180-player sit and go's are extremely popular, and many good tournament players earn lots of cash playing them. Of course like every type of sit and go, you must adopt a strategy and stick to it when playing the tournament. In this article we will outline how you should approach these sit and go tournaments.
When the tournament starts, you will be on one of twenty tables, all of which will have 9 players to begin with. As more players get knocked out, tables will be closed and players will be moved to new tables so that the same amount of players are at each table. In these early stages you should adopt a tight-playing style, only playing premium hands and playing them strongly ? raising 3x the big blind is what most players stick to when making a strong raise. Most players bet a lot in these early stages because the blinds are low, but this is a mistake and will soon see them become short stacks and get knocked out of the tournament. A general rule to stick to when playing tight and aggressive is only to play strong hands which you are willing to go all-in with if you are faced with a raise. If you can double up in these early stages it will allow you to play looser and see more flop, but only if you can do so cheaply.
As the tournament progresses to the middle stages you will probably be faced with new players on or from a new table. Being able to make good poker reads is essential in tournament poker, because you aren't aware of how these players have been playing at other tables. In this stage of the tournament you should have loosened up and trying to steal blinds if you have good position or with a strong hand. Your goal here is to build your chip stack and look for good opportunities to again double up, especially if you find yourself as one of the short stacks or average.
In the latter stages of this type of tournament your strategy will depend on numerous factors, mainly your chip stack. If you find yourself with one of the biggest stacks, close to the chip leader then you are in great position and should continue playing your same strategy in the hope of making it to the final table. However, if you find yourself average or below, you might need to double, or triple up to even have a chance of making it to the cash. You will have to avoid the large stacks who won't be afraid to bet with anything in the hope of getting rid of you and picking up your chips.
Luck does factor in a poker tournament, and even if you shove all-in with the best hand you could get beaten by an inferior one. One thing all good tournament players will tell you is ? play to win. The difference between 1st place and just cashing is huge so always look to build your stack and never sit back in the hope of just drifting into the cash. Take a $12 buy-in 180-player sit and go on PokerStars for example, here is the break-up of the prize pool:
Entrants: 180 players
18 places paid
Total Prize Pool - $1,980.00
1st - $594.00
2nd - $396.00
3rd - $235.62
9th - $33.66
10th to 18th - $23.76
So as you can see it only really pays to cash in the top 3 out of 180 players, but when you do get a big win it will make up for lots of your losses! $12 to play against 179 other players to win $594, that is great value at PokerStars.