So, if sit and go's are so good, which version of the game should you be playing for maximum return? The ten handed game or the short handed version.
There are big differences between the ways that the two games are played. The ten handed version of the game requires much more aggression while the six handed game needs patience so in essence you can choose your game depending on what type of player you perceive yourself to be.
The reason for the differences between the two games lies in the amount of total starting chips and how they are won.
In a ten handed sit and go with everyone getting 1500 chips to begin with there are a total of 15,000 chips to be won and take down the tournament. The normal pattern of a ten handed sit and go is that a player will bust out early doubling up another player. By the time we get down to four handed play (the bubble in this game) we normally have one player who has a big cheap lead over the other three players left in the game.
For example one player will have around 6,000 chips whilst the other three will typically share the remaining 9,000 chips between them giving them roughly 3,000 each.
When we get to "bubble play" (the point at which the next person out gets nothing and the other three players all cash) the player with the most chips can afford to be selectively more aggressive in their play. They know that anyone who wants to put up a fight risks being eliminated on the bubble whereas if the aggressor loses the hand they are still in the tournament with a fighting chance.
It's usually the chip leader at this point that keeps putting on the pressure while the other three players duke it out for second and third places. With none of these players wishing to get eliminated on the bubble.
This is why aggressive play in a ten handed sit and go is so effective.
Contrast this with our six handed sit and go.
In this game we have six players all with starting chips of 1,500 which gives a total of 9,000 chips to be played for.
Only the first two players get paid so the bubble point comes at three players. Now, despite the blinds increase at the same rate as a ten handed game (say about ten minutes), because there are only six players in the game the hand frequency is far higher than in a ten handed game and so you will get to see far more hands in a shorter time frame.
The inexperienced player there before perceives that the pace of the game has increased dramatically which, in terms of hands dealt, it has. But the blinds rise at the same rate as a normal ten handed game.
It is this dynamic that catches many people out when they try to make the transition from the ten handed sit and go to the short version of the game. Your blinds disappear faster because the amount of hands dealt per hour has increased dramatically.
However paradoxically, the way to beat the six handed game is to play with patience and keep your flights consistent with the pace of the rising blinds.
By the time we get to bubble play in the six handed game (three players) we typically have one player with about 4,500 chips and the other two players share the remaining 4,500 between them. The blinds are usually at 50/100 at this stage of the game.
This is why it is so important to play with patience in the short handed version of the game - because players bust out so much earlier you get a lot more opportunity to wait for premium hands while the blinds are still comparatively low measured against your stack. There is patience and not aggression is your friend in the six handed sit and go.
There lies the answer to which type of sit and go you should be playing. If you are an aggressive type of player then the ten handed place and go is probably going to suit your style of play much more than the six handed version which requires patience to be a consistently winning player.
Good luck at the tables!