When playing tournament poker you need to be aware that there are different factors to consider when playing heads-up pots as opposed to multi-way pots. One of the earliest rookie mistakes that you will see in home games is for players to limp into the pot with pocket aces. The rookie is trying to create the element of surprise without understanding that his odds of winning the pot decrease as each additional person joins the fray (follow the link for more information).
When you are playing tournament poker, especially early on, you need to raise your awareness when playing in multi-way pots especially when it comes to making the continuation bet. A great way of thinking about multi-way pots is you either have a strong advantage or you don’t. So when playing out of position with a top pair hand, you may decide to adopt the delayed c-bet approach. This option not only controls the size of the pot but you are rarely going to get three streets of value from out of position anyway. But when heads-up your bets are going to get called far more.
When you take a big lead, on the flop, you still need to be betting on most single ace high and king high boards because you will be bluffing these a high percentage of the time. Just pay attention to the types of players involved in the hand. If you have a loose player in the big blind, for example, then you don’t have to worry as much about him holding a high card or ace.
Just expect your opponents to play very straightforward poker in multi-way pots. If you start to feel resistance then take it for what it is. Believe them and wait for a better spot.
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