Playing poker tournaments requires a lot of patients, stamina, and a completely different strategic approach than play ring games. There are often hundreds, even thousands of players to contend with, all of whom are determined to knock you out of the tournament and make their way to the final table.
The payout for winning a tournament is usually tremendous. You can often win several thousand dollars in a poker tournament for which you only paid a $50 buy in.
The trick is getting to the money. Don’t expect to win every tournament you play. Even the best poker players are often knocked out before ever even reaching the bubble, let alone making the money. However, with the right attitude going in, and a level head, you can play several tournaments, and at the very least win back your buy in for most of them.
At the start of the tournament, you may see several players start throwing their stacks into the pot in an attempt to get a high chip count early on. This is a mistake. They are gambling with their chips and more often than not, they will be knocked out early.
Be patient, hold out for strong hands in good position, and don’t be tempted to get involved in large pots unless you are holding the nuts. Wait for the moment when you can catch one of these over-aggressive players with their pants down and take their chips from them. Remember, when playing at betting sites with online poker tournaments you have to make it through the bubble to win back you buy-in and at least break even for the tournament.
This is the point in a tournament when you have almost made it to the money. There are only a few players left to be knocked out before the remaining players are guaranteed to be paid. Poker play in the bubble is always intense, players are often very conservative with their chips at this point because they want to make it to the money. Don’t be too conservative though, there are opportunities to increase your stack size at this point. Don’t be afraid to make a few calculated risks.
The Final Table
If you’ve made it this far then you’re doing fantastic. Start of slow and get a feel for your opponents. Learn how they play and make no mistake, you are playing good players. They are at the final table for a reason. Watch for your openings and don’t be afraid to steal the pot when the opportunity presents itself.
Once you get down to the last two or three players, feel free to open up a little bit and start taking some risks. You will probably be able to steal some pots, and might just catch some lucky breaks on the board to lead you to victory.