaments (SNGs) are a unique form of poker for a couple of reasons. They are popular primarily online (although you will see them crop up in live casinos from time to time, and they do become popular when a big entry tournament needs to run satellites). They are also one of the most stable forms of poker strategically speaking, especially the single-table variety.
Since the fields are small, the payouts are fixed and the blinds become very significant to the average stack fairly quickly, proper decision making in SNGs is less complicated than in other forms of poker, and can be expressed mathematically with a level of precision that’s impossible to achieve in a cash game. Nowhere is this more true than in the end stages of SNGs, which tend be ‘jam or fold’ games where your decision is usually a polar choice between risking all of your chips or none.
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That’s where software like SNGWiz comes in. What the software aims to do, in a nutshell, is to help you understand which situations you should be willing to commit chips to, and which you should avoid. It’s basically a highly specialized calculator that takes into account the key variables present in SNG end stage play (chip value, stack size, hand strength and opponent hand ranges) and offers conclusions regarding profitable play.
Before getting into the details, I’ll make one thing perfectly clear: SNGWiz (or a competing program with similar features) is an absolutely necessary tool for anyone who’s even vaguely serious about excelling at SNG play. It’s highly unlikely that most people would be able to come across the insights you gain from SNGWiz manually, and even if you could, the time involved in doing so would be better spent working on the aspects of SNG play that SNGWiz doesn’t cover.
With that out of the way: SNGWiz is pretty excellent at what it does. After you provide it with a tournament situation (you can either enter a scenario manually or feed in an entire SNG hand history) and assign your opponents hand ranges, SNGWiz will output the expected value of your potential decisions.
SNGWiz also offers a quiz mode. Select the parameters (stack size and blind ranges, difficulty level and so on) and the program will generate a string of hypothetical scenarios that allow you to test your understanding of proper play.
The real value of this program lies in a simple fact – namely, that proper SNG strategy is at many points very counter-intuitive, even (and in some cases, especially) for fundamentally good poker players. With SNGWiz (and a little work) you’ll be able to identify several of these points, giving you a significant edge over your average lower-stakes online opponent.
The software is not free, but you can evaluate a full version of SNGWiz for 30 days before deciding if you’d like to purchase it.
The biggest con for many casual players will likely be the price tag. At $99, this might be slightly stretching the budget of the hobbyist. The good news is that, assuming effort on your part, the software will likely improve your SNG game, helping to defray some of the cost.
All of my complaints with the program are pretty cosmetic. The software interface is a little confusing at points, and the navigation options are a little obtuse. Most users would probably appreciate a more integrated tutorial feature, and maybe some help or reminder functions built into the software proper.
A small, but annoying, bug: The “open a tournament history from site ‘x’ ” links the software provides on the main screen didn’t work for me.
Like most poker resources, you’ll largely get out of SNGWiz what you put into it. The program isn’t a magic bullet that will instantly destroy all of the leaks in your game. Rather, it’s a specialized tool that’s best employed solving problems that arise at the end stages of SNGs. If you understand that data that’s going in and trust the conclusions that come out, you’ll be adding a powerful resource to your arsenal.
Don’t Forget: Software and other tools like this are available free via PTP Rake Rewards.