There Is No Denying That Phil Hellmuth Tournament Strategy Is A Winning One.
My Overview Of Hellmuth's Strategy Tips Will Reveal All!
While Phil Hellmuth is better known for his ‘Poker Brat’ antics than anything else, there is little doubt that he is one of the world’s best poker tournament strategy experts. Having won a record 11 WSOP bracelets and countless other tournaments players worldwide rightly ask what they can learn from Phil Hellmuth’s poker tournament strategy?
This article outlines many of the ‘pearls of wisdom’ currently available in print, DVD and online to bring you a collection of Hellmuth’s poker strategy tips.
Phil Hellmuth Poker Tournament Strategy – The Early Stages
- Play Patiently: Use the early stages as a chance to get reads on the betting patterns of your opponents (for example whether they lead or try to check raise when strong, how do they play drawing hands such as flush draws?). Do not get involved without a strong hand during the early stages.
- Do Not Steal The Blinds! Stealing the blinds is not worth the risk while they are small, stay patient and develop a tight image that will be useful in the later parts of the tournament instead.
- Play Suited Connectors And Suited Aces: These hands have excellent ‘implied odds’ potential in un-raised pots. When you limp in and then hit a monster on the flop you can win a huge pot. Hellmuth advises not to play these hands in raised pots – it is just too expensive to be profitable.
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Phil Hellmuth Poker Tournament Strategy – The Middle Stages
- Stealing Blinds: When the antes begin there is a better mathematical argument for stealing the blinds from late position. The amount you win with the addition of the antes means that your risk / reward ratio is better.
- Setting Traps: With aggressive players at the table folding a few hands to their aggressive bets and raises can often be a good ploy. This will enable you to take all of their chips when you have a monster hand – giving up a few small pots becoming worth the cost when you get an opponent to bluff off all their chips to try and ‘push you off a hand’.
- Small Stack Strategy: This involves taking chances to steal the blinds or attempt to double up. Pushing above average (but not monster) hands when folded to in late position. The idea here is to try and regain a viable stack – or to bust!
- Large Stack Strategy: Hellmuth preaches the converse of small stack strategy here, playing patiently and waiting for profitable situations to come up. Protecting your stack should be key – but if the table is particularly passive raising to take pots is a definite option.
Phil Hellmuth Poker Tournament Strategy – The Late Stages + Bubble
- Raise! When the bubble is approaching many opponents will become super-tight looking to fold into the money paying places. Raising will take the blinds and antes so often at this stage that it is worth the risk.
- Tired Players And Reads: When opponents become fatigued they are much easier to read, ensure that you watch for these tells closely, especially when a tired player starts coming ‘over the top’ with big raises without solid holdings.
- Final Table Bubble: Be aware that there is a second ‘bubble’ just before the final table of a tournament. Here players will tighten up once again to try and make the last 9 or 10 – use this as an opportunity to steal blinds and antes!
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Phil Hellmuth Poker Tournament Strategy – The Final Table
- Do The Opposite Of Opponents: If your final table opponents are sitting back patiently waiting to move up the money then get aggressive to steal blinds and antes. If they are actively trying to double up to reach the final 3 places then sit back and wait for a strong hand to pick them off!
- Make A Decision: With a short stack at the final table you will need to make a decision fast. Do you go for it and try to win chips to give yourself a viable chance of reaching the top 3 – or remain patient and try to move up a couple of places? Which way you choose will depend on the payout structure, the tendencies of opponents and their stack sizes.
- Short-Handed Play: When down to 3 and then 2 players reads become very important, keeping an eye on the raising and calling ranges of opponents throughout the final table will give you valuable information on this. Remember to adjust your own hand requirements significantly downwards for the short handed situation.
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