Let's forget, for the moment, how many outs you have and the statistical probabilities of a winning hand, and concentrate on getting in the money. This is about survival at the tables, not about becoming a legend. Your biggest obstacle will be to overcome the urge to bet on anything that resembles a good hand.
Early Tournament Strategy
1. If you can't spot the worst player at the table within ten minutes, it's you.
2. Play very cautiously at the beginning. Since the betting will be erratic and you don't have a read on all the players, don't go all in pre-flop.
3. Don't play a well-known system because it will not work at this stage of the game.
4. Half of the players will be eliminated within the first quarter of the tournament. Don't be one of them.
5. If you have the best hand, let your opponents think they have, by letting them lead the betting, and hit them on the river if you know you cannot be beaten.
6. If you are not sure you have the best hand, make your opponents think you have. Bet aggressively (but not all-in). Watch the betting and get out if they get big. You don't want to pay to see if it's a bluff.
7. Don't go all-in pre-flop, as some idiot will follow with 3 4 and beat your AA with two pairs.
8. The object of the early stage is to survive to the next stage, and maybe pick up a few chips on the way.
9. The ante is small at the beginning but as it rises, it will soon eat away at your chip stack. Only bet with AA, KK, QQ, AK and AQ, A-10 suited if the betting has been raised pre-flop.
10. Try not to raise early to eliminate weaker hands as some novice players will not get the message and hit a good hand on the flop.
Mid Tournament Strategy
1. Remember, you are now playing against good players, but be on the lookout for the bad player who got lucky.
2. Some of the players you're playing with will make the final table, so you want to give the impression that you are a tight, solid player.
3. Don't worry about the amount of chips other players have accumulated; be patient and wait for the big hands.
4. The blinds will be quite high so only call with good cards. Position is everything. Use it.
5. If you have a good hand after the flop, make your opponents pay to stay. If your hand cannot be beat, go all in.
6. Don't bluff.
7. If the flop does not help your hand, fold, unless you think your opponents' hands have not been helped too (watch their betting).
8. Don't make it personal. Turn off everyone. You can talk after the tourney.
Now you can play your system if you wish, or just follow the simple steps below.
1. If you are chip leader, don't play too loose, as blinds are very high and you can lose a lot of your chips in just a couple of hands.
2. Try to steal the blinds by raising pre-flop with good cards. You must be bold and aggressive in your play. If you're not too confident, then just call or fold.
3. If you have a short stack (equal to or greater than big blinds) then wait for any pair or AK AQ AJ unsuited, or A-K to A-2 suited, and go all in. You may just run out of chips, so either fold or hope you get lucky and win on your blind.
4. Use the semi-bluff if the betting is weak. For example, you hold JJ and the flop shows 3-6-2, but lookout for raises (especially the blind if it was not raised pre-flop), and don't be drawn in.
5. Keep an eye on the stack size of your opponents. If you have a larger stack, make them pay to stay. If you have a good hand, bet the stack of the player with the least chips.
6. The players with small stacks will be thinking, 'I'm in the money' and will go all in on weak hands. If you think you have a chance, call. If not, fold, as you don't want to increase their stack size.
I hope these thoughts on how to win a Texas Hold'em No-Limit Poker Tournament will help you win big!
Maybe I'll you at the tables,