I am talking about tournaments(MTT) with about 30-40 players.What should be the strategy:

  1. Go loose: Force other players to either go all in or fold, if you have slightly good cards
  2. Go tight: Let other player play amongst themselves and then defeat the last few players
  3. Play as you were: It is slightly difficult to maintain once I am chip leader

I have tried all 3 but still can't determine the best amongst them, which is the best strategy?

I believe that amount with which you are leading will matter. I think there must be two subdivisions to this question. One would be when you are only twice or thrice ahead, and other when you have even more.


3 Answers 3


Like many answers in poker, it depends. If the table you are at is wild and crazy, you can tighten up, back off and let them all duke it out. Don't sit back too long though or the luckiest of the crazies will soon be the chip leader. If the table is playing tight at this point, steal more blinds than normal. But perhaps one good strategy is, don't get into it with anyone that has more than half of your chip count, unless you're pretty sure you're going to win it. (Only applies to no-limit.)


You are not trying to get them all in pre-flop unless they are very short stacked. They will just just fold marginal hands and only call you with premium. The power of the big stack is more fold equity as post flop you can easily put them all in. In a spot where you might only call you should raise. You don't need to over bet - a decent raise is scary to them.

If they go all in with less than 20 BB you can call it off with AQ KQ AJ as they are going to have a wide range. Another short stack might not take the risk. They could easily have pair under JJ and you are 50% 50% which is something you don't want to do in a tournament but if you are putting less than 10% of your chips at risk it is worth taking out a player. And I do mean call it off. Let another player call and even if they win it is worth 10% to get a player out.


I would say you can play a bit looser but not too loose.

Its so annoying when you are playing in a tourney and the chipleader/bigstack keeps doubling people up by calling all ins with any two cards.

Use position to your advantage and bully people where you can, but do it sensibly.

Dont take unnecessary flips. Just because you have AKs doesnt mean you should call an all in pre flop for 1/4 your stack.

  • 1
    But it's not annoying when the chip leader doubles you up too!
    – TTT
    Mar 21, 2013 at 16:23
  • 1
    This is very true, but it is annoying when you cannot play a hand because they raise constantly and then you get AA or something and they call with 2 7 suited and hit the flush or the full house ;)
    – Gaz Winter
    Mar 21, 2013 at 20:07
  • 1
    Sure, it is annoying, but I would welcome this behavior. If I have AA then I look forward to someone with more chips than I have to be calling my pre-flop raise. Assumming they don't flop the made hand, I'll push them all in on the flop to punish them for their original pre-flop call. If they flop some kind of draw and decide to chance it and still call- well then most of the time you just doubled up, which is what your goal is. And if you can get them to call your all in preflop- even better!
    – TTT
    Mar 22, 2013 at 14:38
  • Why is the big stack calling with AK so bad? Do you really think the short stacks are only pushing with AA or KK? I'd call and all in for 1/4 of my stack with AK every time.
    – Peregrine
    Mar 22, 2013 at 16:40
  • All I am saying is that you dont need to be taking these unecessary flips. Its all player dependant. If someone is less than 10bb then sure call with AK since they have such a wide range. Whereas if you have been on the same table as the guy for an hour and its the first time he's played aggressively then the chances are he already has a hand thats beating yours.
    – Gaz Winter
    Apr 5, 2013 at 14:08

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.