Step Poker Tournament Strategy

As most U.S. online poker players probably noticed so far, Online poker rooms have been adding Step Sit and Go poker tournaments. These tournaments allow you to try and earn your way to WSOP events and destination poker tournaments. In fact you can do it for as little as .10 cents. Starting with Step 1, you try and finish in the top 2 to earn your step 2 ticket. From there on every step is the same.

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Get in the top 2, move on to the next step. Finish in the top 3 or 4, and you get to retry the step you were currently playing. The best way to put it is finish in the top 4 of any step, and you lose nothing. Sometimes when you finish 5th or 6th, you just get bumped down a step. So if you are playing a Step 6 and finish 5th out 9 people which is pretty easy to do, you just get bumped down to step 5 and just have to work to get back to step 6. The Step Program is as follows:

Example for WSOP Main Event Step Tournament

  1. Step 1=.10
  2. Step 2=.30
  3. Step 3=$1
  4. Step 4=$3
  5. Step 5=$10
  6. Step 6=$30
  7. Step 7=$90
  8. Step 8=$250
  9. Step 9=$750
  10. Step 10=$2250

When you win Step 10 you win a $12k WSOP Prize Package, and if you finish 2-4th you get a good amount of cash back.

It is important to remember when playing these step tournaments, like those found at Americas CardRoom,  that you aren’t playing to win, and that getting 2nd place is the same as 1st. It is not your job to take people out, just to move on to the next step. If you hold 55 in the Big Blind, with 6 k in chips, blinds are 200 400, and someone with 4600 shoves; you might consider folding if its 3 handed, depending on the other stack size. I’d much rather make someone make a tough call, than make one myself.

There is definitely a flow to these steps. Almost everyone at the table can see that finishing 5th or better is going to get them some kind of ticket, so therefore you can assume that in a 9 handed SNG, the bubble begins at 6 handed!!! Because of this, a lot of people are playing tight.

Rightfully so as the blinds mean nothing. The other side of the coin though is noticing this and exploiting it. Get a feel for who you can 3 bet light. For me it’s normally the guy who has chipped up a little, as he feels he is the most likely to move on to the next step. Anyone who has played SNG's knows what I’m talking about, when it comes to exploiting the bubble. It’s just in these steps that the bubble occurs so much faster.

In addition to this exciting new way to try and make it to big live poker events, you can also make it to Aruba, Punta Cana, Russia and more by winning Step 1 through Step 10.

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