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  • When to Push All-in During Tournament Poker

It’s a dreadfully painful spot to be in when you have to make that decision to push your chips into the middle pre-flop in a big poker tournament. It doesn’t matter if you’ve taken a bad beat and are only 30 minutes into the tournament, or if you are down near the end of the event, it is a tough decision regardless. Obviously, sometimes (when you get huge hands), the decisions are quite a bit easier to make, but regardless it is definitely a gut-wrenching spot that puts the pressure on you! Today, we are going to take a look at a few tips and strategy behind when to push your chips into the middle pre-flop during a poker tournament. There are a few things to take into consideration like your position at the table, how many big blinds, and also knowing your opponents playing styles.

Playing Position

Obviously if you are sitting on the button and the action folds around to you, you are going to be much more likely to push all in than if you were the first or second to act. What I mean by this is that you would be pushing with a wider range of hands. So a hand like J-10 off suit typically isn’t good in early position when you are looking to get it all in, but if the action folded to you on the button then you could absolutely push that hand all in. The reason for this is because there are only two players left to act after to you, and if you are able to get them to lay down their hands then you’ll pick up the blinds and build your stack up a bit moving forward, which is always a good thing.

Big Blinds

Watching the number of big blinds you have is probably the most important part of playing a short stack. When you have 15-20 big blinds in a live poker tournament you can be patient and wait for your spots. It is when you get under 15 big blinds that it’s time to start stressing and you’ll have to shove a much wider range of hands. This can be a tough thing to factor at a live table, but that’s why in your time between hands you should be checking where you stand in terms of your stack size. Not doing this can cause you to be in some tough spots moving forward in the tournament.

Knowing Opponents Playing Styles

This goes along with playing position in a way, but if you are going to shove in a blind vs. blind situation, or when you are on the button, it’s a good idea to be able to have an idea as to what type of player(s) that you are up against. If the players incredibly loose and has a huge stack, they are more likely to call down your all in, than being up against someone who plays really tight and is very careful about calling off the chips in their stack. This information will obviously be learned over time, so being patient and watching the action is very important.

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