Sit and Go Strategy: Equity
In a sit-and-go tournament, it is important to understand the idea of equity. Equity is a concept that not all sit-and-go players think about, but it is a concept that can change the way you think about sit-and-gos. If you understand equity, you have a great chance of improving your ROI (return on investment) in sit-and-gos.
What is Equity?
Equity is simply how much a sit-and-go tournament is worth to you. In a ten-handed sit-and-go where all players are equally skilled, you would have ten percent equity. Therefore, in a $10 plus $1 sit-and-go (where the $1 goes to the house take), since the total prize pool is $100, you have $10 equity. This means that over time, each sit-and-go is worth $10 to you. If you play ten sit-and-gos, you can expect to finish on average third once, second once and first once, winning $20, $30 and $50 respectively. This represents a win of $100 over ten trials, or $10 per trial.
However, the whole point of poker and what makes poker interesting is that not all players are equally skilled. The more skilled you are, the more likely you are to win and hence the more equity you have. The less skilled you are, the less equity you have. Someone who has never played before might take twice as long to cash as an average player and have only five percent equity. This player is effectively losing $6 for every $10+$1 sit-and-go they play. Another player may be more skilled than the average player is and have 15 percent equity. That player is winning $9 for every sit-and-go they play.
Making Equity Work for You
How does this affect you? It should be clear that the difference between your being a winning sit-and-go player and a losing one is how much equity you have in each sit-and-go. This is not a function of the size of the sit-and-go buy-in, except in that stronger players tend to gravitate towards higher buy ins. It is entirely a function of your skill relative to other players. What this means is that game selection is much more important in sit-and-gos than card skill. For every player you can get at a sit-and-go table that is weaker than you, you gain equity. When you gain enough equity, you win money over repeated trials.
The way to get weaker players in sit-and-gos is through observation. Watch the players and see how they perform. Observe what they do and how they do it. When you find a player who is clearly weak, make notes on the player and add the player to your buddy list. Before long, you’ll have an extensive list of weaker players. When your list indicates that a few are sitting at the same sit-and-go, get in there and go to work!