"Super turbo" sit-n-go tournaments are now a staple on many online poker sites.
The typical super turbo has levels of about three minutes and many last 20 minutes or less. Six-handed super turbos can take even less time depending on the limits and quality of players.
Because they play so fast you need a special skill set to make the most of them. Here are some tips for playing super turbo sngs.
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1. Be Patient Yet Aggressive Early
The first 2-3 levels in an ST (short for super-turbo) will allow you to be somewhat patient as the blinds are still manageably low to your stack. So you don’t need to sit there and shove with any two cards as you see some players do.
However when you do receive a big hand, you want to play it aggressively. You should also loosen up your range a bit unless you have somehow picked up a read on a player. (That is possible because you will see many of the same players in these STs.)
You will want to play most any pair aggressively and any A-J through A-K. If you happen to make it to the button, you can probably play any A-8 and up and maybe even K-Q and K-J aggressively depending on your field.
Don't be afraid to play for your whole stack early. In many cases you'll find players that will shove early with anything they think is reasonable, and in some cases with any two cards.
Of course, if you're faced with a shove and at least one call, you probably want to have a decent hand before playing two players all-in.
2. Use Position and Pressure Medium/Short Stacks in Middle Levels
By the middle levels you ideally have been able to get a few chips to make life hell for the shorter and middle stacks. However, you don't want to play too many hands out of position light.
Many of the shorter stacks are going to try to find a way to double-up and will be making some moves. Your best chances to pick up chips without big hands is in late position or in blind vs. Blind situations.
Don't be afraid to take a shot of knocking out a short stack with a reasonable hand. Short stacks will make moves and shove somewhat light at times, so hands like your medium strength aces and K-Q, K-J, K-10, and Q-J are reasonable calling hands.
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3. Loosen Up Your Range Late
Once you get to about three players, you need to really loosen up your range -- even more so than in a typical SNG. The exception would be if you get three-handed with the blinds relatively low to your relative stack.
All aces, kings, queens and pairs should be played aggressively here. Don’t be afraid to speculate with other hands if you can get in for the cost of the blind or twice the blind if you have a good stack.
When playing STs in the late rounds, be prepared to go to war with any hand you come in opening with pre-flop. So don’t speculate with raises unless you have a read and think that the player won’t play back.
Don’t get too crazy with shoving pre-flop. If you have a short stack that you can afford to gamble with, that’s one thing. But if the stacks are close to even or somewhat deep relative to the blinds, decent players will wait for a solid hand to call your all-in and chances are you'll be behind.
4. Luck is a Thing
Also, realize that luck will play a huge factor in these events.
Yes, your skill can make you a long-term winner. But you will experience greater variance due to the lottery factor that many players use in playing these hands. (This means they shove and hope to hit. Sometimes they hit.)
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Most online poker sites have STs at all buy-in levels. While these games are higher variance, they do allow players to play games a lot faster than normal and is great for the ADD crowd or for those that just want a quick poker fix.