Whether you are a beginner to online poker or you have a lot of experience, it is common for people to play in small stakes tournaments. These are events that do not require a large buy in, but still have a decent prize pool. If you are constantly entering into higher stakes events, your bankroll will very quickly diminish and you will be struggling to get the buy in for the next one. It is also a great way to build your skills in the beginning of your online poker journey.
With the advent of the internet, you can now play as many of these small tournaments as you want; they are literally running around the clock. This is great, as in the old days you would maybe to play in one every couple of days if you were lucky.
While they can be a lot of fun, they are also sometimes frustrating, as you are playing against different levels of experience. Many of the buy-ins go as low as a couple of dollars and with the thousands of participants in the event, you can potentially win a few thousand dollars if you manage to go all the way.
This is not a bad return on investment if you can manage it. This is why many experienced players continue to pay the lower stakes tournaments, as they can steadily build up their profits by accumulating high placings in these events over time.
To get an edge on your opponents the next time you play one of these small stakes events. Here are some tips that you should take note of and implement.
Be ready to go the distance
When you are playing in any type of tournament, it is important that you have carved out enough time in your day to give yourself a good chance of winning if you manage to make it deep into the field. If you are under time constraints, you are going to rush your decisions and be far too aggressive, which inevitably will lead you to tanking out in a mid-table position.
Usually these types of tournaments will take a couple of hours to complete, so you should be well prepared for all eventualities. This means that you don’t have any appointments to attend to and that you have adequate supplies of water and food if needed. This is especially true if you are playing at night, especially if you have to work the next day as you will not be able to catch up on sleep in the manner that poker pros can.
Expect Wild Variances
When it comes to smaller tournaments, there are so many participants that there is inevitability going to be a lot more variance than you may be used to. People will often try to quickly double their stack by going all-in on hands that they wouldn’t dream of doing so if they we replaying in a cash game. People tend to be a lot looser in the early rounds as they try to build a nice stack before the blinds start to get raised.
If you play in this manner, you may see success in the long run, but the short term could be rocky if you run into a bad patch and fail to place adequately at all. This is why you should have more than enough bankroll to be able to absorb these losses in the short term.
Don’t be afraid to fold big hands
When it comes to smaller stakes tournaments, a lot of the players will be very simply in their approach and tactics. They will tend to call along if they have a flush draw and if they raise big on the river, they have more than likely hit their flush. They can become very predictable when you play enough of these tournaments and you will able to spot patterns in their play quick enough when you have joined a table.
Don’t over complicate matters
When it comes to tournament play, it is often too risky to try and run a confusing bluff as it usually ends badly for you. Many of the players at these lower stakes don’t pay any heed as to what hand you may be holding and they only care about what they have and often times will not realize that you are trying to represent a certain hand. They will usually look to get to a showdown and defeat you there.
This is why playing simple poker and making value bets is the best way for you to go. In higher stake matches, the amount of value you get per hand is usually a lot lower. You can bet more the lower you go and a lot of the players you are against will call whatever you raise them by if they fancy the hand they are holding.
Often tactics and styles of play go out the window
When it comes to large fields, it is often wise to play an overly balanced style of poker. You do have to do this when it comes to cash games, but in tournaments you are constantly switching tables and opponents, so the patterns will more than likely not be picked upon by the style of play you are exhibiting.
Therefore, you do not have to try and hide your betting patterns as much. When you are against stronger players, by switching up the ways in which you make bets and what sort of ands you are betting with, you can confuse them somewhat and mask what your overall strategy may be.
This does not mean that you should be playing headless poker where you take unnecessary risks, it just means that you can back yourself more directly when it comes to your intentions and the types of bets that you are making.
At the end of the day, smart poker that is not overly complicated is going to see you earn solid profits from small stakes tournaments in the long run.