180-Man Turbo SNG Strategy Guide
If you are looking to play tournament poker, but do not wish to play over 6 or 7 hours in order to reach the final table, 180 man sit and gos may be your game. Most 180 man tournaments last about four hours, and the recently released 180 man turbo tournaments are even faster. These tournaments can get very hectic, but if you play well and make as few mistakes as possible, you will have a good chance to make the money or even win the whole thing.
The most difficult aspect of the tournament is that the blinds increase every five minutes. Most tournaments will raise blinds every fifteen minutes, giving you plenty of time to see a couple orbits before blinds are raised. But with blinds raising every five minutes in turbo's, the action is much different.
Early Stages of 180 Man Turbo SNGs
These tournaments are fairly basic in the beginning: players start with 1500 chips, the blinds begin at 10/20, 180 players to start, and blinds raise every five minutes. The first four rounds or so will be fairly basic poker because until the blinds reach 50/100, your stack will not be very affected by the blinds and antes. As in any other tournament you are not truly in a desperation mode unless you have fallen below 8 or 10 big blinds, and until blinds raise to 50/100 or 75/150, you are probably safe.
The key to starting off one of these tournaments well is by picking the proper hand to double with in the beginning; this will make the expensive blinds much less frustrating. During the first two rounds of blinds attempt to see as many flops as possible. This will give you the best opportunity to double with a suited connector or small pair when you hit a flop hard. Although coin flips are going to be inevitable in these 180 man turbo's, in the beginning you may have the chance to double your stack in a more confident manner.
Right from the beginning, the play will be very aggressive. You'll see all-ins pre-flop very often, as well as people trying to double their stack quickly. This is why you should avoid getting all-in pre-flop early unless you hold QQ, KK, or AA, or are positive that you are ahead.
Middle Stages of 180 Man Turbo SNGs
These tournaments will actually enter the money before the first break, which is one hour into the tournament. This causes play to be extremely sporadic and players with small stacks are forced all-in because of the blinds.
For the middle stages in 180 turbo mans, it is almost more important to focus on blinds rather than the number of people still left. This is because once the blinds reach certain levels, players will begin dropping out faster than you can imagine. If you have built your stack up enough to enter the middle stage you most likely have over 3000 chips, with the blinds being at least 100/200 with an ante of at least 25. This leaves you with around 14 big blinds with ante - not much to work with.
Stealing blinds becomes as important now as it will be when you are much deeper. Although many players do not focus on antes, each player will be letting go of 25 chips every hand, meaning that every pot will automatically start at 525 chips. This means that stealing these once or twice a round can build your stack by 1,000 chips per round, enough to gradually build up for the final stage.
Like usual, attempt to pick out the tightest players (although many tight players do not enter these types of turbo's) from which to steal blinds. If the hand is folded to you in the small blind or dealer position, you should almost always attempt a blind steal because you force the one or two players in front of you to hold a premium hand, and odds are they do not.
Late Stages of 180 Man Turbo SNGs
After the first break you are most likely returning with two tables left, and blinds are now 600/1200 with a 125 ante, automatically placing 2925 into every pot. At this point many of the small stacks are going to become very aggressive to double up in order to enter the final table.
This is your opportunity to build your stack to over 25,000 in order to enter the final table with force. At this point stick to only raising in early or mid position with very strong hands because the short stacks behind you will be very eager to push with any hands, and if you have raised pre-flop with a very marginal hand you are most likely pot-committed, and may lose a substantial part of your stack if a small stack shoves.
Stealing blinds in late position is a must at this stage of the game, and the more often you can pressure medium sized stacks, the more often you will take the blinds. Medium stacks tend to hold off for short stacks and leaders to clash and eliminate one another.
Final Table of 180 Man Turbo SNGs
At this point, depending on how long the final two tables take to collapse to one, the blinds may be at 1500/3000 with a 300 ante or 2000/4000 with a 400 ante. This constitutes any stack below 20,000 to move all in pre-flop, so play will be very aggressive in order to steal blinds and double up. Most players will be very content to reach the final table, and have no trouble pushing all in with very marginal hands in this situation.
If you are sitting on a large stack, you may have the opportunity to sit back and play fairly tight while the short stacks battle for a round or two. After that resume applying pressure to blinds after play drops down to 4 or 5-handed.
If you enter the final table as a short stack you are under pressure to double extremely quick as the blinds are raising so fast. Any hands such as K10, A9, or any pair are all good enough to push all-in. You may only steal the blinds, but at this point those blinds are a life line in order to hold off a round for a stronger hand.
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Also, learn how to play normal 180 man SNGs.