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Saturday, February 21, 2009

Annette Obrestad's Top Tournament Poker Tips

Annette Obrestad made history when she won £1m at the 2007 WSOPE Main Event aged just 19. Incredibly she nearly won back-to-back majors but just missed out on the EPT Dublin title a month later, finishing second for another $ 429,181. However, she cut her teeth playing thousands of MTTs online, where she learnt the secrets to going deep and cashing big. Now she spills the beans...

1 'Try and build a stack early otherwise you're going to find yourself having to shove all-in to survive, and you don't want to do that. It's definitely worth taking some risks to achieve this. You might have to shove all-in as a bluff sometimes or risk chips, but it's the best way to ensure a deep run. Don't be afraid of going out early.'

2 'The more hands you play early on the more reads you'll be able to get, and attacking limpers in position is a good way to get chips. I think the earlier into the tournament that you start doing this the better!'

3 'I'll never limp in if I'm first to enter a pot, but I'll open pretty much any suited connector, any pair, or any two broadway cards. When blinds are low it's only costing 60 chips or so. If someone calls then you can make a continuation bet on the flop. Often this will get opponents to fold, but if not, you're not going to be putting a lot of money in the pot unless you hit something big.'

4 'At the beginning of tournaments, opening to three times the big blind is standard. But as the tournament progresses there's a trend now to open for 2.5 times the big blind or less. But when should you change? It depends on your stack and the average stack. If I have more than 40 big blinds and the average is more than 40 big blinds, I'll open for 3x, but if it's less I'll make it 2.5x, and if both of those figures are about 20 big blinds or less sometimes I'll just make it 2x.'

5 'Position is crucial, especially when used in conjunction with picking up weaknesses on other players. Look at their betting patterns and what they've done when they show down a weak hand or a strong hand and take advantage of what they're doing.

6 'Generally I'll never fold to a shove if I open a pot when I've got less than 15 big blinds. I know people don't like to do it, but now and again it's possible to find a fold. For example, if you've got a stack of 12 big blinds and raise to 2.5x only to get shoved on by a really tight player who you know is never shoving light, then you might have to consider folding, unless you've got a real hand of course.'

7 'The presence of antes in play doesn't make a huge difference to the hands I play. I might be more inclined to open suited connectors just because there's more in the pot, but that goes for every hand really. Don't worry about the better odds the blinds are getting to call with antes in play, because you want them to call! You'll have position on them for the rest of the hand and they'll miss the flop two out of three times, meaning you'll often pick up the pot with a continuation bet.'

8 'Once antes are in play don't start opening for 4x or 5x simply because you want to give the blinds worse odds. What if they raise and you have to fold? That sucks. You'll get the exact same result by raising to 2.5x. Also, if you open for more and get called, you'll have to make your c-bets bigger and put a larger percentage of your stack in on future streets, when you're likely to be up against bigger hands.'

9 'Increasing your stack in line with the rising blinds during the middle stages of tournaments is tough. One effective course of action is to three-bet pre-flop. On that basis it pays to be aware of who is raising a lot and who is tight. Also, be aware of your own table image, as if you have a crazy image you're liable to get shoved on lighter.'

10 'In online tournaments the bubble is overrated - nowadays everyone knows what you're up to so be very careful!'
Annette Obrestad's Top Tournament Poker Tips

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