Double Up SNG Strategy
If you’re looking for a low risk bankroll building strategy, then Pokerstars’ Double Up SNGs are right up your alley. Ten players enter, and five players leave with double their money. There are no points for first and your only objective should be to survive the bubble. For that reason, a good tight aggressive strategy (with an emphasis on tight) is the right way to approach these games. Don’t forget to check out our top five SNG tips article as well for regular SNG and turbo SNG tips.
Keep in mind that these are most profitable when multi-tabling. With that in mind, this guide presents tips designed to help players who plan to play 3 or more tables at once.
Top five Double UP SNG tips
1. Play Tight
Unlike a traditional SNG where you are focused on first making the top 3, and then winning, double up SNGs are about one thing, survive to five. In the early stages of the SNG there is no reason to get aggressive or put yourself at risk when your sole focus is to survive the bubble with at least one chip. For this reason you should play a very conservative game. You want to preserve as many chips as possible for the bubble or situations where you are favored.
Let your opponents eliminate one another and do your best to preserve your chips and look for good spots.
2. Play Push Fold Poker Near the Bubble
When you have around 8 to 10 blinds left in your stack, the value of a standard raise goes down dramatically. At this point in the tournament you should be looking for good situations to put all your chips in the middle of the table. The benefit of moving all-in goes up in double up SNGs where your opponents are even more reluctant than usual to call off a significant portion of their chips.
What you should be looking for in these situations is reasonably strong hands with no openers in the pot ahead of you; or if the size of your chip stack is around 6 to 7 blinds, any two cards will do so long as no one has entered the pot.
3. Get Loose and Aggressive on the Bubble if Necessary
If you are one of the chip leaders, then you don’t need to put your stack in jeopardy by loosening up on the bubble. However, if you are one of the shorter stacked players at the table then you need to look for spots to pick on the medium stacks. The beauty of double-up SNGs is that your opponents will want to do everything in their power to avoid losing in 6th place. This means that you if you are in danger of losing in 6th place yourself, you can jam your entire stack in the middle and force the big blind to pick up a big hand or else risk busting out. Avoid the big stack when making this play.
4. Avoid the Bubble
As mentioned before, you don’t want to go out in 6th place if you can avoid it. Once there are 6 players remaining, the pressure is on the two shortest stacks to make a play and avoid blinding off.
If you are short stacked, it is at this point that you need to take measure of your opposition and figure out what your game plan is. The position of the more aggressive big stacks becomes very important here. If the aggressive big stack is on the button when you are in the big blind and under the gun when the other short stack is in the big blind, the pressure is actually on you even if you have the other short stack out chipped.
Determine who has to make the first move between you and the other short stack and play accordingly.
Regardless of who has to make the first move, it is very dangerous to allow your stack to get shorter than 4 to 5 big blinds. That being said, double-up SNGs are one of the few types of SNGs where it is at times correct to allow yourself to blind off while the shorter stack gets blinded off and eliminated. Experience will give you a better sense of how to handle these situations.
5. Avoid the Big Stack
Whenever you are involved in a hand with a player in a double-up SNG, you would prefer to be the player with the larger chip stack. If you are not yourself the chip leader, this somewhat limits the hands you will be able to play.
The reason you want to avoid the big stack is because the pressure for being eliminated in a double-up SNG is higher than in a regular SNG. This means that being the larger stack has a slight advantage in any confrontation. That being said, a strong hand will definitely make up for this disadvantage.
This is never truer than on the bubble or approaching the bubble. If you are a shorter stack and you are looking for places to move all-in to steal the blinds, avoid the big stack unless your hand is strong enough to go to a showdown.