Being Careful With Top Pair in Tournament Play
It’s always nice when you’re holding a hand like King-Queen and the flop comes down looking something like Q-8-6. It’s important to remember a few things about playing a hand like this that leaves you with top pair though, and one key part of it is how to avoid playing huge pots when you are only holding top pair. Many people will over play their top pair and end up either losing quite a few chips in a big pot which they should have slowed down in, or potentially just play their hand too strong and push an opponent out of the hand when they could have potentially picked up some additional chips by betting smaller. Today we are going to give some tips and strategy behind when to avoid playing too big with your top pair, and also ways to know when you are being set up by an opponent, and when you should lay down that top pair potentially as well!
Knowing When to Check
Checking is something that can be frowned upon in many situations, but if you are the first person to act after you flop top pair and you are in a heads up situation, it can definitely be a smart thing to do. Now, if you are sitting in position and are the second to act in heads up, then putting out a continuation bet isn’t a bad idea there. Regardless of your specific opponent, a lot will come down to what type of position you are sitting in at this point in the hand. Now, if you bet out at your opponent and they call you on the flop or the turn, it’s a better idea to just check on the turn or the river rather than betting out more. A lot of it will come down to the fact of whether or not you can get a read on what type of hand your opponent might be holding. They could potentially be sitting on a draw, or even on top pair themselves.
Protecting Your Chip Stack
This is the most crucial part of playing with a hand like top pair. You always have to make sure that you are protecting your chip stack and that you aren’t making any huge calls with just top pair. People can get caught up when they have a pair of aces, and for example if you have 10k in chips in a tournament, and your opponent is betting out at you and raising their bet consistently, then you really should just know when it’s time to lay it down. Hold on to your chip stack and sit back to wait for a better spot then having to call off your chips with just top pair. The entire point behind tournament play is to build up your chips, and there is a huge difference between calling your opponents bets at you, and betting out at your opponent.
Overall, the best tip that you can receive about playing top pair in a tournament is simply to be careful with it. It’s not the best idea to play huge pots in these situations!