Playing in the earlier stages of a tournament
Playing in the earlier stages of a tournament you will want to keep a few things in mind. One being how much of my stack am I willing to risk, and the other being how much will my opponent call. When playing early in a tournament you will want to be selective in the hands you play. Playing loose and aggressive at the early stage of a tournament can really cost you in the long run, and will not allow you to make a progression through the tournament. So, the best and easiest way to get through and progress is to play tight. Not overly tight where you are playing just big pairs or AK, but rather playing hands in position that can catch the flop, and if not you can get away cheap. When you can find a nice range of hands to play in position early in the tournament a lot of the time you can see free cards with draws and possibly take down a big pot without being committed much to it.
Of course, playing big pairs early in tournaments and collecting the most for them is ideal to tournament success, but you will have to open you range of hands up. There are very few players today who can just play big pairs and expect to win tournaments. There is a lot of variance in tournaments and to cut down on that variance you can play in position and pick up pots without having the cards.
When the blinds are small compared to stack size and you do have that big pair say “AA” you can play it slower against an aggressive player. What you will want to do throughout the tournament is collect two streets of equity be it on the flop and turn, or any combination of flop, turn, and river. When you can consistently play pots and collect the two streets of equity you will be better for it, and have a constantly growing chip stack.
Getting stuck in a pot with a marginal hand early in the tournament is something you want to always avoid. If you are what is considered “stuck” in a pot with top pair and no kicker, or a drawing hand that is susceptible to better drawing hands you should change gears, and tone down your play to that of a tighter player. You want to play tight when the blinds are small making the most for your hands and losing the least with them. If you can find a common median of starting hands
you can cut down your variance. Small connecting hands early in tournaments are hands you want to stay away from unless the pot has a bunch of limpers in front of you already, and you are getting the right price to play it. So, early in tournaments
you want to play pots in position with cards that can hit a flop big or simply lay down your hands and wait for better spots. To collect two streets of equity you will need to be hitting some flops. So, make sure when you are getting your money in early in tournaments
it is with the best hand because you will never want to bust a tournament in the early stages.