We all know that playing poker is a game of strategy. However, that strategy can take a leap when you find yourself the chip leader at the table. This can result in an exhilarating feeling, but then you quickly come to realize that everyone will be coming for you. At the same time, you know that you are in the driver’s seat. As long as you play the game correctly, your odds are much greater of causing other players around the table to run out of chips and you become the eventual winner. Before you get to that point, you will want to consider the following strategies to use when you have a high chip count.
Do Not Take Risks Unnecessarily
As soon as you realize that you are the chip leader at your table, you may immediately begin to entertain grander thoughts of eventually reaching the final table. Take a moment and slow down. You still have a game to play. You need to stick with your strategy and not try to think too far down the road. There are other seasoned players at your table waiting for you to make a mistake so that they can capitalize on it and become the chip leader. Avoid taking unnecessary risks in an attempt to add to your lead.
Avoid Trying To Increase Your Stack Too Much
It is logical to want to add to your stack of chips in order to gain an almost insurmountable lead. You want to be careful here. While the goal is to end up with the most chips, this needs to be viewed as a marathon and not a sprint. Take your time. Feel free to fold when you are not feeling a hand. Lower your bets to keep in line with the rest of the table. Losing and winning gradually at this stage is better than giving up massive amounts of chips because you are trying to become the champion too quickly.
Know Where You Are in the Tournament
When you are playing in a tournament, it is important to keep your eyes on the big picture. While dominating your current table is important, that really gets you nowhere. Your goal is to be at the final table. If you are there, then that is when your strategy will shift to a winner take all mentality.
Pay Attention To the Tendencies of Your Opponent
Strategies are great, but they are not perfect. There are times when your opponents will have their own ideas about how the game is played. You need to be able to read those tendencies and then adjust your own playing style accordingly. You are in the lead. Everyone is gunning for you, so pay attention to what they are doing.
While there is no guarantee in poker, these five strategies should help you to better manage your play when you are the chip leader. The key is to solidify your lead and hopefully add to it so that you stay at the top. With a set strategy that involves playing it smart, you might just end up being the winner when the final hand is dealt.