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With the 500k Guaranteed happening real soon on partypoker, I thought a good quick guide to early tournament play could be useful. You see, getting off to a good start in a tournament is crucial. Sure those early chip leaders never win, but they usually go deep. Here are a few tips on early tournament play to help give you an early boost.

#1 Forget Strategy

Never go into a tournament with a set strategy of how you’re going to approach the early levels. Your strategy should be dependent on your table, your opponent’s and their style of play. Be reactive to the ever-changing table dynamics.

#2 Pick Your Spots

If you find yourself at a tough opening table then you need to, where possible, tighten up, pick your spots carefully and avoid playing pots against the better players. At a live tournament if the information is not readily available discreetly inquire with a member of floor staff about the table breaking order.

#3 Spot The Bad Players Quickly

Alternatively if there are some obviously bad players at your table you want to enter as many pots with them as possible, especially if you have position on them, to win their chips before someone else does.

#4 Opposites Attract

There’s an old saying that you should play the opposite of how the table is and there’s some truth to this. There’s no point making a marginal three-bet pre-flop at a table full of calling stations and at a table of tight players you can play more hands.

#5 First Impressions

Try to be aware of your own image and how you can use it to your advantage, but don’t level yourself and make some crazy play because you think an opponent thinks you’re tight. Make sure they’ve been paying attention and are on that level of thinking!

#6 Don’t Wait For The Ante’s

Seriously, you don’t need to wait for the antes to kick in to start opening up your hand ranges!

#7 Pay Attention!

Although the blinds and pots may be small in comparison to the stacks at the start of a tournament you need to pay close attention to all your opponents. In the opening few orbits you should be able to get a good idea as to someone’s playing style and how to counteract it should you play a pot against them.

#8 Use The Chatbox

Try and talk to the players at your starting table and engage in some conversation. Not only will you hopefully learn something about their poker ‘story’ and their ability, but also as crazy at it sounds players will often make tight folds to a player they like and want to keep at the table.

#9 Use Your Stack Wisely

Whilst the blinds are small in comparison to your stack it gives you free reign to play a wide variety of hands. Hands like suited connectors, small pairs and suited aces that will be disguised and hit a board hard or not at all are great hands to play either for a raise or a call.

#10 First Loser

Never be afraid to bust out of a tournament early and never make a decision based on not wanting to bust. You should try and focus on the hand itself and not any embarrassment at busting out early. The person who busts first and the bubble both get the same – zero.

Good luck and let me know what you think and what I missed in the comments below!

The $500K Guaranteed Returns!

If a $200,000 prize pool is enough for you to go all tingly with excitement, what about one weighing in at $500,000 – that is half of a million dollars!

The latest instalment of the $500K Guaranteed is set to run at 14:00ET (20:00CET) on Sunday, 21st of September and if the previous edition is anything to go by, anyone playing in it will be in for a real treat.

When the $500K Guarantee last ran, back in May 2014, a staggering 3,057-strong field took to the felt and generated a $568,602 prize pool. The lion’s share of that massive sum went to Swee Fah Chai, otherwise known as sweetster who collected $85,688.57 for his victory, a win made all the more sweeter by the fact he qualified for the tournament for only $2!

Read more about sweetster’s epic win in our recap of the $500K Guaranteed.

Head to Dublin to Watch the 2014 World Grand Prix of Darts

These days, darts players enter the arena to their own special theme tune, which is quite fitting seeing how we’re talking about music. partypoker is sponsoring the 2014 World Grand Prix in Dublin and you could be heading there with a superb package to watch the action unfold in front of your very eyes.

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