Early, M: 6-9


Very Bad position. You somehow managed to lose almost all of your chips. To be in this spot in the early phase means that you got real unlucky. Perhaps you had KK, pushed all-in and a shorter stack than you called with AA. You should not be in this position too often.

Raising 3BB or All-in?:

At this stage, there is no more raising 3BB. You are going all-in or not playing.

Pre-flop Starting Hands:

Limping Hands – all positions
AT, AJ, AQ: Limp in with these, hoping to get lucky on the flop.

Raising Hands (we want an all-in)

AA and KK: Make a 3BB Raise, hoping to look weak so you can double up. You need to triple up in reality so if you can get other callers in the pot, this will help.

Facing a raise (you haven’t acted yet) AK or any pair: Reraise all-in.

Facing a raise (you have acted already)
77+, AQs, AK: Reraise all-in. More than likely they are calling.

Blind Stealing (button or one off button)

Don’t do it: Same as M: 20+

Blind Defense (from big blind – small blind is stealing)

You are allowed to use the Blind Defense: 3BB Reraise. You want to establish yourself as a blind defender early on if possible. Your stack is lower, but they will still probably fold. If they reraise all-in, call with AT+, 99+.

Other Pre-Flop Plays/Comments Same as M: 20+

You are allowed to make the Small Blind Play: Call any half bet from small blind if one or more limpers exist. You are hoping to trap someone and get a lucky double up. Blinds are still cheap so a call is ok to make on the chance you’ll get lucky. In this spot, you can play any top pair more aggressively. Again, you are needing to make a move and top pair with a junk kicker is a decent spot to take a stand.

Post-flop Play (flop,turn,river):

You have nothing

Check it down, fold to any aggression.

You have top pair
Winning the pot will grow your stack by about 30% at least. You could double up also if called. You should check and expect your opponent to bet with anything. You will then come over the top and reraise all-in.

You have middle pair
If your opponent checks to you, push all-in. If he bets, only call if you are pot committed (most of the time this will be the case). If your not sure – call. Normally, you will be committed at this point.

You have a drawing hand

You are allowed to use the Semi-Bluff play. Make a semi- bluff by pushing all-in.

You have a set, two pair or better

You are allowed to Slow Play: Check on the river. Check on the turn also. Hopefully he will bet on the river and you can reraise all-in. You are trying to trap him here. While there is a chance he will out draw you, you desperately need to double up. Give him every opportunity to hit a pair so that your set/2 pair will pay off.

Early, M: 2-5


You are toast. Very small chance you’ll win or place the tourney. You need to triple/quadruple up.

Raising 3BB or All-in?:

At this stage, there is no more raising 3BB. You are going all-in or not playing.

Pre-flop Starting Hands:

Your play at this point is less a function of your hands and more a function of the number of people in the pot. You need to pick a spot and go with it. The best is a premium pair – you can limp in and hope lots of people call. Flop comes you can push all-in and hope your hand holds up. The next best is to wait until you have a hand like AK or KQ or any two face cards suited or AXs. If this happens and there are a couple limpers, limp in with them. You are in need of a big win – not just a double up. So… pick a spot and go for it. Preferably a spot with other limpers.

Post-flop Play (flop,turn,river):

You pushed all-in to get here. No play required for post-flop.

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