Poker Strategy Adjustments For Deep Stacked Tournaments – Are You Making The Right Plays?
Deep Stacked Tournaments with double or even bigger the usual chips to start and slower blind levels are increasingly popular online. The early levels of these tournaments involve some poker strategy adjustments which are more familiar to cash game players than tournament regulars. This article looks at how to get the most from deep stacked poker tournaments – then goes on to recommend some of the best deep stacked tournaments online at 3 leading poker sites.
Whether you are playing the Sunday Million on Poker Stars or a $3 double stacked tournament on Full Tilt both your pre-flop and post flop play will need to adjust during the early stages of a deep-stacked tourney.
Deep Stacked Poker Tournament Strategy - Hand Values Change When Deep
The first thing to note is that hand values change. Hands with high implied-odds potential go up in value while unpaired high cards go down in value.
High implied-odds hands include small pairs and suited connectors. The deeper stacks mean that you have the potential to win a very large pot with these hands when you hit a straight or a small set against an opponent with an over-pair. Calling small raises before the flop, especially from position and / or when you close the betting should be a routine part of your deep stacked strategy.
The reason that unpaired high cards go down in value is a direct result of the number of chips in play. Imagine you raise with Ace-Queen (for example) before the flop and were called in 2 places. Sure, a continuation bet will usually take the pot – however what about when you bet on a queen-high flop and are called from a player in position? You bet again on a ‘safe’ turn and are re-raised half your stack… in a short-stacked tournament you would usually have a clear decision based on the number of chips in your stack. In a deep stacked poker tournament you have a tough decision – is your top pair + top kicker good? Are you prepared to bet your whole stack on this?
Deep Stack Tournament Strategy - Hand Reading And Pot-Control
Playing any hand in a deep stacked tournament involves post-flop skills such as hand-reading and pot control. The fact that there are enough chips for betting on many streets means that the value of position is also increased. Position will enable you to see your opponent’s action before you decide on your own – giving you a clearer indication of the hand you are up against.
With deep stacks and a slow blind structure the temptation for many players is to tighten up during the early stages and only play the very best hands. This is a potentially dangerous strategy for 2 reasons:
- When you do finally play a hand you may get no action.
- If you do get action it may well be from a hand that beats you, for example a small set against your aces after the flop.
Balance your play by raising a number of hands from position, this will help disguise the times when you have a monster holding.
Deep Staked Poker Tournament Strategy - Opponent Temdencies Matter!
Finally, the tendencies of your opponents become more important in deep stacked online poker tournaments. Make sure that you are aware of the strength of hands with which your opponents will call big bets. Also note the number of hands played – you do not want to fall into the trap of paying off the guy who only plays aces and kings!
To summarize, deep stacked poker tournament strategy involves adjusting to the strength of hands after the flop. High implied-odds hands in particular go up in value. Position is more important as the stacks get deeper as you will have more opportunity to see your opponents act over several streets. Raising a number of hands pre-flop will help to get you action those times you are dealt a premium hand.
Many sites offer deep-stacked online tournaments – below is a quick overview of the best deep stacked poker tournaments online:
PokerStars: The number #1 poker site and also the widest selection of deep stacked tourneys. These include the Sunday million at the high end and many other tournaments from just a few dollars to enter. If you are not already playing at Stars then it is time to check out just why they are the number one poker site online by a long way… you can claim up to 3 welcome bonuses here, use Marketing / bonus code combo PSP3108 (registration) / STARS600 (deposit) to get a 100% match up to 3 times (total $600, 90 days to claim).
Bovada Poker: Pushing ahead with their 'recreational player model' has paid dividends for Bovada, which is part of the global Bodog group. They are now the biggest single US poker site by a long way, and have unique 'anonymous' games too (you'll be assigned a number when you join each new game). They have some of the biggest US tournaments around (black diamond open) as well as great promos and bonuses. Check out those soft tournament fields for yourself now!
For detailed and straightforward reviews of a wide number of the best online poker sites see our Best Tournament Poker Sites section!