Money Line Texas Holdem Tournament Strategy

For late game Texas Holdem poker strategy, an understanding of the money line in tournaments is needed. This is the point where all of the players remaining in the tournament will make a profit and all those that are eliminated before the line is passed will be left with nothing. Also known as the bubble, the money line is one of the best situations for picking up chips, building a stack, and making a run to try and win a tournament. Many players will become extremely tight during this stage of the game, afraid that they will bust out without making the money.

Because playing styles change considerably at this crucial point in the tournament, a player that is more interested in winning rather than simply making the money, will have many great opportunities to put their opponents to the test. The payouts for poker tournaments are usually quite top heavy. This means that the majority of the money goes to the players that finish in the top few spots. While a 1000 person tournament may pay 10%, or 100 players, the real prizes are reserved for the players that finish in the top 3 or 4 spots.

The single best tip for taking advantage of tight players nearing the money bubble is to be aware of the stack sizes that opponents hold and identify which of the smaller stacks are playing tighter trying to take the money. When these types of players are in the big blind or limp in, making a raise is a very profitable play. They will be less willing to commit a larger percentage of their stack on a marginal hand and risk finishing out of the money. As the money line gets closer and closer, a player will need to be raising more often and forcing the tight players to fold or risk their tournament life.

In terms of bet sizing, a large raise is really not needed to achieve the goal of taking down uncontested pots. In general, if the player is opening the pot, then a raise of two times the size of the big blind will work well and limit risk at the same time. If a tight limper has entered the pot, then the raise will need to be bigger to put more pressure on the limping opponent. A raise of between three and four times the size of the big blind is usually enough to get the job done. Understanding the right situations to exploit weak players that are simply trying to make the money will take experience. However, when this skill is mastered, it will set a player up for the best chance of taking one of the top spots and coming home with the lion's share of the money.

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