Intermediate Poker Tournament Strategy

Page breadcrumbsEnd of page breadcrumbs

The Definitive Guide to Poker Tournament StrategyMost people consider short stack play to be 11 big blinds or less. In this format of poker, the game is solved.

By memorizing shoving ranges from the various positions, you can play perfectly. The best way to accomplish this is to download the push-fold charts that tell you which hands to shove from which position.

Push-fold charts are convenient to use, because they tell you how to play both. With and without antes, and how to adjust your shoving ranges, depending on how many opponents are left.

Barring extreme situations, I agree with the push-fold theory that players should never do anything other than push all-in or fold, when they’re below 10 big blinds. Therefore, simply committing to memory the information in the guides will suffice for how to play domino online terpercaya perfect game theory optimal poker (GTO) from this stack depth.

Intermediate Poker Tournament Strategy

One adjustment that’s worth making that push-fold charts don’t account for is your table and the softness of the field. I would argue that the softer the field, the tighter you can play. Because you’re more likely to find better spots, later on; whereas, the tighter the table (the less likely players will call your all-in, preflop), the wider you can profitably shove.

Ideal situations to widen your range are when players are scared of the money, playing overly tight, don’t Agen Bola Sbobet to proper GTO calling ranges, or give you a lot of respect.

Ideal situations to play tighter are when you are closer to the money. When facing a big stack, or when there are a lot of loose players at the table who call too lightly.

In conclusion, passing on a situation that has minimal positive expectation is usually better than being too aggressive and playing a situation with negative expectation. When in doubt, wait for a better spot.


Small stacks, ranging from 12 – 20 big blinds are often the most difficult to play. You are generally too deep to justify shoving all-in preflop, yet raise-folding is punitively expensive.

Each hand you play at this stage is crucial so it’s important to understand how to play them effectively. It’s important to note that there is no one-size-fits-all and playing stacks of this nature is an art. You should aim to adjust the following variables. Depending on your opponents, the field, the payout structure, and many additional factors.

While I discuss these concepts in more detail in Four Step Poker Mastery, the basics of what you need to know are the following:

1. Look for spots to resteal over loose openers.

Example: A loose player opens in the cutoff for 2.5 big blinds. He’s been playing too many hands and is taking advantage of the tight, weak player (TAG) in the big blind. It’s likely that his range is much wider than it should be.

BACA JUGA:  The Similarities Between Poker and Baseball

You look down at KTs on the button. While this hand is far from premium. When you combine your fold equity (the probability that he will fold), plus your solid equity when called, this becomes a clear spot to shove.

I share my exact process for how to decide which hands to shove in Four Step Poker Mastery, breaking down complex math programs, like Poker Cruncher, into simple to understand versions; for now, it’s important to understand which spots you’re shoving wide and which spots you’re shoving narrow.

Shove wide when you’re against loose openers, who have medium stack sizes and open in late position; most assuredly, they have wider ranges and will be crippled if they call your all-in and lose.

Shove narrower against tight openers who are either very short (therefore, unlikely to be opening without a premium hand), or big stacks who are indifferent to losing an all-in against someone with your stack size. Also, shove narrower when you are closer to the money, or when ICM dictates that the risks are too high (more on this in the next section).

2. Open much tighter and avoid big stacks.

You should aim to exploit tight opponents by min-raising (to 2 big blinds) from late position, in an attempt to steal the blinds.

When called (usually from the big blind), bet 2.5 big blinds postflop (or 1/3 of the pot). As a continuation bet for a second attempt to steal the pot.

When called on the flop, shove All-in on the turn (if your stack-to-pot-ratio is close to one), whenever you have a decent amount of equity. You can widen your shoving range, if your opponent is very likely to fold or you get a strong read.

Otherwise, if you believe your opponent will call, or you have absolutely nothing, simply check behind and give up the pot.

It’s important to acknowledge that this play is one that you will setup preflop; therefore, it’s really important to pick the right situation. Just like a chess player thinks multiple moves ahead, before moving a piece, you’ll want to be fully ready to implement this multi-faceted plan before deciding to open preflop.

Make this play against tight players, and stacks that could be threatened by your stack (even if they cover you). A 30 big blind stack still has to worry about getting doubled through by a 20 big blind stack; therefore, he is still potentially a target. Avoid aggressive opponents and big stacks in particular. As they can afford the risk and will be less inclined to get pushed around