So many sit and go poker “teachers” have always said to be really tight during the first. I remember even once reading one of Roy Rounder’s recommendations that you should only be playing AA, KK or QQ for the first stages of the game and when you get those hands as hole cards be very, very aggressive – even all in!
Can I tell you something right now? That is utter nonsense Malaysia esports. Everybody is on to that lame strategy that never really worked in the first place, and is even more lame now than it was 2 years ago, when I remember reading it. The simple truth is that everyone either plays that strategy or recognizes the schmuck who is using it. How can you get ahead that way? There is no winning, when playing open book poker. The best you can hope for are mediocre gains swallowed up by long losing streaks waiting for quality cards.
The other side of that debate is to play aggressive in the early going. If you have seen my sit and go training videos you surely know that isn’t what I recommend either, as it will usually result in you being an honored member of the rail in short order. So how do you balance this out so that you actually win more than you lose?
The answer is simply this. You need to see more flops in the early going for as cheap as possible, so as not to risk your tournament if the flop misses you. This strategy involves several dynamics as well which you need to absolutely master.
Playing your position. This is about the most important aspect of your game while learning, that will rapidly improve your results once you understand it. Getting in cheap usually means limping in the cut-off, button, and small blind positions, while calling a minimum raise in the big blind. You do this with hands that have potential for big pots. AX suited, KX suited, connectors, single gapped suited connectors, and any pair will qualify here.
Knowing your opponents. I keep harping here about qualifying your opponent’s style using holdem indicator, but this will win you pots without cards when the time is needed.
Playing after the flop. This also involves knowing your opponents but you need to understand flop texture and betting strategies at this stage, otherwise you may get pushed out of a lot pots where you were the clear favorite.
Pot Odds and Draws. The combined knowledge of this math will really help your decision making skills as to continue in a hand or not. Keep in mind that when drawing in the early stages, that flop had better hit you real good, and the pot odds should be absolutely juicy.
The Power to Lay Down a Hand. If you are getting into these pots and find that you are consistently asking yourself how you can continue in the hand facing yet another bet, then you are actually better off playing that lame book tight strategy. This takes a certain internal strength that comes from your character set, as opposed to pure poker skills.
In closing, see as many flops as you can while keeping your stack exposure to the minimum.