Middle, M: 4-5


This is a very tough spot to be in. Unfortunately you’ll find yourself here more often than not. If you miss a draw or have to fold for some reason, you can quickly find yourself in this position. At this stage, you are in a very serious danger zone. Many times you will have to push all-in in order to try and stay afloat. IP: The worst possible thing you can do in this position is to freeze up and play too tight – letting the blinds take you out. Of course you can’t get too aggressive yet since the blinds are still fairly small.

Raising 3BB or All-in?:

At this stage, there is no raising 3BB. You are either going all-in or folding. You don’t have the chips to mess around with raises. If you have 800 chips and you raise 300, you are left with 500. At this point, you are pretty much pot committed.

IP: If you know you will be pot committed, you should make an all-in raise instead!

Pre-flop Starting Hands:

Limping Hands – late position No limping

All-in Hands

From early position (right before the blinds):
So here are the hands we push allin with: Any two face cards, any two suited connectors (89s, 67s,etc), Any pair, Any Ace, Any K4o or better, any Q9o or better and any J9o. This should be about half the hands you will see. . IP: Remember to do this only if the blinds are about to take you down another level. The blinds are about to put you In a very serious/bad situation. Worse than you’re in now. You are bad off now – but it will be worse if you M hits 3 or less. Because of this, you must push all-in from early with many hands you normally wouldn’t. Up until now, you should look tight. You’ve been building fold equity for this moment.

The following table should show why its important to push all-in before you have your stack decimated by the blinds. Notice we are in M:4-5 initially and about to be hit by the blinds. If we fold 89s, we will have only 650/775 after the blinds pass us. At this point we will be pushing in with almost anything first opportunity so we want to avoid getting there if possible. Also, if we do our stack size is so small many good players will be calling us. So we miss out on whatever fold equity we might currently have ( with a stack of 800-1000). If we push all in and get lucky, half the time we will win and double up (coin flip). Suddenly we’re back in the tourney. If we double up in the next stage after our stack has dropped another blind level, we are still looking better, but overall we are still in trouble.

Hopefully this makes sense..

From middle position :
Push all-in with AT+ and any pair. We know we are about to be eaten up by the blinds (see early above), so we do this to try and keep us afloat.

From late/button position :
Push all-in with AT+, KQ and any pair. You are really trying to steal the blinds. Many times, this will end in a coin flip if someone calls.

From small blind position :

Push all in with any two face cards, any suited connectors 89s+, any pair. A7+. Again, trying to steal the blinds. Only do this if there are no limpers!

Facing a raise (you haven’t acted yet)

AK or 99+: You may use the Standard Reraise: ALL-IN play. You are taking risks now – you have no choice. You must play your hands aggressively – even if this means you know you have a coin flip.

Facing a raise (you have acted already)

Shouldn’t happen since we are pushing all-in only. If someone reraises behind us, we have no decision to make – hope to get lucky!

Blind Stealing (button or one off button)

See comments from above.

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

You are allowed to use the Blind Defense: Reraise ALL-in You can use this play only if the SB has about 1000-2000 chips. Otherwise, he will most definetly call you. You don’t want him to call. With 1000-2000 chips, he has a decent shot the tourney still and probably won’t call. If he has more than this, he’ll probably call you. Less than this, he’s probably trying to trap you.

Other Pre-Flop Plays/Comments

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 get lucky. Post flop, any medium/top pair you should push all-in. Also, with any bottom pair its ok as long as your opponents are playing passive and checking to you.

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

Most of the time at this stage post-flop, you will have pushed all- in. Because of this there are no rules for post-flop play. Refer to the previous section for details if you find yourself having to make a decision post flop. It is relatively straight forward however. In this situation, you are probably pot commited so plan on staying in until the river and hoping to get lucky!

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