At the onset of a tournament, when you have no idea how the players at your table play (tight, loose, aggressive, non-aggressive), how would you play A-K suited or off suit? If you go all in you win nothing because everybody folds and the blinds are small and if you hang in there too long you take the chance of getting sucked out on the
turn or river? Any advice would help. Thanks. A. Lush
I think this question all depends on what the other players' stacks at the table are. If they have stacks where you can put a lot of pressure on them even when you miss the flop, it's best to be very aggressive with AK, like raising before the flop, or re-raising if someone has raised into you. That way you can bet multiple times even when you miss the board and people will often fold. There is too much pressure on their stack to call down with say 88 on a board of 942Q or similar.
If they are much deeper stacked, early in a tournament, it's fine to sometimes just call a raise preflop with AK if someone raises into you. You disguise your hand and will get a lot of value when the flop comes A high and someone else has a weaker ace.
Once you hit your hand in this situation though, it's good to be very aggressive and bet. Be cautious still when someone raises you, as that often means they have a hand better than one pair. But honestly, the best advice I can give overall is make the reads on your fellow players as quickly as possible, because that's going to be the most important information on how you should be playing all of your hands, including AK. Vanessa
Q2: At what point in your poker playing life did you see everything "change" where you were beginning to take down tournaments, and what do you feel brought about this change? T. Liveley
Early in my career, I was good at tournaments with quick structures because I was incredibly aggressive and bluff-happy, because it worked since everyone had their tournament life on the line so quickly. I learned that style of play from cash games.
Everything changed for me in the sense of learning how to play deep-stacked tournaments with longer structures when the Pokerstars NAPT Mohegan Sun tournament rolled around. I was at one of the toughest tables in the room due to some poor tournament scheduling issues, and it occurred to me I should just wait that table out until I got put in the other room with much weaker players. That was the moment I learned how to be patient, wait for a good table draw, not bluff every single hand, but make moves selectively and at the right times. I definitely consider that my breakthrough in learning how to crush the biggest tournaments. Vanessa
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