Poker is a game that does not benefit from secret tricks or hacks but takes consistent and level-headed plays. There are, however, some tips that you can follow to help raise the level of proficiency that you play at.
Engaging in tournament poker can be a great way to build up your gameplay and rake in big bucks. Before you rush off to the latest gambling website –– where everyone knows that BetOnline Poker has a lot of tournaments –– let’s dive into some handy tips to take note of. Keep some of these in mind, and you will find the pot being yours more than you’ve experienced before!
Your Starting Hand Matters
Plenty of players often still enter the pot in poker with marginal hands of various varieties, despite the plethora of preflop hand resources. This suggests that many players are in the game not for the wins or the winnings, but for the thrill of the gamble. And if anything, that is great for those who want to take this seriously!
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Where You Sit Matters
Say you’re seated at the table earlier than the other players, how does that affect your chances? Being in an early position would conversely mean that there will be more players after your turn. This would mean that probability-wise, it is more likely that someone would be dealt an advantageous hand. You will then realize that the earlier you are at the table, you will have to play fewer hands, making your plays pretty restricted.
This would also mean that when you’re on the button you get to have numerous options in how you wish to play, as the position gives you the advantage of almost always being in line to call. For example, you can choose not to call a preflop with a hand like 5 clubs from the middle position. Although these cards may seem promising due to their straight and flush possibilities, they will end up costing you a ton of money. You’ll probably not even see a flop when the pot is re-raised preflop!
Mind The Size of the Stack
Being able to keep track of the stack size and modifying your style of play as needed is a must-have skill for tournament poker and will always keep you ahead of the game.
Going from short, medium, or deep, stack sizes, using the ‘M’ value to calculate stack size is often the most accurate way to figure the size of stacks. Short stacks often are unable to wait for opportune hands and thus will be utilized in any beneficial all-in scenario that occurs during the game. By implementing the power number system, you will be able to fully maximize short stacks and increase your poker proficiency.
Bigger stacks will open up the options of play to you considerably, though with increased difficulty in playing post-flop. This is particularly so on the button position, which allows you to switch things up, whether it be to tighten against seasoned players or to loosen against newer players (also known as fish).
Don’t Jump the Gun and Overplay Early
Especially in the early game, it is important not to be overly attached to your hand and play it when the situation isn’t perfect for it. Cautious players will be aware of their opponents’ hesitation to gamble their entire stack on hands like AQo that are not particularly strong. You may need to call your hands more or even consider folding, even with hands like QQ.
End Game Bubble Strategy
There comes a turning point in the game where everyone will begin to alter their playstyle –– that’s when you reach the tournament bubble. During this period, the payout dramatically increases and this will result in shorter stacks tightening up, with players attempting to outlast others to maximize winnings.
The Independent Chip Model (ICM) of play is a great way to take advantage of the bubble period and will help you stay in the game. There are numerous ICM calculators out there which can help estimate potential risks and identify areas to accumulate chips.
Size Your Bets Properly
Many factors come into play when determining the size of your bets. Who has the nut advantage and range advantage? Does SPR mean we have to adjust the betting strategy we wish to employ?
One common mistake players tend to do is to engage in small play. While tournament playing, it is oftentimes a good idea to never play slow and to make bigger bets. Many guides detail how to make the correct betting size for your hands.
Conversely, bluffing is another core aspect that needs to be considered, of which some rules help you do so efficiently. Keeping in mind that superior holdings often come from betting and that combinations can provide a solid backdoor potential, bluffing is often underutilized and underdeveloped by many players that can provide deep returns in games if you take the time to learn it.
Defending The Big Blind Isn’t Always Good
Defending BB wide does provide those great pot odds due to antes and small open raise sizes, but this jeopardizes the game’s equity realization.
Being blinded by those large pot odds often ends up having you hemorrhaging chips throughout the game, due to the inability to make enough frequent returns on your hands to be profitable.
It Pays to Not Be Late
The further into the game and the stacks, the steeper the skill curve is going to get. For those who are intending to develop that acumen, it is always a good idea to begin at the very start of the tournament and build up that sixth sense.
Targeting certain players that are often found during the early stages of the tournament is a great way to build up that stack. These players are often less skilled or are willing to take more chances and risky shots than those who play at a higher level.
No one likes to play a losing game, so do yourself a favor and incorporate some of these tricks into your games. There are several other ways to improve your game, from taking part in poker courses to getting a poker coach. There is a veritable amount of information and guides online, the most recommended ones being by Poker Nerve, which many new players who have gotten into the game credit their enjoyment and success to.