Poker Tournaments both live and online give players a wonderful opportunity to pay a relatively little amount of buy-in and win a big payout. All poker tournaments are exciting and fun events that give you a lot of play for your money. There is nothing like a thrill of the competition to get the excitement going and no winnings in a ring-table can be compared to battling your way to the top position and walking away as the winner of the day.
Playing in poker tournaments however requires different strategy to one used in ring-games and a lot of good players who fail to adapt to such changes leave the tournaments empty handed. To begin with there are three distinctly different tournament periods, each requires different tactic of play. At the early stages of the tournament there will be plenty of fish around, towards the middle stage most fish will be gone a part of a few very lucky ones and at the end of the tournament you will be left with some very good players and occasionally with one very lucky average player. So tournament strategy requires changing gears as you progress through the tournament.
At the early stage of the tournament your best bet would be to play extremely tight. Do not be tempted to try to increase your chip count with marginal or weal hands while the blinds are cheap. You should only be playing the best starting hands and never attempt to bluff at this stage. Your goal for now is to wait for the fish to hit the rail and with cheap blinds you can afford to be very selective. Although this stage can be very frustrating as you will not taking part in a lot of action and folding many hands.
At the middle stage of the tournament you can start to loosening up a bit. It is a good time to take a few risks and bluff a few hands to turn your hard earned reputation of a tight, conservative player to your advantage. Your bet or a raise will hopefully be taken on with care and consideration. So take a little gamble. At this stage you should be looking for every opportunity to steal blinds, so if you have a good hand, you are on the button, players before you folded, you should be aggressive and raise. Your goal at this stage is to increase your chip count to enter the last stage of the tournament with at least average amount of chips. You don’t want to be short stacked at the last stage and get blinded out just before you make it into the money.
Hopefully you made it to the final table and have a fair number of chips. Now it is time to loosen up even more. You need to play like maniac though! Just be brave, aggressive and flex your strength. It is all about chip power now. This is a good time to push short stacked players all-in but be careful with big stacks as they will want to the same to you. If you are short stacked at this stage you must consider going all in when you have a reasonable hand as with blinds being so high you can’t afford to sit and wait for the next opportunity to arise, you will bleed your chips too fast and leave with nothing.
To sum it up: play very tight at the beginning, loosen up a bit and aggressive in the middle and get extremely aggressive at the end. This is a proven winning poker tournaments strategy.
Before you pay your first 0,000 buy-in for WSOP Main Event, it is a good idea to practice playing online poker tournaments. Online poker rooms offer a huge choice of different level buy-in tournaments, including some with guaranteed minimum prize pool. Many players have built up their bankroll through playing online poker tournaments and you can even qualify to big live poker events through online poker promotions and take your seat in the next WSOP, EPT or WPT to hopefully win millions of dollars in prize money.