Posted by Johnnymac 7:37 AM
So I received a couple of emails and even a text message last night about my tournament strategy post from yesterday and teasing me about how I don't want to give anything away. Well.
The following are Johnny's tried and true tournament tips. Follow these and you are bound to do well this weekend, because I have seen a lot of guys do well in tournaments by playing this way.
1.) Contrary to the title of this blog, tournament poker really is gambling. The object is to gamble. Get out there are gamble! This is perhaps the most important and best advice I can give.
2.) Any two cards can win and limping is the only way to play. This means that a hand is not made until it sees the flop, turn, and river. Remember, a pair of deuces is better than Ace-King and two little pairs (like, say, 8's and 4's) are REALLY better than Ace-King.
3.) In line with #2, preflop raises don't mean much, so you should always call when someone raises you preflp. F*ck 'em. People love to bluff in NL holdem and it's always best to try and catch them doing it, especially if you have small a pocket pair. There is something very rewarding about punishing people for bluffing.
4.) The name of the game is SURVIVAL. If you make a hand early, be very very careful about playing it strongly, because if someone were to suck out on you, you might lose the pot and some of your chips that you have invested in the pot. In these circumstances, you should bet a small amount (just the minimum bet, usually) and peck at the pot. That said, if you do this and get to the end and the other guy who has been calling all of a sudden makes a big bet and goes all-in, you should call him because it's likely that he's bluffing.
5.) In no circumstance should you ever ever EVER lay down AA. Even if someone calls your preflop raise and then keeps calling and reraising you all the way to the river. AA is the best hand preflop and any hand that someone else makes is by definition a suckout. PUNISH people for this.
6.) AQ, AJ, and AT are all very strong hands. You should raise the shit out of them whenever you are dealt these hands and reraise anyone else who tries to bet you off of them. For that matter you should do this anytime you get dealt an ace.
7.) AK is also a very strong hand, but is so strong that you should always come over the top with it preflop. Once you are called and the flop has three little cards you should raise whenever the big blind bets into it. Don't forget, this is Big Slick! Usually it's even OK to play this hand like you are playing AA in tip #5 above - never lay it down and always call a big bet on the end, even if you don't pair up, because, after all, the other guy could be bluffing and in fact he probably is, so why give up a big pot?
8.) Unsuited connectors can make straights and any two suited cards can make a flush. Think about this and bet accordingly.
9.) If you get to the final table, always butt heads with the big stacks and ignore the little stacks. The big stacks have all the chips, after all, and you have to knock them out to win. The best way to knock them out, by the way, is to go all in with your middle pair and force them off of their bluff.
10.) Similarly, if you make the final table with a medium stack and you're on the bubble of being in the money, calling the little stacks' all-in bets is the best way to get more chips and closer to the money. This is just common sense, because they are small stacks and therefore are tight and can be bluffed out. This is why they have such a small stack to begin with, because they don't have the balls to gamble.
That's it for now. Does anyone else have any tournament tips to share?