In discussing how he got his start in poker, high stakes phenom Andrew Robl once said that sit and go’s are like “poker with training wheels.” Many players would agree with this since SNG’s offer a bit easier competition than cash games (at comparable stakes), and they’re much quicker than multi-table tournaments.
That’s why it can sometimes be difficult for people to make the transition from SNG’s to cash games. If you’re primarily playing SNG’s, but hoping to make a successful move to ring games, here are some important factors that you should consider.
Chip Stack Considerations
The biggest aspect that changes from sit and go’s to cash play involves your chip stack. In SNG’s, your chip stack is your life because once it’s done, you’ve busted out. This being said, you often have to make moves simply based on your stack size in relation to the blinds. For example, you may not want to play AJ(o) in early position, but if you’ve only got 1,000 chips when the blinds are 100/200, this situation usually calls for shoving.
Cash games differ quite a bit because – any time you lose chips – you can always replenish your stack. That said, the most important thing in ring games is to make +EV moves based on your opponents and the situation; stack sizes don’t come into the equation as much (unless somebody’s purposely playing shortstacked).
Play remains Constant
With blinds gradually increasing throughout SNG’s, the table dynamic changes during the tournament. For instance, when blinds are only at 15/30 and everybody starts with 1,500 chips, players are going to be more conservative. But when the blinds start climbing to 50/100 and on, it’s time to start being aggressive and stealing more. In the case of a cash game, the blind sizes don’t change after X amount of hands. So the play will remain more constant, and aggression will stay on a more even level (excluding player tendencies).
Money Finishes vs. Long-term Value
While most people advise playing to win SNG’s, there are certain situations where your play may be dictated by making it into the money. For example, if the biggest chip stack goes all-in preflop and you’re thinking of calling on the bubble, you may hold off on calling if another player is about to bust out.
Cash games differ in this regard because everything is about long-term value, rather than making it ITM. So if your pot odds are indicating to play suited connectors in a certain situation, you play them since this is a profitable long-term decision.