Multi Table Tournament Strategy

Blinds Play Middle Rounds

Correct play from the blinds in the middle rounds of poker tournaments is always challenging. This is mainly because players will start putting pressure on you when you are in the blinds, hoping to force you to fold and stealing them. Because of this, you need to pay attention to the range of hands that each player is willing to do this with, especially those players to your right. I do not recommend fighting over your blinds with marginal hands until your stack starts getting low. If you play well in the other positions, you will probably be able to steal just as many blinds as you give up, if not more, so there is no reason to risk your entire tournament in one of the blinds with small pairs or hands like KQ or A9.

One area where your knowledge of your opponents and of pot odds comes into play is when you have an above average stack and a small stack has moved all in. I still don't recommend calling a large enough bet to hurt you very much without your best hands, but as players get shorter stacked, they will often take a chance with poor hands like KJs or small pairs. Against these players, it is often correct to make a call with a hand like AJs or TT, depending on how much is in the pot and how much you have to risk. Of course if your opponent hasn't played a hand in an hour, he or she probably does have a big hand and you shouldn't take any chances. Just surrender your blinds and fight another day, or round in this case.

Like most positions at this stage of a tournament, I don't like to call when there has been a raise. I prefer to either fold or re-raise, because I will be out of position the entire hand, and I want to know just how much a pre flop raiser likes his or her hand. From the small blind, I will call the half bet when there hasn't been a raise and I have a chance to make a big hand.

Hands I like to play in this situation are small pairs and suited connectors. I do not like unsuited hands like A9 and below or KQ and below. These are trap hands and are often better thrown in the muck. I realize this may not make sense, especially if you are a new tournament player, because A9 is a better hand than 87s, but I can get away from the 87s if I miss the flop much easier than I can the A9 if an Ace hits the flop. In addition, your hand is very well disguised in this situation, so on a flop of 5 6 9, many players will not put you on a straight, no matter what you do.

In closing, I just want to reinforce the most important point of blind play in the middle rounds. Do not get knocked out of the tournament with a marginal hand in the blinds. The correct play is to fold and keep your eyes open for an opportunity to be the aggressor by raising, instead of calling a raise.