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 Chris Ferguson       Professional Poker Player Chris Ferguson AKA "Jesus" won the WSOP in 2000, now 42 he has   been in 23 WSOP Finals winning 5 of them and raking in a total of over $2.8M in the process. Here he gives you the benefit of his poker knowledge with his top 17 tips on Tournament Strategy: 1. His Big Tip Pump it or dump it, never limp in before the flop. Either fold or raise, otherwise you are telegraphing weakness. Never call as the first player to enter the pot before the flop. If your hand isn’t strong enough for a raise then it’s too weak for a call. This makes it harder for your opponents to read you, and impossible for the big blind to ever see any cards for free.

2. Folding If you fold you lose nothing. If you call you must have a hand that expects to win money, and if you have a hand which is good enough to call then why not raise? Raising forces your opponents to make decisions when they are out of their comfort zones.

 3. Re-Raising When your opponent is playing too tight before the flop you want to punish them by raising more often. This will push them into a place they don’t want to be. The only time to restrain from re-raising is when you expect to be re-re-raised out of position.

4. Pay Attention Don’t switch off when you muck your hand. Pay attention all the time. Every hand that your opponents play gives you information about them and how they are likely to play future hands. Watch how experts push weaker players out of their comfort zone, and pick up on inexperienced players repeated mistakes.  

5. Position & Bluffing A -10 isn’t much cop in first position, but it's a monster hand in last position if the betting has been checked all the way round to you. In limit games don’t bluff, in no limit bluff outrageously!  

6.Medium Strength Hands Don’t bet if you have one. Raise with strong ones, bluff with bad ones but throw away those in between. When you have what you think is best you hope to get called. When you have the worst hand you want to bet frequently as a bluff hoping for the better hand to fold. An average hand doesn’t work either way.  

7. The Turn In no limit its ok to call and not raise on 4th and 5th street, but always re-raise if you can smell weakness in your opponents. Don’t be afraid to take on small raises but don’t take on a raise ten times the big blind, let them have the pot unless you have the nuts. 

8. The River There are only 2 reasons to bet the river. The first is to bet for value e.g. a bet you expect to win even if you get called. The second is to bluff even when you’re hoping your opponent will fold a winner. If you have a hand that has neither of the above then just check. 

9. What am I doing? Before making any play ask yourself the question what are you trying to accomplish?? In the case of betting on the river, you are hoping for your opponent to call with a worse hand or fold a better one. 

10. Early Tournament Play Build up your chips. If there are buy-ins then stick your neck out. If it's a freeze out then don’t risk to much early on. If theirs to much slow playing then don’t slow play drawing flops, as it just gives drawers a chance to beat you. Keep people guessing to avoid giving your strength away, make the same raise every time but vary your playing style. Don’t give away your hand by playing straightforward poker. 

11. Middle section play Don’t worry about going broke, you have to build up your stack. Look for tight or weak opponents raise them and push them around. Raise with even an A – 2 if there are fewer then 4 callers behind you. Going broke is no big deal as there is always another game. Just think of Poker as one big long game. Be daring, the very best way to survive is to take risks. 

12. When you’re getting close to the money Tighten up and try and avoid confrontation over big pots. If your one of the bigger stacks put pressure on the smaller ones by underbetting the pot by between 50% to 70%. If the flop looks scary drive out the drawing hands by betting big.    

13. When you’re in the money Speed up and play loser, but avoid marginal confrontations and be careful about going all in. 

14. Three Handed Games If you’ve got a big stack put pressure on others with big bets or raises. Conversely If you’ve got a small stack don’t let that happen to you. Make a stand, play sparingly but bravely

15. Heads Up Play Tournament strategy no longer applies. Don’t be to passive the best way to survive is to accumulate. But if you haven’t got the hands let your opponent run over you without taking risks. Wait for the big hand and then slam it in.  

16. If your stack diminishes Don’t assume your beaten and don’t let yourself be blinded out. Count how many blinds you can survive, and make your move while keeping enough for later blinds. 

17. The Final Word Don’t blame bad luck when you lose, and claim its skill when you win. Thinking you have nothing to learn is the surest way to guarantee that you earn exactly that – Nothing !!
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