Raising middle pairs over limpers in the early stages (regardless of buy-in) is somewhat risky. You are likely to get better long term value from set mining cheaply. In the early stages, loads of players are correctly playing for implied odds. A five times raise is not a big hit to their stack and you mostly just don’t narrow the field enough. What usually happens here is a tough decision to continuation bet or not into a large pot so many over cards on the board resulting in tough decisions.Sure you can open raise, but if there are multiple limpers I would just avoid attacking them when everyone is comfortable stacks and mzones.
You also can’t forget about the 2:1 odds. If the pot is 1.Five big blinds, with one caller, which makes it two now.5BBs. You raise to 3BB, making the pot 5.5BBs and the limper (assuming everyone else folds) has to call 2BBs to see a flop with 5.5BBs in it. So your opponent is getting nearly three to one odds by calling.
You have to consider the fact that you’re likely to never be worse than a three to one under dog pre-flop. However there is a problem. Maybe even more than one problem.
The main problem is betting ability of a weak hand. This could mean rags facing off against ace king. The flop comes down 5 J Q. Sure you’re now ahead, but really how much can you afford to bet at this point? What about the continuation bet? What if you lead into the pot? What happens when he calls? Do you fire again on the turn? It’s an expensive guessing game now with just bottom pair?
But what if you have something like pocket threes pre-flop? With a board full of over cards,it’s still tough to bet even though statistically your opponent will have missed as well?
So yes, you had correct odds pre flop, if you could get to showdown for something approximating that pre flop investment. However, in big stack scenarios you really shouldn’t. You still have 3 betting rounds before you get to fifth street.
However there is another problem as a result. You are out of position and that’s not good poker tournament strategy. This means when you do make you hand you will win less. You will also lose more chips, because your opponent can bet you off a better hand because he has position.
So really, for these deep stack situations, pot odds are completely irrelevant IMHO. Implied odds is what you need to be looking at here.. i.e. what is the size of my stack and my opponents stack. I’ll call with a massive range when the bet is 5% or less of the effective stack. Even if they have pocket aces, my small cards and when a huge pot. It’s actually a good thing for them to have pocket aces when I am playing connectors to a raise. But if the raise is getting up to around 10% of my stack, then I fold all the weired stuff, except PPs. But in all of that the only thing I am thinking about is the size of the bet I have to call compared to the effective stack.
My cards may be 56s and be up against big slick. I have to be rather much httin a huge draw or two pair though, otherwise you will be faced with giving up the hand after the flop out of position. Occasionally I might check call on a low board with a low pair, but still there would have to be some read to make me do that.
In Gus Hansen’s poker tournament strategy book, he often sounds angry at himself for calling early position raises from his big blind blind. Understandably, these regrets come about as soon as you see the flop which invariably are difficult to play. Now he has physical tells to work with, and, as mentioned, he is Gus Hansen. We don’t have physical tells and we are not Gus. Take into account, your opponent is weaker than the players Gus plays against. It’s also important to know if your opponent can get away from a top pair, or are more willing to let it ride.
To sum it up, pre-flop pot odds are less important than post flop implied odds. Hey, you may play the hand anyway, but look at it from an implied stand point, not just pot odds. You have to know how to calculate poker odds when getting into hands like this becuase it may very well determine your long term success in tournaments. Just knowing Poker rules are not enough to win, you need strategy too.