Middle Tournament Strategy
In the middle of poker tournaments is the time when you should pick up aggression and try to build up a big stack. If you don’t look to put the pedal to the metal at some point in the middle of a poker tournament you will never have a big stack of chips to play with. Accumulating a ton of chips is something you should look to do all the time. If you can pick good spots to get chips, you will have an easier road down in to the money and possibly to the final table.
One thing to always keep in mind during the middle of a poker tournament is your table image and how other poker players at your table perceive you. If you have a perception that you are a loose and aggressive player you should use this to your advantage by betting more when you have big hands. The one thing you don’t want to happen is to overplay a weak hand and get stuck in a big pot without a clue what your opponents hand could be. When you play aggressive other players at the table will play their hands more or less face up against you. This means that you will not get played back at all that often and when you do get played back at or 3 bet you will have an easy fold.
If you are a passive player and haven’t seen too many flops or you just haven’t caught too many hands approaching the middle stage of a poker tournament, then you should look to open your range of hands up more often. If you have been playing passive throughout the tournament, you will often times get more credit when you put in a raise before the flop. The middle stage of a poker tournament is going to make you or break you more times than not. This is the time to start playing aggressive and build your stack. How to accumulate chips can be anything from stealing the blinds before the flop, 3 betting aggressive pre-flop raisers or playing pots from the button. If you look for these three things then you should have no problem accumulating a stack and approaching the money with a healthy stack. When you look to steal the blinds before the flop the main time to do this is with hands that can catch a flop like K7 suited or 89 suited. You don’t want to raise hands that can leave you stuck and playing a pot for all of your chips. The main goal is to attack weak player’s blinds. If you attack the weak players at the table most times they will lay their hand down before the flop, but when they don’t, you want to at least have a chance to continuation bet the flop and win the pot or make a hand.
Another way to approach building a stack is to three bet the aggressive players at the table. There are always going to be one or two super aggressive players that are always in attack mode throughout a poker tournament. To combat this if you have a solid table image you can three bet before the flop and most times get an instant fold. The more skilled aggressive players may put you to the test with a four bet before the flop, but often times even they just muck their hands. If you want to have chips and maintain a stack during a poker tournament you have to raise from the button or the cutoff position. When raising pots from the cutoff position or the button you will often times just take the blinds down. This should be your goal and you should be happy with this. Once in a while the player will put in a three bet before the flop and other times they might just call before the flop. If a player is calling your pre-flop raise from the small blind or big blind, you can fire on the flop to win the pot most of the time. Other times you may have to bet the flop and the turn to take down the pot. The main point is that if they are just calling that means that their hand is marginal at best, and they don’t want to play a big pot. If they are playing a big pot out of position with a marginal hand that is a recipe for disaster and you will more times than not win the pot.