Online poker tournaments are always extremely competitive and they only pay off if you manage to stick through the early rounds and make it to the business end of proceedings.
A lot of great cash game players struggle to make much headway in tournaments as it takes a different state of mind, different strategies and a different form of playing style.
There are many mistakes that are commonly seen in both beginner and experienced players alike.
If you identify the issues that are plaguing your performances, you will be able to eliminate them and focus on getting much better results in the online poker tournaments that you play.
Here are some great tips on how to maximise the money you are making from online poker tournaments.
Keep things tight in the beginning
A lot of players make the mistake of playing way too many hands in the early stages of a tournament. While you do have a lot of chips to play around with and you want to see as many flops as possible to try and hit it big with smaller hands like suited connectors and smaller pairs, this is not an ideal approach.
In the long run this is not going to give you many good results. Just because you have a large stack to play with doesn’t mean you should forget your discipline and throw your chips away by pursuing weak hands.
It will not be a wise investment to call a pre-flop raise when you have cards like low suited connectors for example. You do not have the odds on your side to hit what you need enough times on the flop to be able to have it worthwhile to always pursue these types of hands.
This is especially the case if you are a relative beginner to the game, as it is a lot easier to misplay hands, especially weaker ones. You don’t want to be faced with a large second bet decision to make in the early stages of a tournament or else it could spell goodbye.
At the beginning of a tournament you very likely have about 100 big blinds to play with, but inexperienced people make more mistakes at this time of the event. You want to ensure that you are sticking to hands which can be easily played and allow you decent odds of winning a showdown if it comes to it.
These types of hands include big pairs, ace king or ace queen and small or medium pairs. For big pairs you will be hitting an overpair which is often the best on the table or you may hit a 2nd or 3rd pair.
AK or AQ allows you to possible hit top pair and have a great kicker or get nothing at all. Small and medium pairs allow you to either hit a set or to have a hand that is not worth much.
As soon as the flop comes you will see how you and your hand sit, something which is hard to tell when you are playing with weaker hands.
In the beginning of a tournament, sit back, play your big hands and stay calm. You can take this time to get some sort of read on those you are playing against. Some pro players don’t even bother playing the early rounds of a tournament as they bypass the risk of losing all of their stack in the early rounds, giving you the opportunity to make some possible profits.
A healthy stack in later rounds is a lot more valuable than having a bit bigger of a stack in the beginning but having a high risk of elimination.
Playing Good Poker So You Can Play Aggressive Poker
It doesn’t matter if it is the start or end of a tournament, playing aggressive is usually the playing style that achieves the best results. You don’t want to be limping, you want to be raising. Don’t call but re-raise and so on. The person that is setting the betting standards is the ones who will be more likely to make an extended run.
This is down to the fact that the caller can only win if they have the best hand. Those players who are making the betting can win by either having the best hand or by getting his opponents to fold.
While this doesn’t mean throwing away our chips needlessly on stupid decisions, you just need to play a hand aggressively when you have decided that you are going to play it.
A good approach to practice this is by playing a tournament without calling at all unless it is an all-in situation. Your only options otherwise are to fold or raise.
You will be surprised at how successful this sort of approach could be.
Make smaller bets with bigger chips
It is at the business end of proceedings in a tournament that beginner players often go awry by making mistakes that are costly.
While it is okay in the earlier stages of a tournament to open using a pot sized bet to even x3 the big blinds when raising 1st in, this can be a mistake in the later stages of a tournament.
You should be making only raises that are a bit bigger than the min raise at these stages now.
This is because when stacks are shallower, a small raise will still be nearly the same as a bigger raise but is not going to be as risky.
People are going to be stealing blinds and playing with weaker hands at this stage so you don’t want to be caught in a bad position and lose a large chunk of your stack if you are doing this.
While you do give your opponents better odds to call you, people are more concerned with conserving their stack at this stage than worrying about what odds they are being offered to get involved with a given pot.