Big Stack Strategy Deep In the Tournament Poker
The poker tournament isn’t over just yet and you are nowhere near the Final Table. On the other hand you have been grinding it out for several hours and there are only three tables left.
How do I put the "blessings" bestowed upon me by the poker gods to good use? Here are a few things I like to do:
- Slow down and begin to call hands when in position.
- Raise when you see weak players limp into the pot.
- Re-raise with medium pairs if the player you would be heads-up with only has one-fourth of your stack. Be prepared to call if he pushes his chips in the middle.
- Be aggressive when the situation dictates. Be patient when the situation dictates.
- Know the difference between the two.
- Call any small raise in position with hands like suited connectors and nut flush hands like [A][x]s.
- Continue to use your position and your chip stack to your advantage
To play a big stack and continue to build it you need to be smart about when and whom you get involved with. Try to play smaller pots to control the pot size. Obviously we do not want to play big pots without big hands unless we have the nuts against a player with two-thirds or more of our stack. When you are involved with another big stack make sure to take your time and think through the hand. Use solid online poker strategy.
Profile Your Opponents
At this stage of the poker tournament you should have a good profile on most of the players at your table. It is likely you have been moved a few times and have been exposed to twenty-four or so different players. Ultimately, you will run into these individuals again the deeper you go into the tournament. That’s why profiling players is so important. You must be able to recall and use that profile information against those players when you see them again.
The "Promised Land"
When you’re down to the last 18 players or so it’s time to refresh yourself for the charge to the “promised land.” You have already played for what seems like forever but now you need to re-charge and clear you mind of any floating particles that could potentially be in the way of neurons attempting to connect. By this time you have played with just about every player in the final 18 and everyone is familiar with each other. Your stack is no longer the biggest on the block but you are on the block and sitting pretty third in chips or so. Needless to say this is the point of no return. The tournament will see a lot more pre-flop all-in bets from the short stacks on there last gasp. You really have no business getting involved with anyone your size unless you are sitting on [A][A] and even that’s iffy as you know you are quite capable of getting to the Final Table without playing a hand.
So what do you do?
- Raise in position if the table gets timid trying to squeak into the Final Table.
- Steal the blinds from the scared medium stacks try to slip in.
- Re-raise on-the-bubble stacks that are smaller than one fourth of your stack with [A][x], [K][Q], [K][J] and even [J][T].
- DO NOT get involved with the top two players unless you have the NUTZ post flop or AA pre-flop.
NOTE: Bad beats happen in this game and there is no guarantee your hand will hold up even with pocket Aces. If you KNOW you are going to make the Final Table in the top 3 or 4 in chips choose your spots wisely before getting involved in big hands.
There will be some that suggest that number four is asking too much. My point in saying, “not to get involved,” is simply to emphasize the fact that you are already at the Final Table chip wise and you want to maintain or significantly increase that stature while waiting to arrive. You do not want to be involved in a big pot with another big stack that can either take you out of the tournament or do significant damage to your stack unless you absolutely have to at this point. Believe me. You will have plenty of time to get involved in big pots at the Final Table. The object is to get to the Final Table FIRST and THEN get involved in the big pot.
Get the picture?
Remember, "To whom much is given, much is expected."