Texas Hold Em Tournament Strategy – Build A Strong Rep’

I’m going to explain to you a lucrative Texas Hold Em tournament strategy that you can use at your next Texas Hold Em tournament to make it to the money tables.

In tournament play, a Texas Hold Em tournament strategy is essential if you expect to win. If you just go in trying to play hand by hand and ‘do your best’ you may lose. The people that are successful in poker tournaments are those that have calculated their actions and are acting in accordance with a strategy. Tournament play isn’t like cash games. Yes, in cash games you just play hand by hand and make sure you do you best etc and you will probably make money. But in tournament play, when the heat gets going, when the blinds and antes are increasing, just playing a plain style probably won’t cut it.

So what is a good Texas Hold em tournament strategy? First lets get one thing straight; your reputation in poker, at the tournament, at each table, is vitally important in your overall success. Do you want people thinking ‘This guy only ever players pocket Aces or Kings, if he’s in I’m folding’. What about ‘This guy plays almost any cards, I’m not scared of his raise’. Do you want someone to think your bluffing when you all-in, or do you want them to second guess themselves and get scared?

So how do you get a good reputation? You have to make it. You get a rep’ by playing consistently in a similar fashion, or style. Do you want a rep that you are a loose cannon who bets big? Maybe, but it probably isn’t going to serve you that much. The reason is when people think you are a loose player, when you bet big it loses its effect because they think ‘well he probably doesn’t even have that much’.

Imagine your trying to create mini-reps each game. Every time you sit down at a table you are playing from scratch, building your rep again from scratch, trying to build a mini-rep for that table. So where to start? Tighten up your game. Play tight, really tight. Sure, you’ll have to fold most of your hands, but at least when you do play you know you have a better chance of winning. Remember, the only thing ‘aggressive’ means is that when you enter a pot or play at a pot, you raise. Rule of thumb, always raise between three and five times the big blind. So this is what you do, wait for a good hand, then raise. If someone raises you back, re-raise them. Continue like clockwork. When you hit the flop, raise. If anyone raises you, re-raise back. The turn, raise. The river, raise, with a re-raise anywhere required.

You should be confident in doing this because you will have a good hand. You need to realise that if someone is calling you or staying in the game, they have something good too. Do not bother bluffing bad cards because you’ll end up losing, and losing big because you raised so much. If you don’t have good cards, fold. Don’t worry about losing the money you put in before the flop, just fold it. Then rinse and repeat. Wait for a good starting hand, and when you want to enter a pot always raise. This is playing aggressive but it’s tight aggressive. You should lose much less because you have such good cards you are actually in the running to really win with the better hand.

Each time you sit down at a table to start playing, play tight aggressive. Build up a table rep for yourself. A rep that when your in, you’re in serious. You’re gonna bet big, and play hard and you definitely have something. If you are playing against fairly good people, after time they will start to figure this out. That’s great, that means your getting a rep for yourself. You’ve created your mini-rep. You’ll start to notice when you bet your opponents will just fold. You might even notice their reaction time to make the decision decreases. They are thinking less about their cards and more about you, your rep, so that means your making progress. Then you will only get real competition. So when someone calls you you know he has something good. You either can out draw him, which relies on a bit of luck, or you can play even more aggressive and try to crush him. You need to strike a nice balance. Go for the kill when you think you have the best hand. Usually you’ll need to see the flop to do this so don’t get stuck in a re-raising match before the flop. After one or two re-raises before the flop just call to keep the game moving and see the flop.

So after you have a bit of a table rep you can start to slowly loosen up. And I mean slowly. Progressively play looser and looser. Now you have to start remembering what hands people see you play. So when you finish/win a pot and everyone got to see your cards you need to realise they now have changed their judgement on you. If they see you win with pairs of sevens or suited 8-9 etc (middle cards) then they will start to think you are playing looser. They will then challenge you more often. Be careful here and tighten it back up. Remember to play tight aggressive as your ‘normal’ stock standard bread and butter. But when the opportunity arises, try to sneak a win with a less strong hand. Make sure you have your rep first, and if/when the players start seeing you loosen up, re-tighten up and win a few more pots so they can literally see you are playing better hands again, and continue like this. This is the art of varying your style of play and controlling your reputation.

By repeatedly doing this, you will create a reputation for yourself that you are a strong player and you are not to be messed with. At the start of the tournament you can play very tight because the blinds are so small. Build your rep. Let people know you only play quality hands, and when your in your raising and reraising like a beast. After a few rounds in, after you have your rep, start to sneak less and less quality players. Start moving with jacks and tens. Then suited 8-9′s and then pairs of 7′s. You get the idea, slowly loosen up. You can often win without having to show your cards because people will fold because you bet so aggressively. But when you do come to a showdown and people actually see your cards, tighten back up and let them see your premium cards at least once in a showdown so you can maintain your rep.

So this Texas Hold Em tournament strategy is one I have used before and I find it works well. A lot of players think that loose aggressive is the best so just start betting big on any hands. Yeah, this may work but I find it better to first play tight, establish a rep and then leverage that rep. Poker is alot more psychological then you think, so try this Texas Hold Em tournament strategy next time you are playing a poker tournament.

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