Poker Tournaments

A tournament is a online poker game where every poker player starts with the same number of chips and plays until only one player remains with chips. The blinds and limits of the game are raised at fixed times so as to force the action and ensure that the tournament game end up within a reasonable time. The accurate structure varies from event to event.

There are some cases where you can buy more chips within the first hour or some other specified period. Sometimes you have to lose all your current chips to be entitled to buy more, sometimes not. Some poker tournaments do not allow re-buys at all.

The payout schedule varies from event to event. Occasional does the last player get all the money, a certain percentage goes to second place, third place and so on.

In tournament plays, the winning poker strategy is not the same as a winning strategy for regular poker games. Tournament winning strategy depends on the particulars of the event: the re-buy policy, the payout schedule, and the escalation of blinds and limits.

You can find tournaments with buy-ins as low as $10. Small buy-in tournament is the best way to learn a new game while keeping a limit on your risk. They are different from ring games (the room for a regular full game) but the procedure of the play is the same in tournaments and ring games.

You cannot pick up a seat in a tournament and you cannot pick your table to play poker . As these are two most significant factors in determining whether you are a winning poker player, the skills needed to win at tournaments are completely different from the skills needed to win in ring games, but tournaments do provide the best training ground for the aspects of play that involve picking up your cards

Playing Strategies

There are two important considerations in developing a playing tournament strategy: the structure and the players. By structure it means the size of the blinds relative to the number of playing chips and the fast paced speed of the blinds. When players have few chips relative to the blinds they are forced to play weaker hands than they might otherwise play and the players with larger stacks will play poker more aggressively than normal when they are competing for the pot with a player who has a small stack.

You won't tend to play at any particular table for a long duration so you will need to depend on stereotypes of your rivals when setting up a strategy to exploit other players' mistakes. The structure and the players are important and in that respect the tournaments are not different from any poker game.

Stages of the Event

Tournaments consist of three distinct stages. The strategic considerations differ according to the stage of the event. The initial stages involve players aggressively trying to achieve an early advantage. At the middle stages, players are concentrating more on a consolidation it's much slower paced. The last stages pick up speed somewhat when the size of the blinds escalates to be significant in relation to the chips.

The Early Stage - Re-buy Period

In small tournaments, in the early stage of the event, the blinds start low and increase every twenty or thirty minutes. Even in events with large initial stealing blind, the small tournaments allow for re-buys in the early stages of the event, and your effective stack size is more than its actual size during this stage. It is essential to take care of the tournament stage and when the blinds will increase.

In the early stage of the tournament, the blinds are low enough so that you can play good drawing hands, small pocket pairs and other more speculative hands same in a live game. You don't need to be making any adjustments for the tournament structure in this early stage of the tournament.

The Middle Stage - Consolidation

Things become different after the re-buy period. The blinds will increase making sometimes as much as 25 percent of an average stack to see the flop. Many players will be playing much tighter and be careful than they had been in the early stage. You have to wait for the big pairs or high cards of the power hands. You will not get enough pot odds to support playing drawing hands.

Your weaker rivals will not make this modification and will keep playing hands like Jack, 10 suited, which can be a strong hand in a limit game with many callers. You can take such kind of advantages.

If the game becomes face-to-face and your rival has a short stack and you are deciding a call, you should raise so that your rival has to put them all in. Now he has the option of either calling or folding. If he loses, you have knocked him out of the tournament. However, because he was short-stacked the loss should not frustrate you even if he wins.

If your rival has a much larger stack than what you have then in that case, you need to consider what you know about that particular poker player and play accordingly. Always remember good tournament players will also be cautious of your stack size, and they will play you accordingly. As far as possible, try to avoid the face-to-face situation with a strong tournament player who has larger stack than you.

It is likely not suggested to try this with weaker rivals. Suppose you played well and you make it to the final table. As play continues, suddenly the table has only final four. This is a short-handed games, and many of your rivals at the table are not skilled. Now this is a very good chance to knock them out of the field.

The Last Stage - Final Table

To the end of the tournament, there will be a large difference among the stack sizes. There will be few players without many chips and few players with large stacks of chips. At the final stage, most players along with you should be picking up the spots. Pick your spots aggressively. Don't force yourself to play in multi-way situations but play aggressively in heads-up situations. This is true if you have a larger stack and your rival has a small stack.

When the game becomes short-handed then play it as short-handed game only. Play your hand aggressively and at the same time also be careful. You should be betting not calling unless you are trapping someone. Any two big cards have more value. Any one big card has value. The blinds are so high that on any hand you and your rival are at risk of being eliminated. There are more blinds stealing at this situation. You should certainly get your share. Pick your spots where your rivals are showing weakness and extract more money from them. But consequently be careful and don't get yourself into trap. With a best poker hand like AA, KK and so on, be the trapper. Don't fear of slow-playing because you are not likely to get drawn out like in a low-limit game.

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