Poker Tournament Tips

Poker Tournament Tips and Strategy

Your tournament strategy should depend very much on your starting chip stack and the speed on the blinds.

If we take a standard Party Poker tournament, where your starting stack is 3000 chips and the blinds increase every 15 minutes.

Now with an average field size it will take just over 2 hours to make the money and in the region of 5 hours for the tournament to complete.

During the first hour there is absolutely no pressure to make any crazy decisions or overcommit too many chips on marginal hands. The blinds start at 20/40 and finish the first hour at 100/200. Therefore there is no reason why you should feel the necessity to get into too many coin flip situations, or negative equity draws, or commit too deep with just top pair. This is not to say you should be passive. You should certainly look for, and capitalize on, any good opportunites which arise with a view to building your stack.

During the second hour you should get more aggressive and take more risks. There is absolutely no point in just limping to the money. If say 100 places are paid, and you end up in the 80's or 90's then this typically pays something like a profit of about 50% of the buyin. Now if you make the money say 20% of the time you dont need to be Einstein to figure out this is only going to lead to a negative ROI in the long run (ie losing money).

It is much better to have a lower ITM% (in the money%) and a higher final table%. The final table is where all the money is, or more to the point 1st, 2nd and 3rd is where all the money is. If you make it to one of these top spots only once in say 40 tournies (dependant on field size) then there is enough profit here to keep your bankroll afloat.

Exploit other players tightness, particularly in the lead up to the bubble. Spot the players who want to make it at all costs and bully them. When you are in the money you can tighten up a little, but you should always be looking to pull a few moves occasionally and keep your chip stack going upwards rather than down.

Accept your beats and your loses (because they are inevitable), but when the cards are running good you need to capitalize on this fact and always look to secure the final table spots by being aggressive in the right places, and not simply missing the opportunity in a blind determination to get to the money line.