Playing Early Stages Of Tournaments

The early stages of a tournament play a significant role in how the rest of the tournament will play out for you. If you gain an early chip stack you can use it to your advantage and can have a smooth ride throughout the rest of the tournament. If you are unsuccessful in doubling up a couple of times, you may find yourself pushing all-in on a regular basis, later on, to keep up with the blinds and to have a decent chance of winning the tournament. According to there are three main strategies that people adopt in the early stages and these will be analyzed in terms of their advantages and disadvantages.

The first strategy that people adopt is to play more aggressively than normal to gain an early chip advantage on the rest of the competition. Players tend to play more hands than normal and you will find that a lot of fish will either double up or get eliminated. The good thing about adopting this style of play is that it sets you up for the rest of the tournament if you get a couple of early double-ups. On the other hand, if you get eliminated you haven’t wasted a huge amount of time for no reward. You will find that these types of players don’t have very consistent results but will have a limited amount of quality results. I use to use this style until I realized that I was wasting too many buy-ins and the wins weren’t consistent enough to justify playing this way. If you can pull it off it certainly does have its advantages. But to the regular player, I don’t believe this is the best style to play within the early stages of the tournament.

The second type of play is one in which players do not change their strategy no matter what level of the tournament they’re in. Some players like to play the same way throughout the tournament, although it must be said that these players are usually in the beginning stages of their poker careers. This method doesn’t have any real advantages or disadvantages except for the fact that you will be taking on more donkeys. If you are involved in a hand you are more likely to be paid off or sucked out on during the early stages while the fish are still swimming. You need to take into account the fact that things may not always go to plan to play this way in the early stages. Sharks can even be playing looser than normal and take advantage so be careful. Overall though, playing an average style of the game early on won’t have a huge effect on the outcome of the tournament for you. Your level of experience and skill will determine how you perform if you decide to take this route in the early stages of a tournament.

Lastly, the method that I adopt in the early stages of a tourney is a tighter than average game. I rarely get involved in the early stages when I don’t have to and I have a high percentage of winning hands when I do play. I normally play around 15-20% of hands in the first hour which is quite tight in comparison with the rest of the tournament. You will find that if you adopt this method that you can find a double up or two quite easily if the cards permit. The donkeys won’t even realize that you haven’t been playing many hands and will pay you off. If the cards don’t come early on then you will have a similar chip stack to the one that you started with. This is not a big deal as there will be plenty of opportunities to double up later in the tourney. If you have any sort of decent cards you should be able to double up a least once in the early stages. This is a good position to be in after the early stages because you can settle in, loosen up a bit and there aren’t as many donkeys to compete with.

The negatives associated with this method are that you can be setting yourself up to be short-stacked if you don’t get any action early on or if you play too tight. This can result in you having to push your chips in later on when you don’t really want to. This makes the middle stages a lot tougher because you don’t have many chips to play with. You can also be punished severely if you lose one of the few hands that you play. Because you aren’t playing very many, every win will count and a loss can cripple you. If you adopt this method like I do you have to take these factors into account and be wary of getting sucked out. This method does however allow you more opportunity to compete in the middle and later stages of the tourneys. My statistics have certainly reflected that. Make sure you choose a style that suits your game and then master it, chopping and changing early on can have disastrous effects. Sort your early game out and you will find that you have more opportunities to attack the later stages.