Poker tournaments differs from cash games in that each player starts with a certain number of chips, and they are gradually lost during the tournament. Chances are that you will be eliminated from the tournament much earlier than in a normal cash game, or you may simply have run out of chips. Even though it is common to use poker tournament strategy in cash games, it is important to change your strategy applied to the different stages of a poker tournament.
There are many different strategies possible in poker tournaments. Some players prefer to play conservatively and block any losses, while other less conservative players like to make fast pots and steal blinds. Players who like to push all-in have a different strategy and should be treated carefully, as any time spent folding reduces your stack considerably. There are many tips you can use to help you along the way to becoming a better tournament player, and one of the best is to study the players’ history in the tournament.
Take notes on when a player is first entering the tournament, and what position they start off in. Players tend to keep a rather tight online during the early stages, waiting for the right cards to come. Take note of which players are “chasing” and which are not, since they may be playing with a pocket pair or something similar.
If you are in the middle of the pack, you may want to “re-raise” a few times to try and weed out the chip-stacked players. If you raise too many, you may find yourself becoming a “Dewacasino“, who chases every hand and runs players out of the tournament.
As the blinds increase, you should start playing more hands. If you are in the small blind, you should steal the blinds whenever possible. Players in the big blind should understand that their possessions are no longer guaranteed; they should expect to lose their chips.
At this stage, you may choose to call an all-in bet placed by another player, in order to show him you have a better hand than you are representing.
Once you reach the middle stages, you should loosen up your game a little bit. Don’t become aware of your opponents, since you are not involved in the hand. And observe closely to determine if any players are becoming tight or loose. After all, a loose player is much more susceptible to losing a hand than a tight one.
As the blinds increase, it is necessary to steal the blinds whenever possible. It is a good idea to do this about 10 times in the middle rounds. Players in the blinds will not expect you to play so loose in their tournament.
If you are playing in the small blind, you should try to steal the blinds whenever possible. It is a good idea to do this about 5 times in the middle rounds.
In the big blind, you should be more selective about when you want to steal the blinds. Try to steal the blinds once every round in the middle rounds.
As the tournament progresses, and the blinds increase, it is time to open up your game a little bit. Start to take more risks and bluff on occasion.
During the middle rounds, you should start to loosen up and bluff more often. You should try to take control of the game by bluffing once every round every round.
You can choose to become a little more selective with your hands as the blinds rise, and you can become a little more aggressive with your bluffs if you feel you have the strongest hand.
The blinds will eventually catch up to your reckless play, and you’ll have to become a more tight player. Don’t be afraid to lay down a hand if you think you are truly beat.