Before we get into hand odds let’s talk about a general rule of thumb for situations when you can’t get an edge on your opponents. You should almost always raise when at a disadvantage. Even when you think you are ahead, and an opponent is likely to fold, you should raise. This is because most low risk plays increase your odds of winning the pot.
When you are behind and can’t catch up, you need to throw out a good sized raise that will take down the blinds and maybe some other pots to get you back on your feet. There should be no question of whether you have the better hand or not. You need to force out your opponent before you go to a showdown. A rising blind should rarely be an option in these situations unless you have a very strong hand.
When you are ahead and playing your hand in the sense of having better odds than your opponents, you should carefully choose how to play the blinds. Choosing to play them aggressively when you have a strong hand is one of the best ways to win chips at this type of poker tournament. You need to make your decisions while you are playing strong hands, because you may be throwing away chips in different situations later on.
Once you learn the hand ranking of Holdem, you need to understand the rising blind. As your stack (the total amount of chips you are in the game) rises in the middle rounds of the tournament, the blinds need to be taken out of the picture. The point of the tournament is not to build a huge stack and start fighting the other players. The point is to stay in the tournament until you have a large stack.
The rising blind is a situation where a player can call the blind and still pick up some extra chips on the flop. If I was to take out the blinds and the ante’s once a player has built up his stack to say around 20-30 times the starting stack, then I think there would be too many situations where a player would get into a hand with some kind of real hand where he would just pick up some extra chips because of the rising blind.
When you take out the blinds, you aren’t giving anything to your opponents. You’re giving yourself a better opportunity to finish in the money and change your game for the better because you’re not playing against them while you wait for them to bust out. You’re also not giving yourself a chance to get into a grinder’s heads. If you’re winning with great hands and you’re out, that means you’re going to steal blinds once in a while. Guys who are smart enough to stick around a while will also start taking your paycheck, so it’s in their best interests to bust early and get out while you can.
If you absolutely must play in a rising blind, only do so if you have a big stack. With hands like pocket sevens and 55, you can buy your way out after the second or third deal. With hands like AQ, you may have to push. While you’re at it, push aces when you’re short stacked, and pass with low to middle pairs when everyone’s scared and listing their scared hands.
Don’t be afraid to do the raise from the button or the cutoff if people are solid in there opener. Once you’re in the blind, if no one raises in front of you, push them all in. Watch out for the three penny raise, it usually means a fairly strong hand. A lot of hands won’t feel comfortable with half a penny bet, and you’ll be able to get away from it easily.
Showing great hands will get you so far in MPO500 tournaments. When you’re trying to build your stack, showing great hands means getting paid even more for playing less than optimal poker. You want to be known as a tight, solid poker player. When possible, try to win your blinds by shoving people to the wall. You don’t want everybody to be scared of your reach, and you should be.