Poker How To 101 Tournament Poker Strategies
- Raise in a back position pre-flop as the first player in a pot.
If you are on the button, cutoff (one position to the right of the button) or the power position (two right of the power position) look to raise pre-flop when you are first in the pot. This is a play that is more effective starting from the middle stages of the event. The reason this play works so well is that other players tighten up as the risk to enter a pot costs more chips.
- Re-raise from the button or in the blinds when a late position player raises first in the pot.
This builds on the first move. A smart player will use play #1 in hopes of adding the blinds and/or antes into his chip stack. As a result, you should re-raise these players when you are on the button or in the blinds when you think your opponent is trying to steal. Your opponent is going to think you have a premium hand since you put in a re-raise and will be hard pressed to call your raise.
- Calling in the big blind with a range of hands when the pot odds are more than 2-1.
You have to learn how to call raises in the big blind with a range of hands. Too many players simply fold afraid of their opponent’s hand. Example: Your opponent raises to $300, the pot is $450, and your in the big blind for $100. It will cost you only $200 to win $450, and you have 5-6 suited. Call and take the chance of winning a big hand.
- Make the right tournament poker play even if it results in your being knocked out.
You fly into Las Vegas from New York City on a Friday night to enter Saturday’s $1,500 No limit Tournament at the Rio in Las Vegas, Nevada. You get into Vegas in the evening, and walk over to the Rio to register for the event. It will take three days to play the tournament.
On Saturday at noon you enter the Amazon room and find there are 2,700 players in the event. First place will pay over $600,000. You sit down at your assigned seat at your assigned poker table. The room is packed with rows and rows of poker tables, each table filled with players hoping to win the same event.
The tournament director announces “Shuffle up and deal” and all the dealers proceed as ordered. You are in the big blind. The blinds are $25-$50. Each player has $3,000 in chips.
The first player looks at his cards and surprises everyone by stating, “I’m all-in.” The second player peeks at his hole cards and pauses. He’s not sure what to do. After a few seconds, he declares, “I call.” Everyone else at the table folds their cards quickly.
It is now your turn. You look down at your cards. The first card is an Ace of diamonds. You squeeze the next card slowly, and it’s the Ace of hearts. You have pocket Aces!
Two players are all-in. If you call and lose you will be knocked out of the tournament on the very first hand. What should you do?
Call or Fold.
If your opponents both have a pocket pair, like Kings and Queens, you are a 67% favorite. Even if just one of them has a big pair, you are probably still at least a 67% favorite. However, that means you will lose one out of three times.
The correct answer: Call. You have an opportunity to triple up on the first hand. If you thought about folding for even a fraction of a second, you need to re-evaluate the way you approach a no limit poker tournament.
What happened in this situation? The player in seat one had pocket Kings, and the player in seat two had Ace-King of spades.
That meant you were a 83% favorite. The flop was 6-4-2. The turn was a Jack. The river was a King. You got knocked out in the very first hand. Major bummer!