Multi Table Tournament Strategy

Late Position Early Rounds

Though it is often tempting to play marginal hands from late position in the early rounds of multi table tournaments, you should not expand your selection by much over middle position. As you need to raise when you do enter the pot in these situations, in most cases when you are the first in the pot from late position all you will win are the blinds, and they are not significant enough to risk running into a big hand.

If you raise with a hand like ATs and one of the blinds re-raises, what are you going to do? The correct answer is fold, but you may be in even worse shape if one of the blinds calls and there is an Ace on the flop. You have no way of knowing if your hand is good or if you are against AK or AQ. All of these situations should be avoided, especially early in the tournament.

The list of hands that I recommend playing is AA KK QQ JJ TT AKs AK AQs AQ and AJs. These recommendations are only when the pot has not been raised before you. When you enter the pot, you should raise either three or four times the big blind to not let the blinds see the flop for free. Your largest advantage is acting in late position, so you will have the additional information gathered from the actions of your opponents after the flop before you must act. This also will let you control the size of the pot in most situations, as you can check, call or raise after your opponents.

If there has been a raise before you act, you should fold all of these hands except AA and possibly KK. I realize that this is a very tight strategy, but remember that this is early in the tournament and there is no reason to risk a large percentage of your stack without a very strong hand. I also recommend re-raising with AA and KK if you decide to play it. If you read that your opponent will call an all in bet, you should push, but if you don't think he or she will, you should double their raise. Getting all in pre flop with AA is the best possible outcome in this situation.

One situation to be very aware of is when an early position player limps into the pot and then moves all in after you raise. This is a very clear indication of a big hand. I will put an opponent on AA KK or at the worst AK or QQ in this situation. When this happens, unless the player is someone I am very familiar with and they have proven that they will make this play with a much wider range of hands, I will fold everything except AA. I will not risk my entire tournament at this stage by getting all in against a dominant hand.