1. Early Stages
2. Mid Stages
3. Bubble Approaches
4. Final 2 tables / Closing it out
1. Early Stages . I think you have the right idea playing premium hands in early stages. However I would add that you should look to play pots multi-way with big suited cards, suited connectors, pairs, and big broadway hands. Stealing blinds at this level doesn't give you much value, however if your table is playing way to tight, I'd open 50% of hands in late position to 2, 2.5, or 3bb. Even if called, you get to almost always play in position (unless you raise CO or HJ and get called by button) Your image will be loose / aggro but you know that isn't the truth and can induce some people to play big pots with you WHEN YOU HAVE IT. One other person is correct, look to play pots in position against weak players early. They will stack off with Top pair top kicker on any board.
2. Mid Stages. When blinds are increasing and antes come into play, stealing blinds and antes is important. You still want to focus on playing in position. You should have a decent idea of your table (unless your table broke several times) and you should raise in Late Position with a big % of your hands. When you get to 25-35 bbs, you need to use your chips while you have them. If you dwindle down to under 15-20 you will have a shoving stack or a re-shove stack at best. This is where you want to apply some real aggression and not be afraid to play pots. Keep your stack at 30-50 because you want to have some ammo when the bubble approaches.
3. Bubble. When the bubble nears, you need to be ready to attack medium stacks. You can attack short stacks too, just know you will have to call a lot when they play back at you and shove their 10-15 bb's. Keep in mind your steals don't have to work even half the time for it to be profitable. With all the dead money in the pot you will be making money. If you are the short stack 15-20bb's, then you won't be doing much stealing. You'll be waiting for spots to shove or to re-shove the initial raiser.
4. Final Two Tables. This is what separates the great from the good. This is where you'll set yourself up to be able to close out the tournaments. You will get into short handed play and the aggressive players will have the advantage. Don't raise all your hands, but 75% in position is about right when it's 5, 6 or 7 handed.
When you reach the final table you'll have a big stack and be able to control the table if you'd like or you can sit back for a bit before you use your stack to your advantage.
With all this said. Tournament poker boils down to a couple things for me. 1. Pick your spots 2. Be aggressive, but know why you are doing what you are doing. 3. Win the 60/40s and 50/50s you will have to get a little lucky to win a tournament or go deep. Good luck at the tables.
- This is my first post/reply besides my intro, I know it was long but I wanted to help if I could.