ElkY guides you up the Steps
If you've been keeping an eye on the PokerStars tournament lobby, you know the World Series satellites have been rocking and rolling over the past couple of weeks. Once again, you have countless ways to get into the world's biggest poker event. PokerStars continues to offers one of the most popular qualifiers online. If you've yet to climb the Steps, here's a quick primer from our friend ElkY. He's no stranger to winning these kinds of things, so if you need a little help, best give him a read.
Strategy for Step SNGs on PokerStars
Steps have become a very popular way to qualify for events of PokerStars. In this article, I will give you a few strategy pointers to manage your play in Steps tournamets.
For the sake of this article, we will assume that you are playing a Step 2 with the following structure:
Even though they are Sit and Go tournaments, Steps are very similar to satellites. The bubble factor becomes a crucial concept to play steps optimally, and you should always keep it in mind. Indeed, if you don't reach at least fourth place, you will lose all the work you've done to reach the current step. Obviously, you should really try to avoid such situations.
For the above reason, I suggest that you play a very tight style until you reach six-handed play. Until then, you should try to avoid big confrontations that could potentially hurt your stack a lot, including big coin flips. My suggestion is to pick on small stacks as much as possible. Always use position to keep the initiative so that you can force your opponents to make difficult decisions.
Again, you need to always keep in mind the importance of the bubble factor. For example, when you cover your opponent in a hand and you're holding a medium pair in position, don't hesitate to put you opponent all-in pre-flop. You will often force him to lay down big hands like ace-king. Like is always the case in SNGs, one of the best strategies is to abuse the short stacks whenever the spot is right and until you reach the next pay jump.
To sum up, play tight until you reach six-handed play, and use your position to abuse short stacks by capitalizing on the bubble factor. Furthermore, your greatest weapon will be your ability to constantly adapt to the situation, therefore allowing you to pick your spots in an optimal manner. You will need to be able to distinguish those opponents who are aware of the bubble factor from the others in order to implement your strategy efficiently.
Good luck at the Step tables!