There are very few things more important to becoming a strong Jackpot Sit & Go player than understanding the power of position in poker. Perhaps you’ve witnessed this phenomenon for yourself in a low-stake cash game; a couple of inexperienced players will limp from early position and a competent player on the button makes an isolation raise and instantly becomes the driver of the hand.
More often than not, if the first limper folds, the rest do as well and the button takes down the pot uncontested. Alternatively, if the original limper calls the raise, a chain reaction of additional calls follows and, when the flop comes AA4, everyone checks to the button who makes a small cbet and takes down the pot. Is the button holding an ace? Maybe. But if the player is positionally aware, he or she could be isolating an incredibly wide range in this scenario and should not be given credit for a hand so liberally. Of course, the beauty of position in poker, particularly on the button, is that the player in the example above now has the power either to check back the flop and see the turn for free, or begin firing away and putting his or her opponents to multiple tough decisions. Because the more tough decisions you force your opponents to make, the more likely they are to eventually make a mistake (or multiple mistakes).
Essentially, being out of position is like being in a boxing match where you have to warn your opponent before every single punch you throw.
Doesn’t sound like a very good game plan, does it?
Because although you might slip a lucky shot through your opponent’s defenses every now and again, more often than not you’re going to end up laying on your back seeing stars wondering why you even agreed to enter a fight at such a massive disadvantage.
Yet, in poker, people voluntarily accept this disadvantage over and over again and wonder why they never seem to win a fight.
Using Position To Increase Your Edge In Jackpot Sit & Go Tournaments
So now that we understand why position is so important, how do we utilize the power of position to increase our edge in the games?
For this discussion let’s look at the most popular and exciting game format that have taken the online poker world by storm the past few years: Jackpot Sit & Gos.
Jackpot Sit and Go tournaments are played either 3-handed or 4-handed, have accelerated time-structure, and adds a jackpot element to the game that offers players an opportunity to win up to a million dollars in under 5 minutes. Not only is the short duration of Jackpot Sit & Gos great for your hourly, but it also makes them great games to work off first-deposit bonuses or grind up a little bit of rakeback while taking a shot at a huge score.
The reason we’ll be looking at these games in particular today is because it allows us to simplify the discussion on position since there are only 3 positions for us to consider: the button (BTN), the small blind (SB), and the big blind (BB).
Button Strategy In Jackpot Sit & Go Tournaments
Since we’ve already seen how powerful the BTN position can be in the example above, we should immediately recognize that every third hand in a Jackpot Sit & Go we will have a huge edge on our opponents, which we should exploit by expanding our range, or to simplify, play a lot more hands. Not only should we be raising and shoving more hands, but notice too that if we decide to limp the button, we will still have the option to call either of our opponents’ raises and play the remainder of the hand in position, assuming the raise wasn’t all-in of course.
For this reason many players choose to limp the button with hands that they would like to see the flop with but can’t call an all-in reraise with, hands like KTo or Q9o, for example.
If you’d like to see a complete breakdown of which hands to use as limps, raises, and shoves, check out our Jackpot Poker Hand Charts.
Small Blind Strategy In Jackpot Sit & Go Tournaments
Although there are ways to minimize it’s inherent disadvantage, generally speaking, the SB is by far the worst position in a Jackpot Sit & Go tournament, as well as in the majority of poker variants. The reason this is so is due to the the fact that the player in the small-blind will be playing out of position for the entire hand against both the BTN and the BB. For this reason, the SB is often the position player struggle with the most, both theoretically and as it relates to their bankroll.
One way to minimize the disadvantage inherent to the SB against the BTN is to call a relatively tight range (meaning, fewer hands) and reraising (aka 3betting) more often to take the initiative away from our opponent and exploit the fact that we know they are likely to be raising a wide range due to their advantageous position and will therefore often be unwilling or unable to put up much resistance against our aggression.
And while we know we will be at a positional disadvantage when playing as the SB against the BB as well (also known as “bvb” for blind-versus-blind), we actually usually want to have a much wider range in this situation since we have the initiative and are only facing a single opponent (not to mention that most recreational players simply do not defend the BB enough when facing a raise in a short-stack situation).
However, when playing a more experienced player who we can expect to fight for every chip, tightening our range from the SB will often be optimal (as well as employing more advanced strategies such as out-of-position floating, or limp/reraising the BB’s iso raise).
Big Blind Strategy In Jackpot Sit and Go Tournaments
Although the big-blind position is at a similar disadvantage against the BTN as the SB, it is a much preferable position since it will always have the positional advantage against the SB.
Since it will often be ‘closing the action’ preflop, either by folding, calling a raise or 3betting-all in, the BB should play a much wider range against BTN raises than in the SB.
Additionally, the BB should be calling an ever wider range against a SB raise when the BTN folds since it will now have positional advantage for the remainder of the hand and can often call cbets with relatively weak holdings (aka floating) with the intention of taking the pot away from our opponent at a later point in the hand.
And although the intricacies of position-play run much deeper than this short analysis can present, but when looking at the examples above we can begin to see that, in poker, position really is King!
Receive the complete Poker Fundamentals E-book