Poker Strategy for the Early Stages of a Poker Tournament
So what is the basic strategy for being successful in single-table dewabet tournament play. Always remember that the goal is to finish at least third place so ensuring a profit on the tournament. If after that you can finish second or even win then so much the better. Applying a solid strategy is the key to “in the money” experiences.
In Texas Holdem poker tournaments the early stages are defined by the small blind and big blind. The S and B each give you about a minute to find a hand to play before the flop (3 community cards) occurs. The blinds move around the table to the left with each hand. The concept is that you find a hand to play and call the big blind or fold (usually meaning you are taking your chances and throwing away money by folding).
If you are on the button as the first hand you should be very careful you hand. In the small blind you should be willing to take a few risks, but the big blind is not looking for risks, just a fair chance to place.
When the blind comes around you should try to have a strong hand or a big chip stack to ensure you take the blind out with minimal losses. Try to have a good read on the players around the table. Don’t be afraid to take a few risks, but when you are in late position and the flop gives you a few possibilities, play with a strong hand.
If you are in the small blind and the flop gives you a medium holding, you should be thinking about taking the blind out. Most players although they have small cards like A-6, will still take out the blind regardless of what comes. You can take out the blind with a raise if you think there is a possibility of another player having a big hand.
In position I try to keep a straightforward hand selection. I never slow play, never check and never call. Your trap should be to slow down occasionally when you have a nice hand, this is especially true in late position. When your opponents are taking each other out, this can make it easier for you to steal the blind. I raise with connectors in position and hands like 6-7 suited. Most of the time I will win the blind to make a straight and my opponents will usually all fold. Some of them will reraise with middle pair or a small pair and some may call with slightly better than average hands.
On the button I play similarly to the above described strategy. I try to pick up blinds by taking the lead when others before me fall back, I try to build a big stack and avoid others stealing the blinds. I raise with hands suited to the range of my opponents. Suited cards of 8-9, as well as high cards (10-J, K-Q) in position are value hands. I raise with these hands, again, to get value bets from the blinds. I am not looking to reraise preflop, in position, unless I am tracking a very tight player or have a very strong hand. On the flop, in position, I play only strong hands, suited or not, I always raise preflop and hope to get heads up with only one other player.
On the flop, in position, against very tight opponents, when there are no raises in front of me, I will throw a small raise out there to see if any players behind me want to play with me. Against three or more opponents, I throw small bets out there to see if anyone wants to play. Against two opponents, I raise with small raises. Against one opponent, I raise with big bold raises.
Against very tight opponents, you can raise with smaller bets and it will not scare off your opponents. Against very loose opponents, you can raise with larger bets and it will help you to get heads up with your opponent.
Before entering a tournament, you should plan your day of play. How many hours are you going to play? You should plan for the long weekend, includingunchihuakeout day, so that you can prepare your mind for the many hours of play over the weekend. Get a daily schedule of the time you want to play in the tournament and block out your time to get ready on your selected day.
In other words if you have a free 8 hour window and you want to play a tournament, you should always wake up at approximately the same time every day and start your day at approximately the same time.
You should always plan for your internet poker account to be updated with the times you want to be online, so that you don’t have to be online for the required 8 hours in order to be eligible for the tournament.