Playing Small Fields of Poker Players in Tournaments
When you look to play through smaller fields of players in tournaments your chances of winning the tournament itself will greatly increase if you play your cards right. Most players look to get a minimum cash or just get in to the money, but you should think about winning the tournament from the first hand dealt at the table. To increase your chances of winning a small poker tournament you should look to get a big stack early on. This will help you in the long run of the tournament because you can make easier decisions throughout the rest of it. This is not to say to gamble right away, but it means you should look for good spots to double up. If you feel you have the best hand and you will get called by a hand that is worse than your hand, shove your chips in and play for a double up. Once you get a big stack in a small tournament you can coast down to the final table. The hardest part is accumulating that big stack. When you have a big stack you will be feared by other players at the tables and you will force more folds with marginal hands then you would if you had an average sized stack.
Playing to win from the first hand dealt is what you want at all times in poker tournaments, but it is more prevalent when dealing with smaller fields of players. If you get a big stack early you now have the comfort to make more moves at pots and exploit weaker players. When you exploit weak players and their flaws you will have a huge advantage. This advantage will get you to where you want to be, seated at the final table with a chip lead. When you get to that point you will have to buckle down and play quality poker as most likely only the best players are left seated with you.
Keeping in mind winning the tournament will get you to the end, but finishing off a small field of players and besting them is a tough thing to do. In order to win a poker tournament, big or small, you have to run well and you have to consistently look to win small pots. If you win small pots throughout a tournament you will have a slightly bigger stack then the player that just plays big pairs or AQ and AK. You will often times get in to situations where you are forced to make a big decision and if you make the wrong decision you have a few chips left to play with. To avoid playing big pots you have to play hands that can catch flops and that are disguised. Hands like 78 suited or suited ace rage type hands can hit a flop big and you can play those big pots against hands that have no clue what you have. If you avoid over committing to these hands and just look to either continuation bet the flop to win the pot when you miss or make a hand with your suited connector and shove it is easier on you. Some players avoid the suited connectors all together, but if you want to win small poker tournaments you have to take shots here and there with them. Certainly the best shots are when the table folds to you and you are seated on the button, but also you can make a raise from middle position or also from the cutoff. Small pots are what you want to win in fields that aren’t overwhelming to look at.
If you can look to win a big pot early on then chip away at the weak players at your table you will have success when attempting to best small fields of players. This is a strategy that players overlook because most will think of poker tournaments as a long grind and fold lots of hands that they don’t realize can become profitable. If you look for the spots that are good spots and play your hands accordingly, there is no reason why you will not be able to take down some tournaments that have small fields of players. Small fields are almost always going to mean a bigger buy-in as well. If you are facing a tough small field of players you want chips right away. If you sit on a short stack for too long you will immensely decrease your chances of winning the tournament. You will become prey basically and viewed as a fish if you sit for too long on no chips. You should set out to win every tournament and play aggressive from start to finish.