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Seven No-Limit Hold'em Tournament Questions

by Tom McEvoy |  Published: Mar 22, 2005

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My e-mailbag is always filled with questions about how to play certain types of hands in no-limit hold'em tournaments. This column poses seven frequently asked questions and my answers. Use them as brainteasers to tweak your tournament strategy.

1. You have the Adiamonds Jdiamonds on the button. A very conservative player in early position opens the pot for a raise of about four times the size of the big blind. Everyone passes and it's up to you. What's your play? (A) Call; (B) Fold; © Reraise

A-J is always a trouble hand when a player raises from early position, especially if he is a tight player. The answer is (B).

2. You are dealt the 4hearts 4clubs in second position. With several aggressive players sitting behind you, what's your best play? (A) Raise; (B) Call; © Fold

Small pairs played from early position cannot take any heat. With aggressive players in the game, it is likely that you will get raised if you call, in which case you will be forced to fold and lose valuable chips. The answer is ©.

3. You are dealt A-K in early position and make a standard raise of three times the size of the big blind. You get three callers, including the big blind. The flop comes 10hearts 9clubs 3spades. The big blind checks and it's your turn to act. What is your best play? (A) Make a pot-sized bet; (B) Check and fold if someone bets; © Check and call if someone bets

Your hand looked pretty before the flop, but after the flop you have nothing but two overcards and no draw. With three other players in the pot, you are better off checking and folding if someone bets. The answer is (B).

4. Two players have limped into the pot for the minimum bet. You are in middle position with the 9clubs 8clubs. You decide to also just call. Two other players sitting behind you also call, as do both blinds, making a total of seven players in the pot. The flop is the 9diamonds 8spades 2diamonds. You have flopped the top two pair. The blinds check, the first limper makes a pot-sized bet, and the second limper calls the bet. Now, the action is up to you, and you still have two players yet to act after you. What is your best play? (A) Call; (B) Fold; © Make a big raise

You probably have the best hand right now, but with several possible straight and flush draws out against you, you need to protect your hand by forcing your opponents to call a very big bet if they want to continue playing. The answer is ©.

5. You are in the big blind with an A-K offsuit. A player in middle position makes a standard raise and two players call the raise. The small blind folds. Now, the action is up to you. What's your play? (A) Fold; (B) Call; © Raise

You are out of position, and it is best not to risk a reraise with that many players already in the pot. See the flop and then decide what to do. The answer is (B).

6. You are dealt the Adiamonds Jdiamonds in late position. Two other players have limped into the pot and you also decide to limp in. The small blind calls and the big blind checks. The flop comes with the 9diamonds 7diamonds 4diamonds. You have flopped the nuts! Both blinds check, the first limper bets about half the size of the pot, and the second limper folds. Now, it is up to you. What's your best play? (A) Call; (B) Fold; © Raise

The answer is (A). You are hoping that by just calling, at least one of the blinds will also call. You are also disguising the strength of your hand and can perhaps trap the bettor for lots of chips on a later betting round.

7. You are on the button with the Adiamonds 5diamonds. Two players have limped into the pot in front of you. You also limp in, and so do both of the blinds. The flop comes with the Aclubs 9hearts 2clubs. The small blind checks, and the big blind bets the size of the pot. The other two players fold to you. What's your play? (A) Call; (B) Fold; (Raise)

When a player bets into several players, he usually has a made hand, not a draw. If he has an ace in his hand, your ace is almost certainly out-kicked. Furthermore, he easily could have flopped two pair in this unraised pot. The answer is (B).

Look for another no-limit hold'em quiz in my next column. Until then, I hope to meet you in the winner's circle one day soon. spades



Tom McEvoy is the author of Championship Tournament Poker and the co-author with T.J. Cloutier of Championship No-Limit & Pot-Limit Hold'em. You will often find him in action at the poker table at www.pokerstars.com, where he is a spokesperson.