Betting (or Raising) with the Second Best Hand
 
There is a curious corollary to the principle of trying to win the big pots right away. Obviously you want to bet or raise to drive out as many players as possible when you have the best hand. But if the pot is very large, it is frequently desirable to do the same even when you suspect you have the second-best hand, especially when you believe you're not that far behind.

A good example of this concept come up in razz:

Player A

Player B

Player C

You
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Poker Strategies - Second Best Hand
 
Tournament Strategy
 
Most tournament structures are designed to get the whole thing over with quickly. Most players think this means that they have to gamble it up right away to try to build a big stack early. As a result, you can expect about half the field to bust out quickly. This translates into a general principle that you should tend to play carefully and fairly tight in the early stages of a tournament.

But in the first hour or so of the event, you do need to be aware of opportunities to catch someone overplaying his hand. In most small tournaments, you'll find plenty of such opportunities. Other than that, you want to generally play tight in the early rounds. Just be selective about it. Don't play so tight that you pass up opportunities to add to your stack when others are offering those opportunities.

In some ways, strategy is driven by structure. But not as much as some tournament pros seem to think. Most tournament pros will refer to tournaments with slowly increasing blinds as a tournament "with a lot of play" meaning that the ratio of blinds to stack sizes starts out fairly small and rises slowly. It's that blind-to-stack ratio that drives strategy, not the speed in which the ratio rises. It doesn't really matter much whether you have a low blind-to-stack ratio because of the tournament structure or because you got lucky and tripled up the first hand. The ratio matters, but how you arrived there doesn't.
 
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