You won a satellite and you are ready to play a fat tournament with a huge guaranteed prize pool. In case you are wondering how to play the early stages, to make sure you arrive at least in the money, n the following article you can find the basic poker strategy to avoid mistakes during the first hour.
Enjoy the stillness
Be prepared to get bored. If you don’t feel much entertained in the early stage, it’s a good sign. First of all, there are not reasons to steal the blinds. The stacks are usually very deep, around 400bb, so a small investment to win a small pot in pure bluff, just doesn’t worth it.
You can play some multiway pot with insane odds, like trying to set mining with 77 if there are 3-4 players already involved, but that’s it. Besides monster hands, no action is way better than action.
Even with strong hands as KK or QQ you absolutely should not go all in preflop: stacks are so deep and you are so talented that you can play postflop for big pots using positional advantage, without investing too much of your chips.
Apply the golden rule: W.I.T
W stands for… weak players
Do not play unless you have spotted a weak players involved in a potentially juicy hand. Playing very nitty doesn’t mean you should not observe other players at the table, therefore if you notice a fish who might be willing to give you his chips, then you definitely want to get involved in some hands more versus him.
Try to isolate him and make sure post flop action is only between him and you, no other guests invited.
I stands for… implied odds
As already said, if UTG+2 raises and CO and BTN call, you can call the difference from the SB with a speculative hand as 76s or 88. It must be clear, though, if you have hit a nice flop or not.
If you flop a monster draw, a flush, a set, then you can go ahead and play the end, hoping to scoop a big multiway pot, but if you just might have a draw or a slight showdown value, just keep the investment in the hand as it is and let the other guys play.
T stands for… tight ranges
Both in early stages and in middle phase, just before the bubble, there are no needs to play many hands. Approaching hands with strong pairs – or as above with insanely good odds – is the only approach you want to follow.
As long as your stack is really deep compared to the blinds, you are not in hurry and your race to build a big stack has yet to begin. Do not limp and just enter in the hands raising with a strong range, it will be more than enough to get rid of most of the players and come closer to the in the money zone.
Just be tight and spot the fish at the table trying to play with him. In the early phases getting bored is a good sign, but keep your focus on the players and on how they play the their hands, because all these info will be more than useful with the continuation of the tournament.