Poker tips: When is chasing a good idea

by Maisie

Your opponent bets three times the size of the pot. You are pretty sure he has either aces or kings. You have to stay in even though you know at the moment he has you beat. This is called chasing. You don’t have the nuts but with the right cards on fourth street and the river you have the potential for a big win.

Is Having the Best Hand Enough

Anyone who has played poker has struggled with the question of when should you chase. The reality in any Roulette tips is the odds may all be in your favor but without luck on your side it just isn’t going to happen for you.

If you play poker often enough you will have experienced times when you hold the straight draw and flush draw simultaneously. You feel confident that you aren’t chasing, everyone else is. You are sure it is your pot. Because of this you bet big, really big. This is when you really need to be careful. Having the best drawing hand doesn’t guarantee you anything. The cards can turn in an instant.

Say you are in an Omaha H/L tourney and you hold Ah, Ks, 2h, 3s. Another player raises preflop. You call the hand so you disguise the strength of your own hand. The flop is Ac, 8h, Qd. You have the best shot at the low at this moment with the 2-3. You have likely missed your flushes and the high straight is a one in a million chance now. Your opponent raises half your stack. Do you call? You still have two cards to be dealt to hit your low. If they are a two or three your low could be eliminated. On the other hand you have a pretty good chance to get a non 2-3 low card. You call. Fourth street turns over a 9d. No low. Your opponent now pushes all-in. Do you call? Chances are good at this point that you are chasing blind. Your odds of getting a low card on the river have diminished greatly.

Trust Your Luck

Many players call no matter what and many fold. Chances are when you are running good that you will hit it. Chances when you are running bad are slim to none. Be prepared to fold only to have your one outer show up on the river. It’s happened to every poker player in the history of poker.

The best advice is to follow your run. If you are running good and you have a sizable number of outs-go for it. That’s why they call it gambling.

Understanding Poker Tournaments

Basic poker tournament strategy entails patience, discipline, and selective aggression, simply knowing when to play, when not to play, and when to push. In order to be successful, any player must sit back and get to understand the tournament’s structure.

What are the limits? How long does each level last? Are there antes? Where is the bubble?

Knowing and understanding a tournament’s structure prepares you for each new level as it arises, where (time wise) you are in the tournament, and when to adjust your play accordingly.

Once you understand the tournament structure, break it down into three stages: early, middle, and late. Each individual stage requires a different basic style of play. As the tournament progresses, a player must adapt in order to stick around.

Early Stage Tournament Play

In the early stages of a poker tournament, patience is a virtue. Basic strategy suggests playing and waiting for premium hands while the blinds are low. Play position: meaning fold marginal hands in early position, call with an average hand in middle position, and raise with a strong hand in late position.

Waiting for good cards early gives you the best chances of doubling-up and surviving to the later rounds. This also gives the other players a perception of you that you can use to your advantage in later stages of the tournament. Playing tight early will allow you to deceive opponents when you open up your hand selection.

Hand Selection


  • A-A
  • 9-9


  • Any Ace
  • 10-9


  • A-K
  • A-Q

Middle Stage Tournament PlayIn the middle stage of a tournament, the blinds have increased considerably, antes may be involved, and the field has dwindled. Open up your hand selection as some marginal hands like Q-J and 10-9 becomes playable.

A player must maintain discipline by still playing position, and staying patient. By this stage, you should have a feel for your opponents, trust those reads, use your good judgment, and let other players make mistakes.

Hand Selection

  • Any Pair


Any Ace



  • A-K
  • 10-9

Late Stage Tournament Play

In the later stages of a poker tournament, your hand selection expands even further. Small suited connectors and generally weak unsuited straight cards become valuable. The field will have narrowed dramatically, and once the money “bubble” has burst, many players will be going for broke.

Play more hands, but still take into consideration your position at the table and your chip stack relative to the size of the blinds. Use your judgment, and be selectively aggressive. Selective aggression entails value betting occasional straight and flush draws, and using your chip stack to push players off marginal hands.

Hand Selection

  • Any Pair


  • Any Ace
  • 4-3


  • A-K
  • 9-8

Betting and Raising

Betting and raising patterns remain generally consistent through the stages of a tournament. The standard raise is normally three times (3x) the big blind, though it varies according to your chosen playing style.

Betting after the flop generally ranges between 50% and 150% of the size of the pot. Betting a smaller percentage of the pot is a value bet because your bet provokes a call adding value to your potential winnings at the end of the hand.

Betting an over-sized percentage of the pot is an over-bet as you intentionally over-bet the pot in hopes of stealing it from weaker player. Variation in your betting and raising patterns will strengthen your tournament play.

Keys to Tournament Play

  • Understanding tournament structure
  • Knowing when and how much to bet or raise
  • Knowing what cards to play when
  • Using patience, discipline, and selective aggression

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