World Series of Poker Europe

Bankroll Builders, Vol. 11: 27 and 45-man SNGs, Part 1

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The multitable sit-n-go is a curious beast. It has the spirit and flow of a tournament along with the more scientific elements of a traditional SNG. Whether you’re an MTT player who needs to rebuild a roll, or an SNG player looking to make the move toward MTTs, the 27- or 45-man tournament represents an excellent hybrid. These are also easily “grindable” games, so if you’re looking to put in some volume and don’t mind a few swings, these could be your ticket to bankroll health.

Where can I play?

For U.S. players, Full Tilt and PokerStars are your best bets. They not only have the widest range of buy-ins but also the largest player base, ensuring that games will fill relatively quickly. However, there are slight differences in structure and payout schedules between the two sites.

Standard-speed SNGs on PokerStars have ten-minute levels and antes that kick in at Level 7. The 45-man SNGs pay seven places and 27-man games pay five places. Buy-ins start with a rake-free $0.25x45 game and increase as follows: $1.20x27, $1.20x45, $3.40x27, $5.50x27, $5.50x45, $11x27, $11x45, $22x27, and $22x45. Turbo SNGs have five-minute levels and the same blind structure as their longer counterparts. Although low-limit 45-man SNGs are available at a variety of buy-ins, ($1.10x45, $3.25x45, $6.50x45, $12x45, and $27x45) 27-man games are not spread in a turbo format on PokerStars.

If you’re looking for 27-man turbos, head over to Full Tilt Poker where turbo SNGs have three-minute levels and no antes. Five places pay and they are available at the $2.25, $6.50, $12, and $24 level. Standard-speed SNGs have six-minute levels and no antes. You’ll find $1.10x45, $1.20x27, $2.25x27, $5.50x27, $5.50x45, $11x45, $22x27, and $26x45 games running around the clock.

How much do I need?

We’re not going to lie to you. These games, especially the turbos, come with some big swings, so get ready. If you want a very small risk of ruin, make sure you have at least 100 buy-ins in your online account to properly weather the roller-coaster ride of multitable SNGs. This number can and should be adjusted relative to the level you’re playing. If you’re playing $1.10 games, 100 buy-ins is a very conservative number, while at the $27 level, it’s a bit thin. As you move up in stakes, the skill levels of your opponents increase as well, hence the need for additional funds in reserve.

Turbos or non-turbos?

This is largely a personal preference as each format has its pros and cons. Turbos tend to fill up faster, which is advantageous for multitablers who are trying to squeeze in as many games as possible. However, with their accelerated structure comes additional variance. There is a lot more room for play in standard-speed SNGs whereas the turbos will come down to push-or-fold poker rather quickly. However, standard-speed games take almost twice as long to play out.

Additionally, the difference in rake between turbos and non-turbos is pretty significant, especially at the micro-limits. On PokerStars, a $1x45 standard-speed SNG has a $0.20 rake (20%) while the turbo version of the same game has a $0.10 rake (10%).

How much can I earn?

At buy-in levels below $27, top players are earning between a 15 and 20 percent ROI over several thousand games. The bare minimum for a sample size is widely considered to be 1,000 games before you’ll have any real indicator of your earn rate. Typically the higher the buy-in, the smaller you can expect your ROI to be as your opponents’ skill levels increase.

If you want to multitable 27- or 45-man games, get ready for some serious swings. We're talking about 15 to 20 buy-in downswings being pretty standard, and even the best players will experience a 50+ buy-in downswing once in a while.

Should I multitable?

In a word? Yes. And now that you know it’s going to take at least 1,000 games to know where you’re at, it’s actually pretty crucial if you want to get anywhere close to that number in a reasonable amount of time. Sure, 12- and 16-tabling isn’t for everyone and for some it’s damn near impossible given their computer setup (I’m staring at a 13” laptop screen right now). If you’re a multitabling novice, start with two or three tables and work your way up until you find your maximum. Laptop users, buy a mouse. That trackpad won’t cut it for long. And make it a cheap, easily replaceable one in case it gets thrown at a wall or out a window.

Should I move up?

First of all, don’t even think about moving up until you’ve played your first 1,000 games. If you’ve done that, are happy with your ROI, and your bankroll is starting to approach 100 buy-ins for the next limit, start by mixing in a few games at the higher limit with some of the ones you’re already grinding. You should discover pretty quickly if you’re ready to move up.

In Part 2 we’ll tackle strategy for each stage of the game. Stay tuned!

Ready to start building your own bankroll? Open an account at one of our online poker rooms today and get on the grind.

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