Friday, December 30, 2011

Tips for Tournament Poker

The recent popularity of the World Series of Poker has lead to the offering of various poker tournaments across the world. This has led to a lot of players wanting to participate in cash games. Thus the tournaments have become richer with time.

In a tournament, you need to win all the chips in play. You can’t win for a premium hand to be dealt your way. You need to gamble on your luck or else you might be out on the blinds. To be a good tournament poker player, you must know when to play tight and when to good all the way. Here are some guidelines on how to play in a tournament.

First of all, you need to have lots of luck to win a tournament. In a big tournament, you need to have a couple of lucky streaks to eventually emerge as the winner. Experience and your poker skills are also two of the factors to be considered but since poker is a gamble, you need to save up on some luck to succeed. If you think you’re unlucky for that day, it is best to forget about the tournament already.

If you are already a good ring game player, you need to fine tune your game if you want to be successful in tournament play. This is because in ring games, you need to acquire the most number of chips but in tournament poker you need to collect all available chips in a given time period. Plus, you will be pressured by the increasing blinds as time elapses. That is why you need to play and win a lot of hands to accumulate chips and win the tournament.

Keep in mind that in tournament play, chips have relative value. Your starting chips have more value than the chips you might be able to win during the course of the tournament. Plus, you can’t buy back in during a tournament therefore your last chips have the most value than any other.

Then you must study and understand David Sklansky’s Gap Concept. Every tournament poker player must know this concept by heart. The Gap concept states that you need to have the better hand to play against the player who began the betting, than what you require to open the betting yourself. In simpler terms, it means that you need a strong hand to call a bet and a semi-strong to make an opening bet. If you want to steal the blinds or thinking of making a move then you must keep the Gap Concept in mind.

It is also best when playing in a tournament to follow the blinds. You are advised to play tight at the early stages of the tournament. When the blinds are low, you have to play it tight and just wait for the other players’ errors. As soon as the blinds go up, it is time to get into the action and try to win as much chips as possible.

If you’re playing in a Texas Hold’Em tournament, you should know that position is everything. When you’re in an early position, you should play tight and let the others ahead of you to act. But when you’re a much later position, it is best to play aggressive and should try to steal the blinds if you are dealt with semi-strong hands.

Another tournament tip that you should always remember is to always keep your attention on the table. You must not worry about the number of players left or how the chips are distributed. Your goal must be the chip leader of the table and nothing less. Don’t worry about the rest of the field first and focus your energy on the opponents at hand first. Taking the tournament one table at a time is the way to win it all. Survival is essential to win therefore you must not think of the future first and try to win all the chips on the table.

Speaking of opponents, you must learn to read your opponents properly. Then use the information you gathered to make the right decisions. If you read your opponents correctly then you are assured of securing a win but a misread will result in a disaster.

Let’s get back to the topic of survival. Remember that I a tournament, you can’t undo your mistakes. There’s no buy back. Once you called all in, there’s no turning back. One single error in judgment could mean the whole tournament.

Lastly, you must adapt with the situation at hand. You must know when to play tight and when to be aggressive. Factors such as position, tells, blind level, and tournament structure should be used to determine which action should be taken. You must mix aggressiveness with tight playing and find the right balance that can help you win the tournament.