When it comes to tournament poker, most players use the same style regardless of stack size throughout the event.
The truth is, the way you’re supposed to play when you’re deep (for example, in early stages of a tournament) is different than the way you’re supposed to play when you’re shallow (in later stages of the tournament). Here are some tips to guide you!
• When deep, your priority should be placed on making hands that can make the nuts rather than focusing on high-equity hands. That being said, shoot for hands that can make sets, straights and flushes.
• Position is more important when the blinds are smaller than later on in the tournament. Indeed, three-bet and four-bet pots are played with deeper stacks. When shallow, all-ins will happen often on flops, which makes position irrelevant.
• Also when shallow, more focus should be placed on high-equity hands and less focus on hands that can make the nuts. Indeed, baby pairs, suited connectors and gappers are often unplayable in this situation.
• Do not focus on “stealing the blinds” as it’s not worth the risk in early stages of the tournament. But as the tournament gets shallower, stealing blinds is partially how players build stacks.
• When stacks get shallow, value-betting medium hands is more effective.
• Flipping is less relevant when deep since the value of your double-up is not worth your potential bustout.
• Identifying players who open too wide in late position or too big is profitable when shallow as you usually have a good reshove stack and can use that to accumulate chips.
• Three-betting a button open out of the blinds when shallow is more profitable than doing it in early stages. Indeed, your opponent can profitably call hands that play well when deep and in position.
Keep these tips at the forefront of your thinking during any tournament.
— Natasha is a pro who lives in Tampa, Fla.. You can follow her on Twitter @natashabarbour.