Early Tournament Strategy

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Dhendrixon

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What are peoples thoughts on early tournament strategy? I am new to the tournament world and are looking for suggestions. Since when you first start a tournament, the blinds are low and have more of a chip stack to work with, would you take this time to gamble more and try to accumulate more chips or play tighter as their are usually more wild players at this stage of a tournament (specially at lower stakes).
 
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Delfino

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Most books suggest to play tight early to get a good image and don't lose your stack on marginal hands. IMHO this doesn't apply well to online play as blinds go up much faster and nobody cares about your image anyway. That is why I suggest to see a lot of cheap flops with low pocket pairs, connectors and suited aces to hit big and double up. On the other hand play strong hands with caution being ready to fold them if you face all-in after flop.
 
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Propane Goat

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Definitely don't get loose and bleed chips by chasing draws without good odds and calling 3-bets pre-flop with mediocre hands early on. You might hit and win a big pot once in a while but over the long haul you're going to lose more chips that you will gain.

Chips in your own stack are worth more than chips that are not.
 
laifstaile

laifstaile

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the key word is TIGHT....
Yeah u have a lot blinds to play but if u start calling 3x with 67s the ur stack melts like spring´s snow...
 
SwaggyJ

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What are peoples thoughts on early tournament strategy? I am new to the tournament world and are looking for suggestions. Since when you first start a tournament, the blinds are low and have more of a chip stack to work with, would you take this time to gamble more and try to accumulate more chips or play tighter as their are usually more wild players at this stage of a tournament (specially at lower stakes).


Tight from the beginning. As you accumulate chips, you adjust your game as you go. Widen your range accordingly in LP. Always pay attention to how many BBs you have and your opponents before entering the flop.

I like to expose and take advantage calling stations in early levels of tournaments. They are always so "call friendly". As the tourney gets deeper, the fish will filter out and all the players are at the very least "average".

Hope this helps!

Goodluck to you at the tables!
 
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fundiver199

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The early stage of an MTT is pretty much like a cash game, and your only focus should be to make long term profitable plays. The only real difference is, most MTTs have antes, while most cash games dont. And antes always warrent playing a little looser, because there is more dead money/chips to fight for.

If you bust early in a MTT, its no big deal, since you just rebuy, reenter or play another one. Which again is pretty much the same as reloading in a cash game. On the other hand while its nice to dubble up early in an MTT, it does not give any huge advantage, so there is no need to chase after that situation. As the old saying go you can loose a tournament early on, but you can not win it.
 
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popstani

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The early stage of an MTT is pretty much like a cash game, and your only focus should be to make long term profitable plays. The only real difference is, most MTTs have antes, while most cash games dont. And antes always warrent playing a little looser, because there is more dead money/chips to fight for.

If you bust early in a MTT, its no big deal, since you just rebuy, reenter or play another one. Which again is pretty much the same as reloading in a cash game. On the other hand while its nice to dubble up early in an MTT, it does not give any huge advantage, so there is no need to chase after that situation. As the old saying go you can loose a tournament early on, but you can not win it.



Totally agree with you, you never can win tournaments at the beginning, but you can easily lose them. Before antes, tight is right, and seeing cheap flops in the position is my kind of play.
 
tauri103

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at the start of the game I prefer to play wide and as many hands as possible because the blinds don't cost a lot. it's a good way to increase your stack and play the game of reduced variance. on the other hand you have to have a good reading of the play of your opponents and do not hesitate to fold at the right time. especially against players who play tight and who can take advantage of your weak hands preflop.
 
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fundiver199

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Before antes, tight is right, and seeing cheap flops in the position is my kind of play.

