No Limit Hold'em Tournament Strategy
No limit Texas Hold'em tournaments require a whole new set of skills compared with ring games. In a ring game, your goal is to make mathematically sound plays and hope your opponents make mistakes, trying to win a few big bets per hour. On the other hand, in no limit holdem tournaments your goal is to win every last chip on the table. In no limit hold'em you're often one mistake away from losing it all.
Choosing How Much to Bet
One challenge players face in no limit holdem? is determining how much to bet when they have a solid hand. The ring game strategy of just throwing a single bet in the pot doesn't really work in no limit. When you have the best hand and you decide not to slow play, you need to make players with weaker hands pay dearly to see more cards. Your bet amount should be based on the size of the pot. Betting 3x to 4x the pot on the flop or turn makes it very difficult for a player on a draw to make a call. Almost any draw doesn't have the implied odds to make a call in such a situation. Be sure to vary the amount you bet, try always betting between 3x to 5x the pot. Don't fall into the trap of? always? betting your monster hands more than your merely good hands or you run the risk of tipping off your opponents.
Build Your Stack by Stealing Blinds
In no limit Texas Hold'em the blinds are constantly increasing so you must increase your stack size to stay alive. A great way to do this is to steal blinds when you are in late position.? Mid to late tournament, many players in no limit holdem will become fearful of losing their stack and tighten up. When everyone in the hand folds to you and you're within a few seats left of the dealer, try frequently raising 3x to 4x the big blind. Chances are everyone else will run and you'll steal the blinds. Sometimes you'll run into a player with a monster hand and it will cost you, but overall blind stealing is a profitable play when done right. It's much more difficult to steal blinds from early position because so many players have yet to act, so try to steal from late position only.
Don't Go to War With Crap
Aside from blind stealing and bluffs, you don't want to get stuck calling with mediocre hands like Ace + Jack.? AJ is a hand that is so easily dominated by? other good hands that it's best to fold if? there's a raise pre-flop. Calling a raise pre-flop is very difficult? in? no limit holdem because? it's likely that the bettor will go all in on the flop and you'll be left to make a tough call. Even if an ace flops, I'd have a hard time calling? all my chips? with AJ. Don't go to war unless you have a great hand that likely dominates your opponent, not a hand that is dominated. Think AK, JJ, QQ, KK, AA. Don't even think about playing garbage like suited connectors in no limit. No limit holdem? is about heads-up play so you almost never have the implied odds necessary to call with? hands like Jack + Ten suited.? There won't be more than one player left in the game to pay you off even if you hit your draw.
All in On? a Draw??
Players online just love to go all-in when they flop a draw such as a flush draw or a double-sided straight. This strategy works well against an opponent who is scared to call all his chips, but today the all-in on a draw play is overused and just too obvious. You need to be aware of this common strategy and stick to your guns when you have a solid hand. Top pair + top kicker? and your opponent pushes his stack? Call him down in a second. The odds are against him hitting his draw and in favor of you doubling up.
Here are some quality Usenet posts covering no limit Texas Hold'em tournaments:
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