Tournament strategy

Ace of spadeIn a tournament, it can be 50 players and it can be 500 or even more. Obviously your goal cannot be always to win, but to be “in the money”. That means reaching a position that is in the prize list.

One of the big factors in tournament play is luck! You will in big tournaments need more luck than in a sit n go tournament. That’s because of the multitude of players and the many all in situations that you must survive.

You need of course also some specific tournaments skills. A big part of playing tournaments is to be aware of the structure that you are playing. Like in a sit n go game the blinds are raised in time intervals and this is affecting the nature of the game. In tournaments, the blinds will eventually get tremendous high and when this happens it’s very much about defending and attacking blinds.

Don’t be obstinate about defending your blinds, you must have hole cards that are meaningful to defend with. It’s usually better to steal. Because when you do this it’s you who are the active part and it’s you who decide when – in others words, you can attack the blinds in favorable terms. It’s thus a big difference to go all in and to call an all in. When you decide to raise big or to go all in you can by this action win without contest. An aggressive move can also give your hole cards a shimmer that often surpass reality.

Playing the conditions

Online tournaments on lower buy-ins are sometimes almost mayhem in two ways.
1) As already discussed: the tendency of numerous all in.
2) The second “absurdity” is shown especially in the beginning. Some players will become loose-aggressive players with kamikaze instincts. This is a psychologically matter that has brought them to the conclusion that it’s all or nothing. If you got lucky with the cards in these sequences you can be winning bigger pots than in most forms of poker.

The fact is that many players have a special (sort of understandable though) attitude in tournament play. They think: “I have already put in 300 of my 1 000 chips in this pot, what’s the use continuing with 700 chips against hundreds of players owning 1 000 chips or more? I will be eliminated in about an hour and that’s just waste of time – let’s go all in and hope for the best…” As you understand, you have great chances to collect a lot of chips in the early stages of a tournament.

Many players play on a rush in the opening stages because they think that if they don’t double up fast, there’s no idea to go on. If you follow this attitude you must rely on luck. Hopefully you have learned by now that the luck wins once and the skill wins twice. It’s much better to wait for good hands and then win big pots against the rushing players.

"The bubble"

If you succeed to be one of the remaining players when the majority has left the building you are closing in on the prices. Let’s say it was 250 players from the start, and now its 60 players left whereas 40 players will get “in the money”. The bubble is in this case the place number 41 and the situation that occurs now is like, metaphoric speaking, when you have been on the sea for a long time and you finally can see land. It’s just 20 paddles to make before you’re in the price list. So how are you going to act now? As gentle as you can to not let anything go wrong? No, if the water is calm upset it!

The reason for this is that when you are approaching the price places, many players get cautious because they don’t want to risk leaving so close to the prices. Consequently you are in a profitable situation. If you are an ambitious player you strive for more than a 37th place and the entry fee back, you are going for bigger awards. If this is true about you, in the long run you will gain more by utilize the bubble situation.

In this case, it’s important which player’s you choose to be aggressive against. The player with big stacks and the short stacked players are not the ideal opponents to show aggression against. The best is to attack players that don’t are desperate and cannot call your raise easy. These are the player’s with middle stacks.

After the bubble there are more phases in a tournament and in the article about sit n go strategy you can read about circumstances that are similar to the endgame of a tournament.

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