180-Man Tournament Strategy Guide

180 Man SNG Strategy180 man sit and gos have become quite popular in recent years because they offer players a chance to win lots of money without having to spend all day long in a massive, 4,000 person tournament. A 180 man SNG can run from start to finish within three or four hours.

The proper strategy for 180 man SNGs is basically the same as for normal multi-table tournaments. You will want to start out playing a tight game and then slowly increase the aggression as the blinds increase. There’s more to it than that, of course, but that’s the basic idea.

Early Stages of a 180 Man

The early stages are the easiest to play. All you have to do is play a solid, tight game and look for big hands. When you are in late position, you can play drawing hands like suited connectors and small pocket pairs if other people have already limped in in front of you. Do not play small hands when the pot has been raised. The stacks are not deep enough to justify you calling raises with speculative hands.

When choosing which hands to play, always consider your position at the table. You should play an extremely tight game from early position, a pretty tight game in middle position and a somewhat tight game in late position. In early and middle position, stick with hands that can win pots without help from the board. Hands like the big pocket pairs and AK – AQ are perfect.

Stealing isn’t really necessary in the early stages because the blinds aren’t big enough to justify the risk. The early stages are fairly loose so your steal attempts will not work very often anyway. Your focus during the early stages should be to play a tight game and look for legitimate opportunities to double up.

Middle Stages of a 180 Man

The middle stage of a 180 man SNG begins around the second hour when the blinds are about 50/100. This part of the tournament is a major turning point. Many of the weak players will have been knocked out by now and you’ll now have to start padding your stack with well-timed blind steals.

You cannot rely on hand strength in the middle stages because the blinds are too high for you to sit and wait. You need to get active at this point and start taking some blinds. Otherwise, your stack will be chipped away to nothing before you know it.

It is crucial that you do not let yourself become too short stacked. Fold equity will be your main weapon for the rest of the tournament so you can not let your chip stacked be whittled away to nothing. It is better to push all-in and be knocked out than it is to let yourself get blinded down so low that you have no fold equity.

The Bubble of a 180 Man

The closer the tournament gets to the bubble, the more certain players will tighten up. Those are the players who don’t care about winning the tournament so much as making it to the money. Those are also the perfect players to steal from. While they are huddling down and praying to survive, you can steal blind after blind from them. At this point, the blinds will be quite significant so the extra padding will help a lot.

Be careful who you steal from, because many players are familiar with the strategy of stealing during the bubble. These players may pull the occasional re steal against you. You can combat these players by doing the same thing: stealing their steals.

Remember that the prizes in 180 man SNGs are heavily weighted towards the top few players. You won’t make any money by barely squeaking past the bubble or even making it to 10th place. You need to go for that 1st place finish every time for you to have a long term positive win rate in 180 man SNGs.

The Final Table of a 180 Man

It’s great that you’ve made it this far but you still have a lot of work to do. The final table is probably the most difficult and stressful part of the entire tournament. The remaining players can just about taste the prize money so you can expect them to bring their A-games to the table.

During this stage, you need to play solid, aggressive poker. Pay close attention to each player’s style and steal any time you can get away with it. If you catch a strong hand preflop, play it the same way you would a stealing hand. Come in with a raise like normal and hope someone thinks you’re just trying to steal. If you show down a strong hand after raising with it, people will think twice before re-stealing your steals.

When it gets down to heads up play, you should really turn up the aggression. You want to be a nightmare for your opponent. Don’t be afraid to go out in 2nd place by playing too strongly. As you get more experience, you can fine tune your strategy but for now, know that it’s better to go out pushing than it is to go out calling.


Start out tight in the early stages and increase the aggression as the blinds increase. You can play drawing hands during the early stages but only if you can get in cheaply in late position.

In the later stages, you’ll have to rely more and more on stealing to stay alive. The best opponents to steal from are the ones with medium-sized stacks because they are the ones that are holding on to their chips the tightest. The small stack and big stack players are not as afraid to make those big calls.

Now that you know how to play 180 man tournaments, learn how to play 180 man turbo tournaments.

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