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Tournament Strategy: The ‘ten-to-one’ Rule

When deep in a tournament, and you have 10 times more chips than your opponent, move all-in regardless of your cards.

The ten-to-one rule originated from the popular poker book, Harrington on Holdem. It is a simple but very underused strategy. It works due to multiple reasons including players being more conservative later on in a tournament.

Since the payouts in tournament poker jump so rapidly, it’s important to knock out as many players as possible. So when the opportunity presents itself to knock out a player deep in a tournament, you should take it.

The only condition is that you must have at least 10 times as many chips as the opponent you are trying to knock out.

Let’s look at a common situation where you may generally fold your hand. Let’s say you’re in the small blind and are dealt . You have 50 big blinds, and your opponent in the small blind has just 5 big blinds. Under the ten-to-one rule, you must push all-in. If you opponent folds, you buff your stack a little more. He may call with a strong hand like . You are behind, but you still have a 32.5% chance of winning the hand and knocking the player out of the tournament.

If you are put in this situation 3 times and lose all 3, you will still have chips left. Mathematically, you are getting the correct odds to try and knock out an opponent and move up the payouts.

Having so many more chips than your opponent means that you are never taking a large risk.

Remember that the situation to use this must be perfect. You must be deep into a tournament where knocking out a player means you will be guaranteed a much higher payout, and you have at least ten times as many chips as your opponent.

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