The active player is not the “button clicker” characterized by excessive aggression. Nor is he a rivet player waiting for the best hands. It is a player who tries to collect chips without really having good hands. Here are some tips on how to become such an active player who tries to take the tournament fate into his own hands.
In the early stages of tournaments, when the effective stacks are still very big, you have a lot less to see flops (cheaply enough) to hit a strong hand or draw. This works better in multiway pots where several players have limped, or in single raised pots. Most of these moves have to be made from late position or blinds. You will know more or less who and how many players will play the hand. So you also know the token price of this move. Of course, that doesn’t mean you have to play every two cards on the button with a few limpers up front. This is obviously a fairly familiar move, and chances are that you are already doing it. The real skill, however, is knowing when to stand back. When your stack is no longer deep, you should be more careful when playing pots with these hand types.
One of the things you should try to do is identify stronger and weaker players at your table. Of course, you want to play with the latter as often as possible. Once you’ve found a weaker player, you should look for a chance to isolate him. Maybe he limped to the pot or made a raise and no one else is in the pot yet. Maybe such a weaker player is in the big blind and nobody has entered the pot. If you have a playable hand, ask yourself if you can isolate the weaker player with a raise or re-raise there. While the early stage of the tournament is underway, you should think about a bigger raise.
As you will want to win the pot without having the best hands, you will need the right opponents. They fold when they see no prospect of winning the hand. These players don’t have a strong deal so they will completely miss the flop. As it’s quite hard to hit the perfect hand though, they will fold more often than they should. Also, you will know immediately when they have a strong deal.
There are moments when calling is optimal and players who take the raise or fold approach forget about it. Anytime you think about calling, also think about whether a raise would be better? Taking the initiative in a hand can have good results. You start building pots with good hands. You take action in a hand when the players don’t really know what’s going on. There are lots of pools where no one has hit anything on the board. These usually go to the aggressor, because others fold. These spots aren’t quite obvious to new players.
By trying to collect your chips without any premium starting hands, instead of relying on luck and waiting for big cards, you will take matters into your own hands. Begin with these four simple rules. You can think about more later. This is the beginning of the road to a more serious game.