Blinds Early Rounds Tournament Strategy

The play in the blinds in the early rounds of multi table tournaments that I recommend is very simple. It is a tight strategy, but it will keep you from getting attached to an inferior hand at these early stages. Realize that the blinds in the early stages are very small in comparison to your stack size, so they are not worth taking chances for. As the tournament progresses to the middle and late rounds, the blinds become larger and more significant, so I tend to wait until then to take any chances. When you are in the blinds, you have the disadvantage of acting first on all of the remaining betting rounds, so you want to have a very strong hand before you become too involved.

In the small blind, I recommend calling the half bet in an unraised pot with the following hands; all pairs below TT AJ and ATs. You should raise with AA KK QQ JJ TT AKs AK AQs AQ and AJs. All other hands should be folded. If the flop does not improve your hand, especially with the small pairs, you should check and fold to any bet. If there has been a raise, I fold all of these hands except AA and sometimes KK. When facing a raise, it is a fold or raise situation, so if you do stay in the hand, a raise of at least one to two times the pot is necessary.

As for the big blind, you will see the flop in any unraised pot, but the way you play your hand after the flop will go a long way towards where you finish in the tournament. If the flop does not improve your hand to two-pair, four to a straight, four to a flush or better, you should check and fold to any bet. I have seen many players get a free look at the flop with hands like Q T, hit top pair on the flop, and lose a large pot to a player with AQ or KQ.

If you are facing a raise in the big blind, I recommend reverting to the strategy listed for a raise in the mall blind above. Only play AA and KK, and do so with a re-raise. Of course you do need to consider the player that raised, as many players will raise with a much wider range of hands than I suggest. However, you also need to weigh the risk vs. reward of any situation. Even a very poor player will find pocket aces every once in a while.

Always remember that in a multi table tournament, one mistake can end your tournament. Though KK is the second best possible starting hand, if you play it against AA you will lose most of the time. If you don't take unnecessary chances in the early rounds, you will increase your chances to finish in the money as well as have time to learn more about your opponents for your play against them later in the tournament.