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  • Avoiding Risking Your Stack in a Poker Tournament

The thought of NEVER having to risk your enter chip stack throughout a poker tournament is a thought that is crazy to many people. While you actually can’t go throughout a tournament without risking your stack (unless you have the chip lead the entire time), you can definitely make a push until deep into the tournament when you actually end up risking that chip stack. Obviously, there are certain times where you do have to risk your chip stack, like if you pick up a big hand and someone pushes before you forcing you to call off your stack (like ace’s or king’s). Honestly though, one of the BEST ways to play a tournament, is to never have to risk your stack right? What’s not to love about the potential of getting to a final table, and never having to sweat dodging cards?

First off, there are a few things that you need to remember if you are going to hopefully avoid risking your stack throughout a tournament. The first thing is that you have to be willing to play small ball. Small ball is basically where you have to try to win small pots consistently, instead of trying to win big time pots every once in a while. This can be very tough, as it involves a lot of continuation betting, three-betting, and even four betting at times. If you can get to a point where you are forcing opponents to fold their hands on the flop or turn, you can pick up many small pots and just continually build your stack.

Another thing that you have to remember is to be very picky about the raises that you are calling. This includes all-in’s as well, so if your opponents are pushing all in fairly short, you have to be VERY careful about what you are calling with, and putting your opponent on a range of hands. It can be tough to avoid calling all-in’s of opponents that put you much closer to making it into the cash, especially when you have a hand that you really like, or a hand that you think you can be involved in a coin flip with. A big part of making these deep runs without risking your stack, is making big folds and preserving your chips throughout the length of the tournament.

While it’s very important to build your stack, the best time to do so is when you are getting close to the bubble of making the money. When players get close to the money they tend to play much tighter, because they want to get some money back from their efforts. This will give you a chance to pick up the blinds quite often, and also three-bet and steal your opponents raises often as well. The idea behind this is just to keep building that chip stack, and make your opponents make decisions about whether or not they want to risk THEIR chip stack, when they are very close to the money.

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