Having a big stack can be scary for your opponents and will give you leverage, as most will be too scared to raise or attempt to steal your blind. You can easily afford to take gambles that other players run from because it might lead to them losing their entire stack. Playing in a tournament requires a lot of planning, so make sure you have a genuinely good hand before you raise. This is extremely important if you hope to sustain your stack and survive until the final table of the tournament, and be in a good position when you get there.
Big Stack Strategies
Increase Your Bet Sizes
This is an absolute winner. Increasing your pre-flop bet size will send a clear message to your opponents not to get in a pot with you, as they might pay dearly for it. If you operate at 2.5-3x the BB, it’s time to bump it up to 4-5x the BB. This will better benefit you when you are in a late position. Players will get scared and tighten up their play because they will anticipate a re-raise from you. As a result, you will be allowed to steal blinds with pre-flop aggression.
Pressure! Pressure!! Pressure!!!
As a big stacker, you should always keep up the pressure on other players. As the bubble draws near, increasing the pressure will work well in scaring off opponents. The mentality of being very close to the money will make them tighten up their game and be a tad more cautious. However, if you notice someone trying to take you on, dial back on the bullying and play strategically. It is an indication that they likely have a great hand, and thus, you should proceed carefully.
Strategically, there are a lot of options for the big stacker in an MTT. However, you should never disregard the need to continue to make smart decisions at the tables. Carefully use positions and pressure to build your stack size. Do not engage in unnecessary battles at the table. If a short stacker is contesting vigorously, take some time to strategize and play accordingly.
Watch Out for Other Big Stacks
A lot of “experienced” poker players believe that avoiding other big stacks at the tournament table is the way to go. This, however, is a wrong step to take. Other big stacks will play a major role in increasing your stack throughout the tournament. All that is required of you is to play strategically and not seek to bully your way through. Understandably, other big stacks can cause damage to your stack but in the same vein, will provide a great source of chip accumulation for you. Play your normal game, do not bluff or re-raise pre-flop if you do not have a monster hand.
The good thing about playing in an MTT is that you will have enough time to develop a reputation at the tables. Show that you built your stack through skill and not just by aggressive play. This will make your opponents feel intimidated as every move you make – even when bullying – will be perceived as strategic. Increasing your stack will be so much easier at that point.