Tournament strategy – getting into the moneyPosted on December 23, 2009 in Poker Tips
Ok, so you have got to the end of the middle part of a long tournament, and built your stack a bit by stealing some blinds.
So what strategy do you need to take to make sure that you get past the bubble and into the money? To the final table even?
If you have been playing your best game up to now then the best advice is to simply keep playing that way. Use a little extra caution when evaluating any big calls if you are just before the bubble. A small risk is greatly increased here as most other players will have tightened up at this stage and are probably playing as slow as they can.
They are essentially giving other players more time to make a mistake – don’t let that be you.
So what happens here if you have a premium hand, say AA, and a bigger stack than you pushes all in? Call? Fold? Is it unthinkable to fold pocket aces? Ever?
I’m not going to say that the right move here is to fold. Or to play. The right move here is to evaluate how your whole game has been so far. How long did it take you to get this far, what was the buy in, how much do you stand to gain if you get to the cash, how important is it to you to get there, and would you be willing to go out now happy that you had played your best game?
It could really come down to whether you feel lucky or not.
All tournament play, in fact all poker play (if you want to make money playing poker), comes down to making the right calls. That doesn’t mean winning all the time, but calling when the odds are in your favor. Coming up to the bubble re-evaluate your odds to factor in the extra risk inherent in this stage of the game.
Finally, if you are in the unlucky situation where you definitely will have to make a move before the tourney is into the money stage, the only real advice here is that you should be pushing, and not calling.
Pushing against a monster chip leader may not be the way to go here. Pushing with position against an opponent with a similar sized stack to your own is preferable here as opposed to having the goods.
Having a premium starting hand but being out of position can mean that you are called by a larger stack and get outdrawn. If you have to go, and I really mean have to, then it’s Position, Opponent, and then the cards.
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