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Poker Strategy | Tournaments Strategy

How Would You Play This Hand – Full Tilt Poker, NLHE Tournament, $40,000 Guarantee

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Full Tilt runs a daily $150+13 buy-in tournament at 3:00pm EST. You receive 3000 starting chips with the blind levels increasing every 12 minutes. This tournament gives you an extra 2 minutes more at each blind level over their standard tournament structure.

Today’s tournament began with 334 players. The top 45 finishers got paid with 1st place paying out $12,525, 2nd place paid $8,016 and 3rd place paid $6012.

This is one of my favorite daily tournaments on Full Tilt because of the structure and the size of the field. It’s not such a huge field, as many guaranteed tournaments, giving you a better chance to go deep. A 3000 chip starting stack and 12 minute blind levels allow you more opportunities to see flops and try to get lucky.

That’s my general philosophy in the early rounds of a tournament with a good structure,. I try to see a lot of flops cheap with drawing hands in multi-way pots from late position. If I hit the flop hard, I put myself in a position to take down a big pot.

After almost forty minutes into this tournament, I saw a lot of flops but didn’t hit much. I bled away about T$1000 chips from my T$3000 starting stack up to this point. But, I wasn’t discouraged. I knew if I could catch a couple of hands I’d get right back in it. This next hand came up.

Here are the chip counts going into the hand.

MP2: 3,460
CO: 2,095
BTN: 4,705
SB: 6,680
BB: 2,200
UTG: 3,660
UTG+1: 2,255
UTG+2: 2,895
Hero (MP1): 1,950

How would you play this hand? With the blinds at 25/50, I pick up {J-Spades}{10-Spades} and limp from middle position. The reason I limped here is I didn’t want to come out with a standard 3x raise and get re-raised from a couple of players with bigger stacks who were sitting on the Button and in the Small Blind. It’s very important to pay attention to player’s stacks that are left to act in the hand. I am willing to call a standard raise to see a flop especially from a player raising out of the blinds. I’d have position on them the rest of the way giving me an edge.

A player to my immediate left makes it 160 to go and everyone else folds to me. This player has been playing pretty straight forward without getting out of line. If I miss the flop completely, I can get away cheap.

The flop comes {A-Hearts}{A-Spades}{9-Spades}

I flop a J-high flush draw and decide to check. Since, I’m playing this hand out of position I’d rather try to see a free card. If I bet out and get raised, I will probably have to let it go. I check and the player to my left checks. This made me a little suspicious but, he could’ve easily whiffed the flop. He may even think I’m slow playing with an Ace in the hole.

The turn brought Ks. The board now looks like this: {A-Hearts}{A-Spades}{9-Spades}{K-Spades}

I hit the second nut flush and bet out 250 into a 395 pot. The reason for this sized bet is I don’t want to scare my opponent out of the pot. If he has an Ace which is well within his pre-flop raising range, he’ll definitely come along. He may even re-raise me. If he has a King, he may just call due to my weak looking bet. He decides to call my 250 bet and the river brings a harmless 2c. I feel like I’m way ahead here due to the action up to this point and I size up a value bet I think will get paid off. With the pot at 895 I bet a little more than half on the river, 450. He instantly called.

What do you think he had? With two Aces on board, I couldn’t believe he’d call me all the way down with an Ace. At least a solid player would’ve re-raised me on the turn to see where he was at in the hand. The hand he flipped over was one of the two hands I figured he might have.

Results: 1,795 Pot
MP2 mucked {K-Diamonds}{Q-Diamonds} (two pair, Aces and Kings) and LOST (-860 NET)
Hero showed {10-Spades}{J-Spades} (a flush, Ace high) and WON 1,795 (+935 NET)

Winning this pot brought my stack back up to T$2885 which is almost what I started with. Shortly after this hand I picked up Q-Q and doubled up before the 1st break. I took that stack deep into this tournament and finished 3rd overall for $6017.

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