Jonathan Little Shares His Top 10 Tournament Tips

After writing numerous books and teaching thousands of poker players over the last decade or so, one of the questions I get asked most often is, “What are your best tips for poker tournaments?”

While it’s incredibly hard to pick just 10 tips, here are my current top 10 tournament tips:

Tournament Tip #1

Always put your opponent on a RANGE OF HANDS rather than a specific hand.

Tournament Tip #2

You MUST get well out of your comfort zone and blatantly exploit your opponents’ weaknesses if you want to become a big winner.

Tournament Tip #3

When the effective stack is greater than 40 BBs, try to play lots of pots in position, especially when you think you can get heads-up against opponents who play poorly post-flop.

Tournament Tip #4

Value bet when you think you have the best hand most of the time AND you think your opponent will call with most of his range.

Tournament Tip #5

Be less inclined to value bet when losing will leave you with a significantly less profitable stack.

Tournament Tip #6

Against players who play too many hands too passively:

• Value bet them relentlessly.
• Fold to them when they apply significant pressure.
• Bluff them on later streets when they have a marginal hand AND you think they will fold.

Tournament Tip #7

Against players who play too many hands too aggressively:

• Realize they often have marginal hands even when they apply pressure.
• They will usually fold if you apply aggression.
• If you induce them to bluff, do not fold decently strong holdings.
• Bluff them on scary boards.

Tournament Tip #8

Against players who play too few hands too passively:

• Relentlessly steal their blinds.
• Fold to their aggression.

Tournament Tip #9

Against players who play too few hands too aggressively:

• They are usually not capable of folding hands they perceive as strong.
• Play hands with huge implied odds.
• Do not stack off with hands worse than top pair, top kicker.
• Relentlessly steal their blinds.

Tournament Tip #10

Against players who play well:

• If your opponent thinks you’re tight, bluff a lot.
• If your opponent thinks you’re wild, play tightly.
• Apply aggression in intelligent spots.
• Fold when it is clear they want to put money in the pot.
• It is usually smart to avoid them and focus on the weak players.

If you enjoyed these tips, I actually put together a two-page poker tournament cheat sheet which contains:

• 43 of my best tournament tips
• 6 things you should focus on BEFORE a tournament
• 11 things you should focus on DURING a tournament
• 6 things you should focus on AFTER a tournament

While my cheat sheet is no substitute for working on your game away from the table, it’s a great tool to review before you play a tournament or during every break.


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