Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Single- Table No-Limit Tournament Strategy

The most popular tournament at present is the single-table no-limit tournament. It is also known as a Sit and Go. Party Poker is known to host said tournaments on their web site. They have buy-ins ranging from $5 to as high as $1,000. Single-Table tournament are also held in the more conventional brick and mortar card rooms and casinos around the world. Although tournaments in brick and mortar establishments are usually winner take all.

This article is aimed at the typical ten handed table with a payout structure of 50% to the first placer, 30% to the second placer and 20% to the third placer. If you’re playing in a winner take all table, you might need to play a little more aggressive than the strategy mentioned in this article.

In the early parts of the tournament, you should make it a point to see more of the flops. Limp if you have low pairs or connector suits. If you are dealt with a strong hand then raise, otherwise slow hand so that you could see the flop majority of the time.

For cheap buy in tournaments, you might see a lot of inexperienced and bad players going out early. If you are dealt with a strong hand, play it to the maximum. You might end that hand with majority of the chips from a bad player.

As play progresses, be sure to see most of the flop. Yet if the level of the blinds is already high, it’s time to play it a little tighter. Be sure that you have a decent chip stack at this time. That way you can still have an impact when it’s time to make your move.

Once the big blind becomes almost 10% of your starting stack, it’s the sign that the middle stages has began. At this stage, you have to make plays on which you might want to steal the blinds. When it’s your turn and no one has called or raised the big blind, you must always raise. Your raise must be three to four times that of the big blind.

Although you have to be aggressive at this point, there are some situations that merit some limping to be done. This is the case when you are dealt with a premium hand in an early position. You would want somebody to raise after you make your check or call. When the action gets back at you, you then re-raise him all in.

Also in the middle and the end stages of the tournament, the Gap Concept comes into play. The gap is between the strength of the hand needed to open the betting and the strength that‘s require to call a raise. It goes to show that the Gap Concept indicates that blind stealing is ideal in these stages.

You must not hesitate to start some action if there’s no one that has raised or called the pot before you. If someone has started the betting, it’s a sign of a strong hand or a bluff. In this case, you must think that it’s the former and forget about stealing the blind. More often than not, the one who has started the betting or raised the pot could challenge your hand. So be cautious about situations like these.

If the later stages of the tournament, most of the action would happen before the flop. You would be in one of the three situations. You could either have a short stack, have a medium stack or you could be lucky enough to have a large stack. Let’s tackle each situation one by one.

You have a short stack if you can only afford up to 5 big blinds at the given level. The value of the big blinds can go up at any moment so the pressure will be on your stack. You don’t want to be blinded out, so the best thing that you can do at this situation is to steal the blinds effectively. The worst thing that you could do is to go to the flop with half of your stack, only to fold afterwards. Do think of going all in when you have an ace with a high card or any pocket pairs, unless there’s someone who has betted ahead of you. When you’re in a late position, you should go all in if you’re dealt with high cards and no one has betted yet. Your aim is to accumulate enough chips to guarantee a third place finish.

If your stack is medium in size, you might want to take it slow. Avoid big actions unless you have the hand to support it. In this situation you might want to try and win it all, not just finish in the money. You should note that winning in a tournament is better than two third place finishes.

If by chance you are one of the chip leaders, then it’s time to bully the other players out of their chips. Try to aggressively steal the blinds at this point but be smart about it. Don’t lose your chips on a silly play. This way you can surely win the tournament.