Anyone can win the tournaments that have less than twenty players in them, but what happens when you inflate that number to 100? How about 500? The World Series of Poker Main Event brings over 6,000 people yearly (post-2003) and yields some fierce competition. It takes a lot to go deep in a tournament of that size and you must have the tools readily available to do so.
You cannot win a tournament of this size without pulling off at least a few bluffs or semi-bluffs along the way. Although luck is part of the game, it takes a lot more to win at poker. Winning players are able to take stabs at the pot to build his or her own stack. You must be able to take pots off of the opposition throughout the tournament to build your ammo for the later rounds.
Antes are a forced bet required by all players preflop at a designated point in the tournament. Antes should influence your betting and/or raising sizes. If the blinds are $300-$600 with an ante of $50 on a 9-person ring, the pot will include 300 (small blind) + 600 (big blind) + 450 (antes)= $1350 preflop. Now, if you raise three times the blind, it will only require an additional $1200 from the big blind to win a possible $3150. This gives the big blind decent odds to call and also any limpers that attempted seeing a cheap flop. You should always increase your raise amount when antes are in play.
During the middle stages of a tournament, if you have been playing tight/passive for a long period, you will find it easier to change gears and play aggressively. Many players will fold to a tight player’s aggressive stand. For example, at the World Series in Tunica, MS, Gary was able to push a guy off of pocket aces in a four-way pot with this play. The pot was raised preflop. Gary had not played a hand at this table and had been there for over an hour. He called the raise preflop with AK and saw a king high flop. The preflop aggressor raised again and got two callers along with Gary. The turn was a 7. Gary moved all in to eliminate the draws and take the aggressor heads up. Due to his image, all three players folded and Gary took a large pot. Gary could have turned two pair, but the most likely hand would be a set of 7’s. What’s the point? Image, in poker, is everything.
I hope this information helps in some way and helps you win some money along the way. My next venture will be the World Series of Poker Circuit Event #6 in southern Indiana. I will be offering updates and thoughts along the way. I hope to see you on the felt. Run good!