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Full Tilt Super Turbo SNG Strategy

  • Rahul MaitraRahul Maitra
Full Tilt Poker

Super Turbo Sit & Go single table tournaments at Full Tilt Poker can be a profitable action packed addition to your rotation of poker games. They start with nine players (Full Tilt recently added six man tournaments), ten big blind starting stacks (300 starting chips) and three minute blind increases. The games have several benefits: (a) each lasts only approximately twenty minutes, (b) the mathematical and somewhat formulaic nature of the game lends itself well to multitabling and (c) they can be played somewhat mechanically if you want to grind a quick session without complicated deep stack decisions. The rest of the article will review several hands and explain the proper course of action. Before reading the answers, decide what action you would take. We will use a $100 nine man tournament for each of the following examples with each percent of equity being worth $9 (total prize pool of $900/100).


Hand 1

The first hand of the tournament (15/30 blinds) after one fold the second player moves all in. It is folded to you on the button and you have 99. You think he would push with 77+ and AJ+. Do you call? What is the weakest hand with which you can call?

Hand 2

You hold K6s on the button five handed with blinds at 30/60. The stacks are 590, 450, 320 (you), 570(SB) and 770(BB). It is folded to you. Do you move all in?

Hand 3

Four even stacks of 675 are left and blinds are 50/100. You have ATo in the big blind and an aggressive button player shoves. You believe he would shove with 40% of his hands. Do you call?

Proper Super Turbo strategy requires a deep understanding of opponents’ hand ranges and the implications of the 50/30/20 payout structure. Unlike cash games where all chips have the same value (each dollar earned is equal) a positive chip equity play (+cev) may be a substantial losing money equity play (-$ev). Chips are only “cashed out” when you finish in the money. The jump from fourth to third is worth 20% of the prize pool, from third to second is only 10%, and the final jump is again 20%. The implication is you should be willing to trade some second place finishes to get more first and third place finishes.

SitNGo Wizard (“Wizard”) is a program which uses independent chip model analysis (“ICM”) to examine the relationship between cev and $ev. The program has a quiz section preset with the Super Turbo structure and also allows you to upload your recently played tournaments. Reviewing your past tournaments to find mistakes is crucial to improving Super Turbo play. Each time you review a hand you played you must adjust the hand range Wizard ascribes to each opponent to the hand range you put the opponent on.


Hand 1

You must fold. Wizard recommends calling with TT+ and Ak. This should be your default calling range in early rounds versus an early position shove. Calling with 99 would reduce your equity in the prize pool from 11% to 10% (a $9 mistake). Your open shoving range from early position should be approximately 99+ and AQ+.

Hand 2

This hand is very sensitive to the blinds’ calling ranges. If they are both tight, the small blind calling 16% (he has to worry about the big blind picking up a hand) and the big blind calling 28% you are at about the breakeven point of profitability. You can shove your top 30% of hands (any ace, any pair, most broadway cards, kings to k8o and k4s). If the big blind is a defender, calling 40% of his hands, you have to tighten up to about 22% of your hands (any ace, any pair KTs+, KJ+). If we move you to the cutoff and place the 450 stack on the button you must now fold K6s even if all three to follow are tight. The presence of even one more player who may have a hand forces you to tighten up considerably. You can only shove 20% or so versus reasonable calling ranges. Put more simply, when you are the short stack the button is gold. If the button is gold, the small blind may be platinum if folded to you and you have a tight big blind, as you can steal mercilessly with a short stack.

Hand 3

ATo is almost exactly at the breakeven point between calling and folding. I would tend to fold if my opponents were not ICM experts. A fold would allow a player to make a mistake later in the tournament and allow me to make the money. Note that if the button is only pushing 25% of hands, calling with ATo would cost you $15. Also note that if we change the stack sizes so the button has 1275 chips and each of the other two stacks has 375 you cannot profitably call with ATo no matter what percentage of hands the button shoves. If he shoves 40% your call would cost you $32! You must play much tighter here because the elimination of either stack will move you from a zero payout to a minimum of 20% of the prize pool.


These examples are somewhat difficult. I wish there were easy rules to prescribe but the truth is the winners at Super Turbos spend many hours understanding the intricacies of such situations.

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