Tournament Poker and Domination – no, Not of the Series

I play a lot of no-limit holdem and small field sit and go tournaments. I must say that for the most part, I find the matches are more even. That, however, may be because I tend to play more than one type of 7meter.

At the end of the day, however, I do find that certain players enjoy being part of a more aggressive community. I am not talking about playing after the blinds have increased, but rather watching the trend at the table. If you happen to be on the button, and it is folded to you, you are better than a short stack at the table, or a small stack without a hand, in a heads up match.

If you could identify the trend at a table, you might be able to avoid it or at least get out of it with some other players. Say blinds are 10, 20, and 40. You are on the button with 100. You open shove all in, and sure enough, the BB calls. How close are you to winning? About 10%. The problem is, if the last hand was a high pair, your payout is only 8%, which is nowhere near what you would like.

Now, in the same situation, you are not so limited in your choices. You could take out the 100 in order to play a pot with someone who wants to be there. In fact, you could take them out, too. There are times when that is the best thing to do, especially if they are calling 100 up because they want the ticket. You will notice this more and more often in Sit and Go history.

If you are in early position and no one has raised the blinds, there is no problem playing a pot with a weak hand. In fact, you should do that frequently. However, when you have a big stack, you are not looking to waste chips. You want to build your stack to beat the rising blinds. There is no exact way to know what the exact right play is, but you know it when you are being outplayed or behind.

There is one general guideline for playing against rising blinds, and that is this: if you have a hand with power, you should open shove against them. Why? Because you are trying to take away the blinds. If you are afraid of them raising you, they are not aggressive enough. Either way, you will be profitable. If they are not willing to raise you back, you are going to move all-in on the next street, take down the pot, and protect your blind.

Making moves like that, when you have a good hand, will get you into a lot of trouble. The blinds will see what you did and they are going to re-raise you. If you have a big stack, you are not going to be happy about that. The blinds have enough chips to take you out if you are not careful.

In fact, you want to watch for these kinds of opportunities, because your opponents will catch on and you will get paid. How they catch on and get past your defense is your business, but giving them a free card here, there, or the occasional trap is something you want to encourage.

Enhancing your stack (intakes a different discuss another time) will land you even more money in your pocket. That is a win-win. If you let the blinds steal your blinds and occasionally eat a pot, they will still be there tomorrow. If you make enough mistakes, both in and out of position, they will still be there each time your back door opens.