Playing a Small Percentage of Hands Early On
So you sit down for a poker tournament that you’ve registered in and the blinds start out incredibly low from the word go obviously. People have many different approaches towards playing the early stages of a poker tournament, but the one that you should be going with almost always is playing a small percentage of your hands early on. The reason for playing a small percentage of hands early on is because you really need to pick your spots. You shouldn’t be raising with mediocre hands from out of position, and it should really be about preserving your chips and slowly building up your chip stack. The best way to do this is to play hands when you are in position and can attempt to take down the blinds or three-bet over an opponent, or to play big hands only that you could potentially be in spots to double up or at least chip up. Today we are going to give some tips on picking good spots, and also the types of spots to look for.
Spots in Late Position
Obviously you don’t want to get too crazy early on in a tournament, but if you can get in a spot when you are in late position and an opponent has made a small raise from late position just before you, then this can be a very good spot to pick up some chips. Three betting over top of your opponent can put the pressure back on them, and make them fold a very large range of hands and let you pick up some chips. The best part about this is that if you are able to do it once or twice successfully over the span of a good chunk of hands then it can help you build up your chip stack without ever really having to show what you were holding. On top of that though, you also have to attempt to steal the blinds in late position as well, because they can be a huge part of building that chip stack. Continuation betting in these situations is huge as well, but make sure that you know when you slow down your bets if you aren’t able to hit anything!
Everyone loves to pull off a good bluff, but you have to be careful with your chips early on in a tournament. Bluffing needs to be done very carefully, and a large part of that has to do with the fact that in some tournaments you will definitely run into players who are just looking to either get an early double up or just get sent home early. Obviously you won’t find this as much in the high dollar poker tournaments, but if you bluff on the flop and the turn, you probably won’t to slow down your bet on the river and just let the hand play out. There is no reason to throw in more chips unless you have a strong read on your opponent and feel that they were going on a draw and weren’t able to hit that draw.