Here is a poker strategy that you must use in no limit poker tournaments:
Let’s say you entered a no limit poker tournament. It’s the middle of tournament. There are 40 players left. You have an average sized stack.
At your table, there are nine players and everyone is playing fairly predictable poker.
A player in middle position raises three times the size of the big blind. Another player calls. You are on the button with pocket 4’s. You decide to call, hoping to hit a set. The players in the small and big blind both fold.
The flop comes A-7-6 rainbow. Rainbow means that all the suits are different, so there are no flush draws.
The first player checks. The second player checks. Now it’s up to you. What should you do?
You have pocket 4’s. Just an ugly pair of 4’s with three overcards on the board. What should you do?
If you thought about checking your hand, shame on you!
Why are you looking at your cards? Why are you even thinking about your cards?
Remember this basic poker strategy: When everyone checks, bet when you are the last to act.
Write it down and don’t forget it: When everyone checks, bet when you are the last to act.
This is the correct play because your opponents showed weakness. You can make a bet that is half the size of the pot. You are risking a small amount of chips to win twice as many chips.
It is rare when an opponent hits a big hand on the flop, so don’t even worry about it. When they both check, the value of your hand is even.
If you both check, the small blind bets, so you have to call that as well. Then the big blind bets. You just call with the best hand you have.
This is called isolation buyin. You need to have big money in the pot to take the isolation buyin. Don’t worry about that $500 steal, you can always get more later.
Define your goals. Hit the flop with a set. Make a big pre-flop raise. Bet the flop and turn. Bet the river.
If you are called or re-raised, come out firing. Bet again on the turn and fire out a c-bet so they have to fold. If you are called you will have to make a difficult decision.
What if you hit a set? You have pocket 5’s. That is a hand you do not want to go to war with. It is a hand you will probably lose. And a poker tournament is no place for big pots.
However, if you do get a set, you want to maximize it for as long as you can. That is the goal. Especially, if your opponent(s) have pocket Aces. You want as much of that first pair as you can.
If you make a pre-flop raise of 5 times the big blind, and your opponent re-raises you all in, you need to call this bet or step out of the hand.
Why? Because you want your opponent to have a pocket pair. And you want your opponent to hit a set.
Now, you need to add that in to your ” portfolio” of hole cards. You don’t want to play 6-7 suited on the river with a weak hand. You don’t want to play 8-9 suited in dire circumstances.
Play hands like 9-10-J, where you are somewhat protected from a straight or flush by the fact that the board could complete it. Play hands like K-Q where you may have only a few odds to win the pot.
But, overall, you may be committing too many chips to a pot when you have a premium hand. Let your opponents destroy each other while you are waiting for the big money hand.
In fact, this may be a problem even when you do have a big hand. Do not, I repeat do not call all the time with pocket pairs. If you think you are beat, get out.
But, that being said, there are circumstances when you will be fine to call. If a flush or straight draw is possible and likely based on the board, and you have a hand that stands a good chance of beating it, then call.
You can also call all the time with suited cards. The only exception is that you do not want to be in early position, that is, you do not want to be the first person in the pot. Since you will have to act early, you want an opportunity to make the bet pre-flop instead of after the flop.