Double or nothing tournaments are growing in popularity in the online poker world with almost every online poker room offering them in some form or another. The double or nothing sit and go’s are very popular at Full Tilt Poker. There are always a ton of double or nothing sng’s running at various levels at all hours of the day. In double or nothing tournaments, half of the tourney entrants double their buy-in while half finish with nothing. For example, in a ten person double or nothing sng the top five finishers would double their buy-in. This unique payout structure dramatically changes how you should approach the game!
Tip #1 – Play very tight for the first few levels
In the early stages of the tournament you should play extremely tight. Only play with premium hands and raise big pre-flop to try to eliminate the drawing hands. At this stage of the tourney you want the donkeys to battle it out and take each other out of the tournament. Try to maintain your chip stack during this stage. These chips will become very valuable in the latter rounds.
Tip #2 – Avoid coin flip situations early in the tourney
This tip is a continuation of tip #1. You want the donkeys to battle it out and take each other out because a double up at this stage is not worth risking your tournament life. The most you can win in a double or nothing tournament is twice the buy-in. However, if you double up early you are still not guaranteed to cash. For this reason it is a very bad play to get all of your chips into the pot in a coin flip situation early on. To make this easier to understand we will use an example. You are playing in a $10 double or nothing sit and go tournament. You have pocket queens, so you raise strong pre-flop. Someone in a later position moves all-in. You put them on Ace-King. In this situation it would be negative value to make the call even though you have committed chips to the pot. The most you can win from the tournament is $20, even if you finish in first place, and even if you do double up at this stage you are far from guaranteed this $20 cash. As you can see by calling you would win $0 50% of the time and you would not win the $20 the other 50%.
Tip #3 – Maintain your stack through the middle stages
In the middle stages you can start loosening up a bit to try to steal some blinds and win some pots to maintain your stack. You do not want to let your stack dwindle away because this will make it difficult to hold on in the later stages.
Tip #4 – Avoid the bubble in the late stages
The worst thing that can happen to you in a double or nothing tournament is busting on the bubble. Therefore you should do everything in your power to avoid this. If you have a large stack you should play tight, but try to maintain your advantage. A good way to do this is making minimum raises now and then when medium size stacks are in the big blind. A minimum raise will be enough to make most players fold at this stage if they are trying to hold on. If you are the medium stack you should try to stay out of the action and hope that one or two small stacks bust to end the tourney. If you are a short stack you need to find spots to push all-in. The best players to push all-in against are the medium stacks who you would be crippled if you double up through them. These players will be hoping that another player does the dirty work for them. The key is to survive in a double or nothing tournament and the most difficult time to survive in the tourney is at the bubble.
Four Double or Nothing Tips was submitted by Niko a professional player hailing from Canada who also runs PKR Bonus Codes.