Top 10 preflop moves from Mitchell Cogert’s Tournament Poker: 101 Winning Moves

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Mark | Poker Articles, Poker Strategy, Poker Top 10 Lists, Poker Tournament

In this series of top 10 lists I have selected top moves from Mitchell Cogert’s “Tournament Poker: 101 Winning Moves”. I believe these moves have the largest probability of improving your chances of winning low to medium stakes online poker tournaments.

Top 10 lists in this series:

Top 10 preflop moves

Top 10 flop moves

Top 10 turn and river moves

Mitchell Cogert is the author of “Tournament Poker: 101 Winning Moves.” It is the only reference book to reveal the plays the Pros use to win a poker tournament. These plays are based on reviewing 20 years worth of tournament poker strategies and by actual play against Daniel Negreanu, Erick Lindgren, David Pham and other top pros. The book is available on Amazon and rated 5 out of 5 stars by customers. Find out more about Mitchell Cogert by visiting Tournament Poker or his website APokerExpert.

Top 10 preflop moves

The following preflop moves are intended to either set you up to win all your opponent’s chips, win blinds and limps uncontested or make sure you don’t bleed out your stack to the ever increasing blinds.

  • Early in the event limp with pocket Aces

When you are dealt pocket Aces early in an event you don’t want to settle with merely picking up the blinds. Limping with pocket Aces is risky business but could win you a larger pot compared to the standard play of raising with Aces. You want to be up against a maximum of 3 opponents when you limp with pocket Aces. In addition, the flop should optimally contain only one card in the playing zone (any card from 9s to Aces). If you limp with pocket Aces, get two additional callers and the flop is K (h) 8 (c) 2(d) that’s a great situation for you if one of your opponents has hit a pair of Kings. However, if you instead get 7 callers and the flop is K (h) J (h) 3 (c) you should have the discipline to fold your Aces since you will have almost no chance of winning the hand.

  • The under-the-gun steal raise

Use this move later in tournaments to pick up the blinds uncontested. You don’t need a playable hand to make this move; you will be taking advantage of your position at the table since a 2 or 3xBB raise under-the-gun represents a strong hand. The move has a higher chance of succeeding if your overall table image is tight.

  • The position power raise

The position power raise is intended to win both the blinds and the additional money in the pot from previous limpers. It works best during the middle or later stages of low stakes online multi-table tournaments where a raise represents a significant amount of your opponent’s stacks. If your hand is good enough to limp with, then it is also good enough to raise strongly to 4xBB with the goal of making the other players fold. If a player calls your hand can still improve on the flop. Make sure the opponents you want to fold have stack sizes comparable to yours. If they are low stacked they might push all in to your raise and if they are big stacked they are more likely to call you.

  • The leave something behind re-raise

In the middle to late stages of an online tournament you need to seize every opportunity you can to accumulate chips. Say you hold a medium hand in the big blind such as A8 suited and an opponent in the cut off position with a medium stack size similar to yours raises 3xBB. Your opponent could be using his position to steal the blinds so this might be a good spot to re-raise him to get him to fold. But what is the optimal re-raise amount? If you re-raise your opponent all in, you put maximum pressure on him, but the all in re-raise is often perceived as a move and might lead your opponent to call. However if you re-raise your opponent with two thirds or more of your stack, this signals you have a premium hand. By leaving something behind you are telling your opponent that you are prepared to go all the way with your hand.

  • Be aggressive near the bubble

You did not enter the tournament to finish in the money. You entered the tournament to win it! Keeping this in mind is especially important near the bubble. Most of your opponents will tighten up near the bubble looking to secure that prize money finish to justify the time and investment they have made in the tournament. Don’t be like your opponents. Take advantage of their tight play by stepping up your aggression level and loosening up your starting hand requirements. Bubble play is a great phase in a tournament to accumulate chips and increase your chances of making the final table.

  • Move all in preflop as the first raiser when your stack is less than 9xBB

If your chip stack has declined to less than 9xBB your only remaining play is all in. When you pick your spot to go all in, it is more important that you are the first preflop raiser than what starting hand you have. Being the first preflop raiser you have a good chance of picking up the blinds and antes uncontested. Look to go all in as the first preflop raiser with any pocket pair, any Ace, any two face cards, any suited connectors and medium hands such as K10, Q10, J9 etc..

  • Move all in with your good hands when you have 8 times or less than the initial raisers bet

You need to take risks to win an online multi table tournament. Obviously it is best to take risks when you have a good hand such as medium or high pocket pairs or face cards such as AJ suited or higher. When facing a preflop raise, look to double your stack or win a big pot uncontested by moving all in with your good hands when your chip stack is less than 8 times as big as the initial preflop raise.

  • Moving all in when you are the BB and there are multiple callers

Consider moving all in to win a big pot during the middle or late stages of a tournament if you have a playable hand in the BB in a pot with many limpers. Often you will succeed and win the pot uncontested. Sometimes however, players will limp with high pocket pairs just waiting for a player to make a move like yours. In this case you will have to pray to the poker gods that you get lucky. Keep in mind that the stack sizes of your limping opponents should be comparable to your medium stack. If one of the limpers is either short or big stacked, the probability of winning the pot uncontested drops significantly.

  • The stop and go

I like this move a lot. If you find yourself short stacked during the middle or late stages of a tournament and pick up a hand which you are prepared to go all the way with, consider using the stop and go move to increase your chances of winning the hand. The stop and go is an alternative to pushing all in preflop with your good hands when facing a preflop raiser. Simply call the initial raisers raise and push all in on the flop no matter what. 68% of times your opponent will have missed his hand on the flop and you have just presented him with a good reason to fold. If you had pushed all in preflop, the initial raiser would have most likely called leaving the outcome of the hand in the hands of the poker gods. With the stop and go move you still have some influence on the outcome of the hand.

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3 Comments to Top 10 preflop moves from Mitchell Cogert’s Tournament Poker: 101 Winning Moves

Credit Card Debt Detroit
September 14, 2009

Thanks I recently started with online poker and tricks like that help out a lot :)

September 22, 2009

In my opinion it’s always better to raise with pocket aces, or at least call a raise, to define what you’re up against. Limping with them has cost me so much money in the past when the big blind hit two pair with their 9, 4 off suit or whatever they had. I live by the old poker saying. It’s better to win a small pot than loose a big one.

September 23, 2009

Raising is the safe low risk option which is probably well suited for cash games. Sometimes however I believe it can be a good move in tournaments.
.-= Mark´s last blog ..Forum freeroll league hosted by and the Poker Bankroll Blog =-.

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