You've survived the early stages of the tournament with some tight play and now the competition has narrowed down a bit. With the blinds going up and the ante kicking in, you've entered the next phase of the tournament and things are about the heat up!
Generally, play in the middle stage of the tournament is looser and more aggressive because players are now incentivised to try and steal the pot, even pre-flop.
With strategies set to change, how should you go about your play? Let's take a look.
Aim for value and bet small
With the blinds set to raise the minimum bet, your pre-flop raise should usually only be between 2X to 3X the big blind. This is because you want to conserve your stack as much as possible and don’t want to bleed chips in case a hand doesn’t go your way.
Even if you think you have a winning hand post-flop, value-betting will help you extract more from opponents who might fold if you raise too much.
Look to steal blinds
While in the early stage there's little incentive to bluff and pick up the blinds, the middle phase makes them much more valuable. When holding a half-decent hand, it can be worth trying to make a bluff a stronger hand by raising when on the button. This works especially when others have folded in the hand before you and the players to your left don’t look too keen.
Maximise the all-in threat
While in most cases going all-in can seem like a drastic course of action, it’s usually best to just shove pre-flop when you have less than 20 Big Blinds, especially if someone raises before you in a hand you want to play.
Don’t confuse this with desperation though. The idea is to do it when you have a strong hand which has good odds. This is because you cannot afford to call/min-raise with such a small stack and then end up folding when you don’t hit the flop. Pushing all-in reduces the chance of variance hurting you and also gives you your best option to stay in the tournament by doubling up.
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