Poker strategy for tournaments
In the recent past poker was one of those games that only pros played, in casino back rooms. The introduction of poker into mainstream has led to a boom and it all started with Moneymaker’s huge success in the World Series of Poker Main Event in 2003.
More so, poker has infiltrated into people’s homes through the televised poker tournaments and the online gambling industry introducing online poker rooms. Wowed by the 2006 WSOP Main Event that saw 8,773 players and a winning first prize of $12 million, players new and seasoned around the world also dream of poker fame and fortune.
During a poker tournament, the regular rules of cash games do not apply. Players have to buy-in to get a seat then start the game with the same amount of chips and at the same time with all other players. Usually, tournaments will reward 10% of the participating players starting with the winner and trickling down the rewards as they go down the ladder.
If you get left without chips you are automatically disqualified and out you go. Another difference between cash and tournament poker games is that with tourneys you can cash-out at any time. The same thing applies if you want to re-buy, although some tourneys do not exactly allow this. Also, a tournament player will get to experiment and learn how to play with different stack sizes because that is the nature of the game while cash-game players can choose their own battles as they see fit.
As, in a tournament the blinds increase at a predetermined interval, the stack you own depends on what the average stack size is and what the blinds are. Naturally, having more chips allows you to take more risks during the game. Chips are actually the most important thing to keep an eye on since no chips means end of story. You will not be able to play for long if you do not know when to risk your chips and when not to.
The three stages of a tournament- early, middle, and late, can also dictate how your gameplay will go. Of course, in the early stages of the game everyone feels more relaxed since the chips piles are aplenty. A player that is looking to gamble seriously with his chips early on in the tournament is probably stacked up on chips or looking to make a big stack from the beginning to last him or her through the tourney.
It is a good idea to use precaution when playing in this stage as you want to enter the middle stage with the same chip stack or slightly better. Don’t make any sudden bets that might jeopardize your pile. Comparatively, chips become more and more valuable the farther you advance through the tourney. In the middle stage you need to start taking action for winning hands and blinds.
The purpose is to stack up on the chips so that you enter the late stage with a good stack behind you. Also known as the gamble stage because most players have fewer chips and only a few have lots, the late tourney stage will push things to the max and you need to keep a cool head if you want to come out the victor.
Most games will be all-in or fold ones since the chips are not enough for prolonged betting. Granted, Lady Luck should be sitting right behind you for your winning chances to grow.
Needleless to say, if you want to venture into a tourney you must be prepared. Besides getting your hands on every single piece of material relating to poker you also must have thousands of hours of practice. So try out some lower key tournaments, as many as you can afford, and learn from the game.