This is an issue that a lot of players run into. They are playing a tournament with a rising blind that is standard about 50 big blinds. There is a player under the gun that starts with a small raise of 3 blinds. The next player reraises to 8 blinds. The small blind then reraises to 10 blinds, which makes the blinds tighten up a bit.
So, lets say the small blind is still raising like normal, when the cutoff raises to 10, the big blind reraises to 20. Both blinds are in the pot ahead of you, so you have to call 20 to win the pot, a good amount.
Now, the words I choose are DON’T FOLD and I’m not talking about folding a couple of blinds because you went all in. I’m talking about calling a raise, regardless of the situation, to try and see a cheap flop.
Well, this is where players often get confused. The blinds are rising, but so are the stacks. If you have aces, you are ahead. If you have some kind of a hand, you are ahead. You may be behind, but you aren’t out of the tournament. This is a very aggressive strategy, but it is working here. Get used to it, and you will be a much better player after only a couple of hours of play.
The other part of this strategy is that the rising blind may be larger than your stack. In the earlier stages, when the blinds are low, this doesn’t matter much. You can call with practically any cards, since nobody is interested in taking the blinds that early. But as the blinds rise, aces and kings eventually become worth more than any other hand, and you can’t play those aggressively.
If you have a lot of chips, you can put out a lot of small raises. If you have a lot of blinds, you can call some raises while holding probably nothing. The blinds call, but the antes will eat you if you are using this strategy.
This is probably the most difficult part of any strategies for tournaments. If you are called or reraised early, you are probably beat. You need to have a better hand than the other player in order to win this hand. The better hand may not necessarily win the pot, but it will win enough to put you in the money, and that is what you want.
However, you can’t just keep raising and raising unless you get a call. You need to get a raise after the flop if you want to slow down and let the hand flesh out. However, you can’t be maniac and keep going at it either, because if you do not get reraised in time, someone else will usually raise you, either forcing you to fold or adding another round of betting to the pot.
The rising blind is probably the hardest to work with in tournaments. The amount of hands that can go out before the blinds go up are relatively small, so you want to limit the number of hands that you are playing. With that in mind, you can be reasonably sure that you will not see many flops before the blinds go up. Most of the hands you will play will have an advantage before they get to you. Keep raising and raising, and you will probably find yourself with a decent hand at a short table. If you are called, study the flop and try to get a feeling for what the other players will do before the flop.
When you get to the point where you are either out of position or up against a monster, try to steal the blinds. If the blind doesn’t bother you, and you have a half decent hand, go for it. What you want to try to do is to set a trap. When you set a trap, the action should be slow. revolutionaries should either slow play big hands, or land a big hand. If you try to pick up a lot of blinds in a short period, the action against you will be slow, making it easier to set a trap on the turn or river.
Playing in tournament poker is a little different from the cash games. The people who make it to the final tables are generally good players, but not necessarily good card counters. In tournament poker, you need to play smart and at least average cards. The amount of time you spend on the bubble will be a lot more than the amount you spend just playing the cards. There is no reason to sit and wait for a good hand, when you can bet and act aggressively. Boxing on the bubble is just about the most difficult thing to do in tournaments, especially when blinds and antes increase, which puts a lot more pressure on you to make a move.