888poker Strategy: 5 Poker Tips for Preflop Raising from Vivian Saliba

Vivian Saliba

Having a sound knowledge of the fundamentals of preflop play is one of the most important things to know in the beginning stage of your poker journey. The difference between having a winning session or a losing one relies heavily on the hands you choose to play.

In the video below, 888poker ambassador Vivian Saliba explains five tips for raising preflop in poker tournaments and while there are more things to consider, it offers a great guide for those who are just picking up their hole cards for the first time.

Be Aware of Position

The selection of hands or range you choose to play depends on which position you are in when at the poker table.

When raising in early position, you need to be mindful that a majority of the table is still yet to act so the chances of an opponent waking up with a strong hand are higher. If you raise when you are under the gun for example and someone calls your bet, you're most likely going to be playing out of position. Therefore, you need to play tighter when opening the action from early position.

Range: Often used to refer to a grouping of starting hands, usually in the context of speaking of an opponent's likely holdings. For example, if a tight player decides to reraise a preflop bet, that action likely narrows his "range" of possible hands. If he keeps betting on later streets, that further narrows his possible hands depending on how the community cards come.

Be Aware of Stack Sizes

When you raise you should be aware of how many chips your opponents have, if someone is short stacked they may move all-in after you raise preflop. This means you should only be opening with hands that you feel you can the all-in with.

Know Your Opponents

If you notice and understand your opponents play style and tendencies, you can make adjustments to your game that will help you profit massively. If your opponents tend to fold more often and act more passive, you should be betting and raising more.

However, if you observe that your opponents are playing more aggressively then you need to adapt your ranges. You could start raising stronger hands or hands that contain a blocker like {a-Hearts}{5-Hearts} for example.

Blocker: Usually used to refer to a player holding a card that represents one of an opponent’s “outs.” For example, in hold’em if Player A has {10-Clubs}{10-Diamonds} and the flop comes {q-Hearts}{j-Spades}{9-Diamonds}, the likelihood that Player B has a straight is reduced because Player A has two “blockers” (i.e., two of the four tens in the deck).

Be Aware of Tournament Stages

It is often said that poker tournaments can be broken down into three stages:

  • Early Stage
  • Middle Stage
  • End Stage

In the early stage, it is normal to raise more hands and play hands like suited connectors. However, when stacks are shorter as the tournament progresses you should be focusing more on hands that contain high cards and pairs.

You should also take note if you are on the bubble or close to the final table and adjust the range of hands you play accordingly.

Bubble: A term with several applications, all having to do with the period just before the money is reached in a tournament. The period itself — when just one or a few players need to be eliminated before reaching the cash — is referred to as the "bubble" period. The last player eliminated before the money is said either to "be the bubble" or to have "bubbled" the event.

Raising On A Final Table

This is where the big money is in tournaments and you should have the goal as surviving as long as possible. It is very important to not be wasteful with your chips at this stage of the tournament in marginal spots.

in general, you should be even more selective of the hands you choose to play with but there are a few exceptions to the rule. If you have are the chip leader at the final table you can apply more pressure to the medium stacks at the table, who will be more passive as they will not want to bust before the short stacks.

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