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Dealing with High Poker Tournament Blinds

by Jeremy Olson

If you’ve played poker tournaments before, you know that the blinds increase as the tourney moves along. And increasing blinds force you to make difficult decisions as they get higher and higher. Unfortunately, many players make the mistake of freezing up when the blinds raise and their stack gets smaller. But as you’ll learn, this is a huge mistake that will keep you from making the final table in MTT’s.

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Look at your Stack Size - The first and most obvious thing you need to focus on when the blinds are rising is your stack size. The bigger your stack is, the more conservatively you can play while waiting for strong hands. But once your stack falls to 15bb or less, you really need to increase your aggression.

Steal and Re-steal - Expanding on our initial point, it’s important that you steal whenever possible to take blinds and give yourself more orbits to see hands. Of course, when you’re stealing, you aren’t going to have premium hands - hence the term “stealing.” Instead, you’re going to be using mediocre hands, late table position and the individual opponents you’ll be stealing from (i.e. tight-aggressive, tight-passive). In regards to the hands, suited connectors, Ax, and overcard combos work great when stealing because they give you something to fall back on when you’re called.

Think about your own Image - As we just mentioned, it’s really important to understand who the opponents you’re stealing from are. But along with this, you also have to consider what the opponents think of you. For instance, if you’ve been playing loose-aggressive the whole time, it’s going to be a lot harder to steal from opponents because your range is so wide. However, if you’ve been tight-aggressive the majority of the time, you’ll have a much better opportunity to steal pots even with mediocre poker hands.


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