Most online tournaments have antes from the first hand these days. But sure if you find some without antes, that does warrant plaing extra tight in the beginning. You can also consider a smaller open size like 2,5BB, while with antes and deep stacks I normally go to 3BB.
 
nuttea

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What are peoples thoughts on early tournament strategy? I am new to the tournament world and are looking for suggestions. Since when you first start a tournament, the blinds are low and have more of a chip stack to work with, would you take this time to gamble more and try to accumulate more chips or play tighter as their are usually more wild players at this stage of a tournament (specially at lower stakes).
With such a huge amount of play throughout the entire tournament, this type of tournament becomes, at least for me, one of the most profitable types of tournaments that can be dragged over a long session. But there are a few specific things about deep stack tournaments that give you an edge over your opponents. And I will try to list them in this article.
Also, you should prepare for a long grind with short 5 minute breaks. This means that in order to win such a tournament, you need to stay at the top for virtually the entire day of the game. If you are not used to long tournaments, then you better reconsider your participation in a tournament with a deep stack, at least until you get used to playing on large fields. A single mistake can send you out, but if you've spent 8 hours grinding a tournament, a mistake like this can knock you out of the game without a dollar in your pocket. Keep this in mind when you get to the later stages of one of these tournaments.Raise size. When you open, you should usually stick to the standard open-raise size early on: 3x or 4x is fine for the first few hours of play. But when you reraise with premium hands, it is preferable to bet more than the standard 3-bet. While a standard 60-chip 3-bet open-raise can go up to 180-250, I personally prefer to 3-bet my 300-400 chips. Raising to 250 and you invite the remaining players at the table to join the game and beat your aces; you still have 4,750 chips hanging after your standard open-raise, and if anyone else wants to turn in, it won't cost them anything to call your bet.
But with such a larger 3-bet, your opponents will have a much harder time calculating the included odds, and it will also be more difficult for your opponents to bet the flop while hunting for a draw; when there are 500 chips on the table, you have to make a continuation bet of 300-500 in order not to go into an overbet, while with 800 chips on the table, your continuation bet can reach 500-800 chips, which will obviously make your opponents think whether it's worth taking the risk for a draw and your monsters won't be run over.Hand Range: In the early stages of a tournament, I look at the flop with any pocket pair, any suited ace and most suited connectors, or over 45 offsuit connectors with any bet that represents less than 2% of my starting stack (100 chips) and hopefully so that I will flop a monster. I rarely raise myself; only with large pairs and AK; and with these hands I try to isolate myself. I only 3-bet with three hands: AA, KK and QQ and that's it; AKo and JJ are not in my 3-betting range, especially early in the deep stack. I also only 4-bet with AA / KK;
 
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popstani

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Most online tournaments have antes from the first hand these days. But sure if you find some without antes, that does warrant plaing extra tight in the beginning. You can also consider a smaller open size like 2,5BB, while with antes and deep stacks I normally go to 3BB.



If you play on the winning poker network almost all have ante from beginning, but other poker rooms still have tournaments without antes in the beginning. In the beginning I open 3-4 BB, depending on what kind of players are on my table. If I’m seating on 150-200 BB, and have people who calls any raise, why not raise from bigger size. Like said before, I have really tight range, and most of the time, I will scoop bigger pot.
 
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fundiver199

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If you play on the winning poker network almost all have ante from beginning, but other poker rooms still have tournaments without antes in the beginning.


On pokerstars and 888 Poker, which are the two sites, I play on, the vast majority of tournaments also have antes from the first hand. There are a few exceptions like Spin n Gos, DONs, first blind level of 9-man SnGs on 888, the 10c 360 man on Stars, the CC freerolls on Stars etc. But on these sites no antes is definitely the exception.
 
ADRI7HO

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The choice of strategy depends on the type of tournament (slow, deep, turbo, etc ... and micro, low, medium or high stakes) depends on the dynamics of the current table and of course the dealt cards also play an important role.
Because let’s say on a turbo table or where you’re just surrounded by manic fish, you want to catch them in vain if there’s a card desert.
So I think playing a tournament is determined by a lot of things, but if you’re still inexperienced or worth playing tighter, especially in the beginning. Then if you get a feel for the game you can vary things.

Have a nice day. :)
 
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