This stage of a tournament is one of the more debated about stages in terms of how to play it. I tend to think that the style of play here is fairly obviously, but there are many proponents who support alternate styles. That being said, this section may take your game to the next level if implemented correctly. In the early portion of the tournament, you’ve doubled your chip stack through patience and value based play. Now, with a slight chip advantage on the average stack, you will parlay your hard earned chips into a big stack come time for the bubble.

Let me start by explaining why exactly antes change the name of the game. Let’s say we have entered a level where the blinds are 200/400 with an ante of 50. Now, instead of there just being the 600 in the pot before any action, we now have 1050(9-handed table). We’ve juiced the pre-action pot a significant amount, to the tune of 75% in this situation, and approximately 60-80% in most cases. This should not and cannot be ignored. While most people view antes as just another obligation of the stage, you should view it as free money being presented to whoever chooses to take it. People are putting antes in the middle; they didn’t enter the tournament to get out of the rain. They’re sitting there waiting to give you their money, the question is, are you going to take it? Are you man enough to take it? Sorry, had to get my Alec Baldwin on for a minute, but seriously this is value put into the middle you need to absorb. Whoever eats that extra portion of the pot is who sits atop the leader board come crunch time.

Now, let’s discuss how you can be the one loosening your belt after a big meal of antes. With the extra money in the middle, people are realizing they must commit more to the pot in order to win it, and in most cases this causes them to hit the brakes and wait for big hands, what they should have been doing before antes came in. You see, people view the ante obligation as a virus eating away at their stacks and subconsciously causes them to tighten up in order to maintain their chip level. This is a poor perspective to take; as a matter of fact it is the art of losing poker tournaments. So, what do we do when the table tightens up? We apply more pressure. We are now opening up our range of hands that we play to a larger variety. You don’t want to get silly with K8os, but you don’t want to be limping or folding with almost anything in late position. The order of action at a 9-handed table goes: UTG (under the gun or first to act), UTG+1, UTG+2, UTG+3, Hijack seat, Cutoff seat, Button, SB, BB. Because of the magnified pot size before action, we no longer want to be limping in as often and especially not with speculative hands in early position (any of the spots UTG through UTG + 3). Furthermore, when you’re sitting hijack to button you should be raising or folding. Remember, we want to be applying as much pressure on the blinds as possible. A simple rule to follow is, if it’s folded to you and you sit anywhere from hijack to button, with a playable hand, you raise 3x. We don’t want to be raising more than that because we want to control the size of the pot we play as the board comes out. The larger the continuation bet on the flop, the bigger the commitment on the turn, and so forth. We want to be risking as little as possible to pick up the increased pre-action pot. When you raise from one of these seats, you should be picking up the pot with no resistance a nice percentage of the time, but when you’re called by someone behind you, proceed cautiously. You don’t want to get mixed up in a big hand with marginal holdings out of position. In most cases where you are called, it will be from one of the blinds who come in at a discount, but the cost of this discount is being out of position, meaning you’re in position, and control of the pot. When you raise to steal pre-flop and a blind calls you, no matter the flop, if he checks it off to you, fire a continuation bet 100% of the time. This should be anywhere from 30% to 50% of the pot. The point of this bet is to look like you hit and want to drag them along. If you bet more, you’re more likely to be called by someone who thinks you’ve missed. Please note that I mentioned earlier we are implementing this strategy when it folds to us. If someone enters the pot before you, the raising requirements increase, so that the value of your hand should be greater than that of the limper. If you want to get a little advanced, you can still raise with speculative hands and try to outplay the limper using your position. If two people enter before you, fold unless you have a big hand. At BandarQ Online site, the participation in the tournaments and leagues will be great. The preparation of the right approach should be done to increase the winning chances. The use of the hands will be done in the best and effective way. 

The name of the game isn’t winning the biggest pots; it’s winning the most pots with the least resistance. This is because the antes sweeten the pot enough so that you don’t need to be in a big hand with a showdown to gain momentum and chips. Remember, the less hands you show down, the less people learn about your style. You also want to keep track of how often you’re raising and continuation betting, because if it becomes obvious you’re playing this style, people will eventually fight back, it’s all about balance and table image. The frequency of your actions should be balanced within the parameters of use I’ve laid out above. You want people to fear your bets because they don’t know what you hold. Once you start showing down hands, you lose your mystique and the image of a dangerous and unpredictable player. The most important thing, if you do have to show down a hand, is that it’s very strong, instilling even more fear into the hearts of your tablemates.