Are Small Pocket Pairs Profitable in Early Position While Playing S&G’s

There are more poker players on the internet who play in sit and go tournaments then cash games and I’m sure you’ve probably played in several yourself already. When you’re playing in a single table sit and go tournament with nine players your main objective is to survive until you make the money which is the top three positions. In order to survive while playing in low limit sit and go tournaments you’re going to need to show that you can play very tight and only play a strict selection of hands.

A lot of medium skilled sit and go tournament players often wonder whether or not small pocket pairs are profitable when you’re in early position. There are going to be several factors which will help you make your decision including the size of your stack, what the players in front of you did and what the players behind you are capable of preflop. You need to be able to consider all of these factors when you’re thinking about playing small pocket pairs in early position in sit and go tournaments.

More often then not small pocket pairs will cost you more money then they will ever make you because the only time you’re going to typically win the hand is if you hit your set or steal the pot. You only have about a 12% chance roughly of hitting your set when you have a small pocket pair so the odds aren’t really with you. Let’s now take a look at how you should play your small pocket pairs in certain situations from the early position.

  • If nobody has played the hand in front of you and you’re the first to play then I would recommend that you only make a flat call from early position so that you can see how the rest of the table acts. You need to make sure that you have enough chips to flat call though, typically and ideal amount is 25BB’s. If there is a raise after you flat call then you need to decide whether or not you’re getting the right pot odds and implied odds for making the call. If you’re not getting the right odds then you will want to make sure you just fold the hand and forfeit your BB.
  • If you have less then 25BB’s then you really need to consider just folding the small pocket pair because you can’t really afford to lose a BB and you don’t really want to commit all of your chips with at best a roughly 50% chance to double up. In sit and go tournaments the goal is to survive so you should wait for a better hand to make your stand with then a small pocket pair.
  • If you’re facing a raise already in front of you then you need to consider if you should just fold your hand and lose any money on the hand. The reason being is you could be dominated already in the hand especially since it was an early position raise from your opponent. If you do make the call then you need to worry about not only someone re-raising the pot preflop, but also how you’re going to play the pot after the flop if you don’t hit your set.

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