Double Stack Tournament Strategy

Double Stack Tournament Strategy for No Limit Holdem
by K. Swope of

Deep stack or double stack tournaments are a chance to begin any game with more chips and typically slower blind levels and increments. The strategy to utilize these benefits is slightly different than most common tournament play. If playing in a game that provides you with a starting chip count of 3000 or more and blind levels of 25 minutes or longer this article will offer some strategic insight.

In tournaments of this design you will be playing several hours and will become susceptible to playing too many hands from boredom or possibly fatigue. Try to take breaks as often as needed in order to stay fresh and alert.

Since you begin these games with enough chips to survive into the middle rounds without the need of doubling up or winning a monster pot, the objective early on is simply to sustain your chip stack and play very tight.

Do not see many flops and the hands you do play, do not make large pre-flop raises with them. Save your chips for when you make a great hand and do not attempt bluffs early.

Reaching the middle rounds should not be surprising. Only the players that chose to gamble or were fortunate to make monster hands will have a chip advantage at this point.

The blind levels will be increasing slowly enough that by maintaining your original starting chips, it will still leave you very competitive at this point in the game. Look to be aggressive in position at this stage of the tournament. Steal blinds and look for opportunities to win uncontested pots with well placed bets.

The tournament is young yet and you do not want to risk an all-in for your stack so continue to play tight pre-flop.

Entering the later levels of the game and nearing the final table it will become extremely important to begin making aggressive moves. Most players at this time will each have a significant amount of chips and they will try and nurse that stack in order to reach the final table. Grab as much of this money as you can by stealing blinds and raising substantially pre-flop. Doing so will net the extra chips needed to run deep in the payout structure and put you in a position to win the game.

Once you make the final table your chip stack will determine how to play from here on out. Working a short stack at this stage of the game is not an impossible feat since most players will call your all-ins just for the chance to eliminate an opponent. Save this move for the times you feel your dominating the table pre-flop or with the best possible drawing hand.

Medium stacks must be weary of playing too many flops and losing ground at the table. Do not cold call many raises from here and look to represent strength when choosing to enter pots.

Sitting as a chip leader or large stack is always a great feeling at the final table. However, do not let this euphoria disrupt your play. Allow the other opponents to eliminate each other instead of playing sheriff or executioner with your stack of chips. Continue to be patient with your play and ride that stack into the big money.