6 Tournament Rules to Live By
I love to play multi-table tournaments, both live and on-line. I mess around with cash games and sit-n-goes every once in a while, but by and large, I like to focus on tournaments. Here then, in no particular order, are my rules to live by for tournaments.
1. Trust low and middle pocket pairs, but only if you can get into a 1-on-1 situation. If there is more than one caller, then fold ’em.
2. Let good cards die. If you’ve got JJ and raised pre-flop, and the flop comes up A-Q-9, the chances are pretty good that somebody’s got an A or a Q, which renders your JJs moot. Don’t waste any chips with a C-bet or calling someone else’s C-bet just to see the turn and hope you hit a set. Check and see if they’ll let you get a card for free. Learning to fold good cards is one of the most difficult lessons to learn. In a tournament, it is often wise to err on the side of protecting your stack.
3. Watch the guys with the little stacks. They get desperate and will go all-in at the drop of a hat. If you’re not willing to risk how many chips the short stack person has, you should probably not play that hand. Conversely, if you are in a late position and have good cards and the short stack player is in one of the blinds, sometimes it pays to limp with a strong hand. Your hope is they mistake your limp for weakness and will shove in an attempt to pick up a few blinds. Then you are in a good position to go all-in and chase away the rest and get a good payday for yourself.
4. Don’t give up. If you lose a lot of chips early, be patient and wait for the opportunity to try to double up.
5. Stealing from the blind is easy, but not very nice. Blind stealing is not very easy, but it is very nice when you are successful. You’ve got to learn the art of blind stealing if you are going to go far in MTTs, especially. Once the bubble bursts and the stacks and blinds are larger, most hands are decided with pre-flop aggression, so blind stealing is an essential part of making a deep run in a tournament.
6. Having fun is the ultimate objective. Sure, I want to win the WSOP Main Event or get a WSOP Circuit Ring one day, but just sitting down and playing for a few hours and forgetting about all of life’s troubles is the real benefit, especially when you consider all the other stuff that has been happening around the world lately.