SAGE: The Sit & Go Endgame System

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A poker player in a blue suit checking their hole cards while deciding what to bet.
BetMGM Jan 18, 2024, 9:24 AM

Sit-and-go poker tournaments are among the most popular ways online poker players can participate in a competitive event without sacrificing time or money. Some poker players even specialize in these tournaments, developing specific strategies to help them win more games. One of these strategies is SAGE.

In this blog, you’ll learn the basics of sit-and-go poker, what SAGE is, and how to play poker using SAGE.

What Is Sit & Go Poker?

Many people think poker tournaments are large events filled with dozens or even hundreds of people, all playing for a chance to make it to the final table. But other poker tournament formats exist, including sit-and-go (SNG). 

Sit-and-go is a poker tournament format where players “sit” at a table, and as soon as the table is complete, the game is ready to “go.” These games can have up to 10 people competing for a share of the prize pool. Players are eliminated from the game once they run out of chips, with the top three players usually receiving prizes according to their final placements.

SNG poker tournaments also have a variety of sub-formats that players can enjoy, including heads-up, deep stack, and turbo SNG poker tournaments.

What Is SAGE?

SAGE stands for “Sit And Go Endgame.” It’s a mathematically calculated late-game poker strategy explicitly developed for SNG poker tournaments under specific conditions. Under these conditions, players only have two choices: go all-in or fold.

If used correctly, it can help you get an edge on players who aren’t used to playing under these conditions, or it can help you even out the odds against players who know how to play well in these situations.

How SAGE Works

It may surprise you that when specific conditions are met in an SNG game, the odds of who’ll place first and second are almost ±100 under particular conditions. These conditions are:

  • Only two players remain.
  • Blinds are high relative to your stacks (players have seven big blinds or less).
  • The small blind goes all in.

Under these conditions, you can use the SAGE strategy to calculate the strength of your hole cards. The “power index” (PI) value of each card is as follows:

Card Power Index
2 2
3 3
4 4
5 5
6 6
7 7
8 8
9 9
10 10
Jack 11
Queen 12
King 13
Ace 15

Now that you know the power index of each card, you can complete these steps:

  1. Double the power index of your highest-value card.
  2. Add that number to your lowest-value card.

In situations where you have pocket pairs, you must add 22 to the total value of your hand, and if you have hole cards of the same suit, you can add 2 more to the total value.

For example, here’s what you would calculate if you had a jack and a 10:

11 x 2 = 22.

22 + 10 = 32.

Your jack is worth 11 points and is the highest-value card, which is why you double it for a total of 22. You then add it to your lower-value card, which, in this case, is a 10. Once you add them together, you see that your power index equals 32.

Here’s another example. Here’s what you would calculate if you had pocket aces:

15 x 2 = 30.

30 + 15 = 45.

45 + 22 = 67.

Both aces are worth 15 points, so you double the value of one of them to get 30. You then add it to the other ace, which is also 15 points for a total of 45. You then add an additional 22 points for pocket pairs, making the power index of this hand 67.

The next thing you need to remember is the “ratio” (R), which is how many times the player with the smallest stack can bet big blinds. You can also define this as the number of big blinds each player has remaining.

Here are the actions you would take, depending on how many big blinds the player with the smallest stack has and whether you should go all-in as the small blind or call an all-in as a big blind.

R or Number of Big Blinds Small Blind All-in or Push Big Blind Call
1 PI 17 or higher Always
2 PI 21 or higher PI 17 or higher
3 PI 22 or higher PI 24 or higher
4 PI 23 or higher PI 26 or higher
5 PI 24 or higher PI 28 or higher
6 PI 25 or higher PI 29 or higher
7 PI 26 or higher PI 30 or higher

For example, suppose the small blind has a hand with a PI of 25, and the player with the shortest stacks has an R of 3; the small blind should go all in. If the big blind in this hand only has a PI of 20, they should fold. 

The Benefits of SAGE When Playing SNG Poker

As previously mentioned, using SAGE under the conditions discussed before can eliminate any gaps in skill and ensure that wins come down to whether or not the cards land in your favor. However, it only works under the previously mentioned conditions and isn’t optimal outside of those contexts.

Enjoy Poker Tournaments and Online Casino Games at BetMGM

Players who are looking to put this poker knowledge to the test can find exciting SNG online poker tournaments and more at BetMGM. BetMGM hosts thrilling cash games and poker tournaments in various formats, including deal-making, heads-up, multi-table, shootouts, and sit-and-go events. These poker games are also available in several variants, including Omaha, seven-card stud, and Texas hold’em. 

And gamblers looking to play at a casino online can also enjoy exciting online casino games. Players can try their luck at online slots, casino table games, variety games, and more, all with a single BetMGM account.

Register at BetMGM to unlock a world of exciting poker and gambling games.

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Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.