In tournament poker it’s important to know when it’s time to make a move. There’s a temptation, whether you are playing live or if you prefer to play poker online, to sit and wait for good hands when you’re playing in a tournament, but that can lead to an ever decreasing stack which will leave you with virtually no chance of winning.
Indeed, any time you let your stack fall below a certain level you’re asking for lady luck to scoop you up in her arms and help you out. Relying on luck is obviously a recipe for disaster in poker because the majority of the time things won’t go your way.
So when should you take the initiative and not put yourself at the mercy of fate? In tournament poker the accepted time to start worrying about your stack size is when it starts to near the 10bb mark. Indeed, when you have 10bb this is the last point in which you have any real fold equity. In basic terms this means that if you have a stack with fewer than 10bbs you can’t put enough pressure on your opponent to make them fold.
Thus, whenever you’re in a tournament your aim should be to never reach the sacred 10bb mark. To stop this from happening you should be looking to re-raise all-in whenever your stack is between 15-25bbs. Thus, when an opponent makes a pre-flop raise you should be willing to go over the top of them when your stack is within this range. Doing this will allow you to gradually regain some chips and avoid the dreaded danger zone.
If, however, you can’t stop yourself from falling close to the 10bb mark then your plan should be to move all-in at any opportunity. If a player raises before you then only move in with hands you don’t mind being called with. In contrast, if the action folds to you then move all-in with a wide range of hands. As long as you have over 10bb you should have enough chips to make most players fold.
In tournament poker you need to watch your stack carefully and move when the time is right. Get it wrong and you’ll lose any momentum you might have had and need luck to give you a helping hand.