How to Build a Stack for a SNG Final Table

Lets start this page off with a very obvious statement. Whenever you start a new sit and go tournament, your goal is to make it to the final table.

No brainer. Right?!

However, that statement is missing something important.

You don’t want to just make it to the final table. Instead, you want to make it to the final table with a large stack. The largest possible. With a large stack you’re more likely to take a top finish. But more than that, you can use your stack to pressure other players, steal the blinds and play post flop, so that you can try to secure a 1st or 2nd place finish.

The thing is, though, building a stack for the final table is a marathon, not a race. You have to start building it from the very start. Sure, there are times where you might double or triple up, earning a huge percentage of your stack from a couple of hands. But the best players are the ones that know how to consistently build their stack over the course of the tournament.

Are you one of them?

Would you like to be?

5 Tips for Building a Large Chip Stack for the Final Table

Knowing how to build a stack for the end game of a sng is what will separate you from the other players. You’ll be able to abuse more bubbles, win more games and increase your ROI and hourly rate.

With that in mind here are 5 tips for how to build a large chip stack. I recommend working on one tip at a time, since each one will have it’s own process and learning curve. Your goal should be to incorporate all of these into your sng strategy as soon as you can.

1. Stay Tight Early On & Build Fold Equity

A mistake that many (beginner) sng players make is splash around too early on in the tournament. They have the mindset that splashing around is a good idea because of how cheap it is relative to their stack. Their plan is to play a lot of flops, build their stack when they hit and fold when they miss.


If only they stuck to that plan. But I’ve seen many players get caught up in a dominated hand or 2nd pair type situation that they should’ve let go, but didn’t, and it cost them a large portion of their stack. Hell, I’ve been there myself.

On top of that, splashing around just shaves more and more chips off your stack. Chips you want for when you finally do pick up a strong hand.

More importantly, though, splashing around early on will impact their ability to play hands later.


Because they were so loose early on, they are now viewed that way. They have a loose image. So players won’t give them credit for hands when they shove all in, steal their blinds or c-bet. It’s hard to build a stack when you have no fold equity. So you should be more selective early on so that you have fold equity for when you need it.

2. Increase Your Ante-Aggression

This goes hand-in-hand with number 1. You don’t want to get too crazy in the early stages because we want to be able to play more hands when antes are in play.

The reason why we want to wait for antes is because there will be more dead money in the pot. Take the 100/200 level, for example. With the blinds posted there is only 300 chips in the pot. However, at the 100/200/25 level, there is 525 in the pot. That’s a 75% increase.

That’s a lot of chips. Winning pots with antes in it will help us to build our stack faster.

More than that, though, with antes we’re now risking a smaller or equal amount to win the pot. With these blinds I would raise 400-500 chips, less than what I stand to win. However, without antes you’re risking more than you stand to win, meaning that you have to win more often for it to be a profitable play.

So how do you get more aggressive during the ante stages? A number of things, including reshoving, restealing and stealing the blinds.

3. Steal the Blinds

Another trick for building your stack is to steal the blinds. This works because, assuming you’re in later position, you have fewer players to go through. It’s less likely you’re going to be played back at. Even if you are it’s likely that you’ll have position on subsequent streets.

When it comes to blind stealing I prefer to wait until there are antes for the same reasons I outlined in #1 and #2 above. The pots are bigger and more profitable for me to steal. Stealing blinds at 10/20 just doesn’t have the same impact that stealing blinds at 100/200/25 does.

When I am ready to steal the blinds I like to raise as little as possible, preferably a min-raise or slightly more than that. This allows me to fold or pick up the pot for as cheap as possible. And since I’m spending less for each steal, I can steal more often. It makes my c-bets cheaper, too.

4. Bubble Aggression

Many players get nervous around the bubble. They’re so close to cashing. They don’t want to make a mistake and bust. So you’ll notice that many of these players are tighter than normal in this situation.

You can use this to your advantage. Instead of being one of those players, you should instead look for them so that you can abuse them. Raise their blinds. Make them play post flop. Make them uncomfortable. These players are the best to attack because they’re not so short that they’re desperate, but not so deep that they can splash around. So their ranges tighten up a lot. They just want to wait and make the final table. So attack these players and watch your stack increase by 10-50 percent, or more.

The players I recommend are the deep stacks, because they can splash around or spite call all ins, even if they have no business doing so. I also recommend avoiding the short stacks that will need to gamble at some point so that they can stay alive. These situations just put us in 50/50 or 60/40, which isn’t what we want. We want folds. Attack medium sized stacks will get us the folds more often compared to the other players.

5. Isolate Short Stacks

Isolating short stacks is another strategy that will boost your stack size. Think about it like this – when you’re short, what do you do? You go all in, right?! And usually with a wide(r) range.

Well, so do your opponents.

And if you have a handle on ranges – what hands your opponents will shove with x blinds from x position – than you can use this knowledge to boost your stack.

Isolating opponents is easy in theory; someone with a short stack will shove, you will determine their range, your pot odds and how likely it is someone will call behind you, and you either raise or shove all in to get that short stack heads up with you.

To get the most out of this strategy I would have SharkScope handy so you can see how good the player is (shoving). The better they are, the wider their range. Also, you should be able to weigh the pros/cons of isolating players with your stack. There are some spots where it doesn’t make sense to isolate players, say when you have a slightly above average stack, because isolating players means running a coin flip or close to it. Isolating short stacks is better when you’re so deep that taking a flip and losing won’t affect you too much. Otherwise, it’s better to stick to other strategies outlined above, like stealing the blinds, until you’re at this point.