Strategy at the beginning of tournament

By David Grey

Most of the players are aware of the significant benefits of having a big stack in a tournament. When a player has plenty of chips, it can attack several pots by forcing the small stacks to make very difficult decisions. Those who are shortstacks are always vulnerable to attacks by the big stacks.

Why the big stacks can afford to be more aggressive? The answer might surprise you. In tournaments, you have tokens, less these tokens are worth dear. This justifies the fact that you can afford to invest more chips when you have plenty in each jar. It is a weird concept, but you must understand. To clarify this point, suppose that you have 100,000 chips in a tournament and that you may lose 20,000. You won't be happy of this loss, but it will be not as disastrous as if you had lost 15,000 chips in a stack of 30,000.

When you have a lot of chips and you know that they are worth less each, you can afford to use several in each pot; you are more free. You can also attack more easily the blinds and antes without hands of first quality. You can more you embark on a 50-50 without being afraid to be out of the tournament. If a hand or two don't work, it's OK because you will have lost not everything and that you stay still in the race.

The benefits of having a big stack are so great that I am even ready to take some risks at the beginning of tournament to build my stack. When I play in the position, I'll often caller of raises with hands like matching Q9 with KT, hand with which I would never play full ring for fear of being dominated. If you flop top pair with these hands, you fear for your kicker and you put in trouble most of the time. But early in a tournament, I'll caller hoping to hit the flop securely and make me pay by a player who couldn't sleep even top. I'm looking for the brelans, 2 pairs, solid draws, etc. With a big draw, I'll often semi - bluffing building.

In addition, keep in mind that there is a greater proportion of weak players early in the tournament. You want extract them all possible chips until they are out of the tournament.

Playing more hands at the beginning of tournament will expose you to a lot more risk. But it suits me very well. I'd rather take some flips at the start of tournament only to find myself shortstack a few hours later. When I'm shortstack, I know a badbeat or a 50-50 lost and I'm out of the tournament. I prefer to take a few risks to earn tokens and be more combative further for a first place.

Therefore, in your next tournament, look for opportunities in the first levels to accumulate chips to you pick up a large stack. You may be able to be released, but if you survive, you will subsequently have more chances of making a first place or an interesting scholarship.