Two Facecards Take a Beating on the Button

The Internet can be a great place to practice your tournament skills in small buy-in events in preparation for playing a big buy-in tournament either online or in a brick-and-mortar casino. Since I play lots of online events, my mailbag is filled with letters from cyber players seeking how-to advice on tournament strategy. In this column, I am transforming one of those letters into a quiz format that I hope will make the player’s scenario and my analysis of his play educational as well as entertaining.


Online player Craig was playing a $22 buy-in no-limit hold’em tournament against 230 opponents. After plowing his way through the field, he made it to the final table with an average chip stack. With only six players left to compete for the gold and the glory, Craig was in fourth place with approximately $28,000. The chip leader was sitting to his left with about $40,000. The blinds were $600-$1,200 with a $125 ante when he met an untimely demise.


“I was on the button with a suited Q-J,” Craig began. “Everyone passed to me. The big blind hadn’t been defending his blinds often, and the small blind (the chip leader) seemed to have tightened up his play, waiting for a few more people to get eliminated before making a move. Neither player had seen a flop for several rounds.”


How Would You Play This Hand Before the Flop?

  1. Fold to preserve your chip count


  1. Just call the size of the big blind


  1. Raise to try to knock out the blinds and win the pot


Here’s How Craig Played 

“Although Q-J suited isn’t a big hand, I felt that a raise was in order to try to pick up the blinds and antes. I raised to $3,600, three …

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