Online Poker Tournament Middle Game Strategy

By this time, the ‘pre-flop all-iners’ and the hopeless bluffers will have been eliminated. With a bit of luck you will have increased your stack size by playing solidly and picking up a few pots during the early stages of the tournament. Since the blinds have increased and have a greater impact on your stack, you will need to alter your poker tournament strategy. If you have been playing tightly, you will need to open up a bit more and see more flops.

Playing with a short stack

If you find yourself stuck with a short stack during this stage of a poker tournament, try to adjust your playing style in order to trap opponents with the expectation of doubling your stack. For example, you can take a risk and only check your straight even though there is a flush draw on the table. This will encourage other players with larger stacks to bluff. 

Playing with a large stack

If you are fortunate enough to have built up a large stack, it is time to throw your weight around. You can play and raise more hands. However, try to avoid confrontations with other players with large stacks and avoid bluffing a short-stacked player who is committed to the pot.

Having a large stack does not mean you should recklessly shove your chips into the pot. Rather, wait for an opportune moment to apply the maximum amount of pressure to a player who is short-stacked.

Stealing the blinds

Stealing the blinds is an essential and often overlooked part of poker tournament strategy. To maintain your stack and avoid being destroyed by the increasing blinds, you will need to steal.

Here are a few vital tips:

  • Pick on players with smaller stacks to who do not want to risk a large percentage of their chips to simply see a flop
  • Generally, do not try to steal the blinds from an early or middle position unless you know what you are doing.
  • Do not raise with a trash hand such as 2-4 off-suit.
  • If you raised with an average hand and the person in the blind position re-raises, you can assume they are holding a strong hand and it is usually wise to fold.
  • If you try to steal the blinds too often, other players will quickly pick up on this and trap you. Stealing works well if you have projected a tight table image.