How to Win Poker Tournaments – Middle Rounds

Congratulations on making it this far. If you’ve made it to the mid blind level, you’ve already shown that you can handle proper hand selection and disciplined play. Your hand selection strategy in mid blind play is similar to low blind play, but now it’s time for you to ramp up the aggression.

Strategy Overview
For the most part we’re still playing tight poker. In fact, the value of speculative hands goes down considerably. You can no longer limp from mid position because your chances of getting raised are much greater because the pot will get bigger faster. In addition, limping will take a much more substantial amount of your stack. It’s better to save those chips for your better hands.

While you won’t be limping as much, you’ll be stealing more often. If you have stayed at the same table for a long while and have built a tight table image, steal attempts can be very successful. Let’s say, for example, that you get QJ suited in late position and no one has entered the pot. Your hand is marginal, but it’s still worth a raise to try to steal the blinds. Even if you’re called you’ll have a decent chance of connecting with a good flop and making a strong hand.

What Hands To Play
Of course AA, KK, QQ and AK are still in play. Raise these cards from any position.

Pocket tens and Jacks are also solid hands that you can raise. I’d be more likely to raise these in mid to late position when there isn’t a lot of action since these hands can get you into a fair amount of trouble.

Low pocket pairs, however, fall down to the rank of late position stealing hands. It costs too much to limp with them and there’s a good chance that the pot will be raised now that the blinds are high.

High suited connectors like KQ or QJ and even suited gappers like KJ make good late position stealing hands too, but mid suited connectors should be tossed into the muck.

How To Play Post Flop
You’re going to be a little more aggressive post flop at the mid blind level. There’s a good deal of chips in the pot now and they’re worth fighting for. Here’s how you should play post flop.

Dream Flops
When you connect solidly with the flop, bet whatever you think an opponent will call. I tend to scale my bets in the ½ to 2/3 pot range and I bet the same whether I hit or miss. You should, however, tend to bet more if there is a possible straight or flush draw on the board. You need to make sure your opponent doesn’t have good odds to draw.

Powerful Draws
It’s time to bet these like they’re a made hand. Your opponent will be forced to fold if they don’t have a strong hand. Even if they do call you, you could hit a good card and end up winning your opponent’s entire stack. If your opponent raises, however, you’ll be in a tough spot. Figure out the pot odds and implied odds and let that be your guide.

Hands Where You Raised Preflop And Missed
If you make a preflop raise and miss the flop, I’ll put in a continuation bet almost 100% of the time if the action is checked to me. You’ve already shown strength. If you continue to show strength, only a solid hand will be able to call.

When You Flop A Marginal Hand
I’d bet a weak top pair, but let second pair go unless I was only up against one opponent. This is a tough situation – the kind I said you want to avoid. But if you find yourself in this position, tend to be more aggressive if you have only one or two opponents and less aggressive if you have several opponents. You can only win a small pot or lose a large pot when you have a marginal hand. Don’t play big pots with them.

When you get to the mid blind range you need to get more aggressive. Just remember that playing aggressive poker doesn’t mean playing a lot of trash hands. It means playing fewer hands stronger. Let the speculative hands go and play your premium hands strong. The only exception to that rule is to steal when you find yourself in late position in an uncontested pot with a high quality speculative hand. Play well and you’ll find yourself in the high blind phase of the tournament.