Early in tournaments, it’s almost like a cash game in the sense that we’re sitting with well over 100 blinds. This changes our general behavior, as well as our opponents’ behavior. A couple of tips:
Try and see as many cheap flops as possible. Early in the tournament, we’re able to take on a very small amount of risk and possibly be rewarded greatly. If it costs 100 chips to see a flop and we’re sitting with a 10,000 chip stack, the call costs us 1% of our stack. We could also say we’re getting 100 to 1 implied odds on the call.
Playing passively has a bad reputation, but playing passively early in tournaments can often pay incredible dividends. Early in a tournament we’re able to over-limp after others have limped – allowing us to see the flop as cheap as possible. Worth noting: there will often be multiple players in the hand early on in the tournament, so you’ll want to be that much more careful post-flop not to pay people off. Afterall, we’re going into the flop getting 100 to 1 for them to pay us off, not for us to pay off other players.
On the aggressive end of things, we should be looking to play “any playable hand, from any position.” Meaning, if we have Jack-Nine suited under the gun…with 100+ blinds it’s going to be a raise. Just like raising Four-Five suited in middle position and so on and so on. Ultimately, if we’re a competent player, the more hands we can enter early on in a tournament, the greater our chances of accumulating chips and building a big stack.