For those players who are used to making pot size bets and raises or being able to bet or raise more that the pot as in no limit hold’em tournaments then tournament poker when played with a limit hold’em structure may come as something of a shock.
The game is completely different and a totally different strategy needs to be employed. However you are still playing tournament poker at the end of the day and your goal is still to balance survival with chip accumulation just like it is in any other type of poker tournament that you play.
ust like in any other type of tournament, during the early blind levels then play closely resembles that of a cash game.
The Number of Blinds
This is because each player has a large number of big blinds in their stack and this allows players to be patient and to pick and choose their spots during these early phases of the tournament. Your main goal during this stage is to keep most of your stack intact and so not giving away needless chips is very important.
The chances for taking risks will come later and there is a lot of wild play during the early levels of limit Texas hold’em tournaments. Many limit tournament players will actually play even tighter than they would if they were to play a cash game.
Tournament chips cannot be replaced and so the need to treat these chips with care is paramount. There are two keys things to remember at this stage of the competition and this is that you are essentially only playing premium hands and your position.
In limped pots then you can play the odd pocket pair if it is cheap but you certainly are not getting out of line with weaker holdings. If you allow yourself to be dragged into pots with marginal hands and especially out of position then losing chips based on this can be the difference between a final table finish and busting out.
During these early stages and into the middle stages then stealing the blinds will represent a vital tactic in your weaponry for accumulating chips. If you can steal the blinds every orbit then your stack will not diminish and if you can steal the blinds twice every orbit then you will likely go very deep in the event.
Of course life isn’t quite that simple as your opponents will also be doing the same but this is what you need to do to preserve your stack.
The players that win tournaments on a regular basis are not the players who sit and wait for good cards. If every single player did this then over the long haul no player would be able to get an edge. The difference between the real winners and losers in limit Texas hold’em tournaments is in how many chips you can steal and how often.