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Big starting hands

Tisdag 06 April, Richard M. Malone

Poker Tourrnament5A guide on how to play strong poker hands in ring games, in tournament play and other scenarios. Optimize your big hand strategy with us.

You sit and wait for a monster hand to come along in a tournament but then when you get it, you have no idea how to play it? If this sounds like you then in this article I am going to explain exactly how to play those big pre and post flop hands and maximise your winnings.

Aggressive Pre-flop Tournament plays:

If you are early into a tournament and you see such a hand as AA, KK, QQ, AK then the best advice I can give is to shove all in. In the early stages of a tournament people are looking to play hands and make that instant double up, if you have one of these four power hands pre-flop early on shove it into the middle. Particularly in an online scenario you will end up getting called by inferior players with inferior hands, I cannot count the amount of times I’ve had AA and been called pre-flop by AJ, AQ, A 10 by people overplaying their hands.

Aggressive and Smart Post flop:

Now this is a different kettle of fish entirely, say for instance you have flopped top set with top kicker maybe A 10 on a board of 10 10 K (this applies to when you flop top straight, a flush, set, quads etc); and say for example there are 4 players still in the pot and you are first to act, my recommendation is to bet into the pot, normally about half to three quarters the size of the pot. The reasoning for this is, you don’t want someone seeing a free card with a possible straight draw on board and only amateurs check flopped sets, it also becomes blindingly obvious you have a set if you check raise in this spot meaning you’ll make a lot less money.

Setting the trap:

Another avenue you can take with these sorts of hands is to set a trap, now this does not mean constantly playing weak and flat calling; these moves are very obvious and your opponent will slow down as the hand wears on. This means when you flop a monster and bet out, don’t over bet your hands or over-raise your hands, if you have the nuts (best possible hand) then you want to keep as many people in the pot as possible, bet half to three quarters of the size of the pot. Betting this way makes it appear affordable and give players pot odds on hitting a card they think will win them the hand allowing you to make more money.

Check rising:

The check raise is something you want to avoid using in most situations; however in a circumstance where you have players on your table who are overly aggressive and like to bluff then this is the perfect way to get money out of them. I would never recommend a check raise early in a tournament unless you know how the player plays. Know your opponent and let him hang himself in pots.