Online Poker Tournament Early Game Strategy
During the first few hands of the tournament you will probably see a lot of bluffing and players that move all-in pre-flop. Since the blinds are small, you can afford to wait for a premium hand before making your move. This is the time to employ a solid, straightforward poker tournament strategy.
This list should serve as a general guideline to which hands are playable during the early stages of a poker tournament. Other factors, such as your table position, stack size and table image should also be considered when making a decision about playing a hand.
Hands such as A-A, A-K, K-K, A-Q, K-Q and Q-Q are definitely worth a large raise.
It is worth calling a small raise to see a flop with small pocket pairs (8-8 or lower). However, play very cautious if you don’t hit your set.
Hands such as 5-6 suited or 9-10 suited usually work really well in multi-way pots. Naturally you will be hoping to hit a straight or flush.
The Gap Concept
Be wary of calling large bets and raises. You will need a much stronger hand to call a bet than to bet yourself. In other words, if a player before you puts in a large re-raise, it might be a good idea to fold your A-10 off-suit and wait for a more opportune time, where you can act as the aggressor.
Studying Your Opponents
Poker tournament strategy involves a large amount of psychology. Keep track of who you are up against. Which players are calling stations? Who is playing too loosely? Which players can be bluffed easily? This information will be invaluable to you at later stages of the tournament.
Understanding Your Table Position
The value of your hand increases the closer you are positioned to the dealer button. A hand such as 10-10 is worth a call if you are in an early position. However, if you are situated on the button, and no other players have raised the pot, pocket tens becomes a hand worth raising. Because you have more information at your disposal, it is much easier to out-play an opponent if you act after them.