While poker tournaments have been around for a few decades now, they were not as popular in the beginning as they are today. People from around the world are tuned in to their televisions to watch the various telecasts of poker tournaments, and what’s more, everyone wants to participate in these exciting tournaments. This popularity is largely attributed to the introduction of the online poker rooms where people are now able to play poker tournaments as long as they have a computer and an Internet connection. As a result of this, many first time players and novices are willing to try their luck at playing in poker tournaments in order to gain valuable experience.
The first and most important thing to remember while playing tournament poker is that it is a completely different game from the casual poker game. Unlike in casual poker, it is impossible to quit when you are ahead and cash in your rewards. In order to make money in an online tournament, it is important to stay in and make a constant attempt at winning all the chips in play. The key to winning a poker tournament is survival, one mistake is all it takes to lose your seat in the tournament, and it is important to devise strategies based around this. Knowing when to play aggressively and when to sit tight is another important factor to consider while devising a strategy.
Most tournaments are often long drawn out, and can take days to complete. An important thing to do while devising a strategy for a poker tournaments is to begin by splitting it up into three periods – the Early, Middle and Final Period, depending on which table is being played. Each of these periods need a different strategy in order to tackle the various difficulties that you will face.
In the Early Period, the number of players will be much higher with a lot of players who are looking to spoil your game. At this stage, it is important to play an extremely tight game. This goes against the belief of many players who think that when the blinds are cheap, it is the time to be aggressive with marginal hands, but this could lead to you getting eliminated. While playing a tight game, it is often very easy to be a little too tight, but this is not such a bad thing, and depending on the game and the tournament structure, you will have to marginally modify your strategy.
Once you are through to the middle level, you will be playing with a set of good poker players, and some of the really brilliant ones. At this time, it is time to take your game up a notch and begin to play your regular game. The Middle level will allow you a little more free reign, and it is important not to sit back and wait for people to make mistakes, but to force the play whenever necessary. The middle period is the best time to build up your chip stack, and you will hopefully have many opportunities to do so. The middle period is also the right time to bluff at a few blinds. During this period, you will have a chance to steal a few blinds before you go to the final table. Play in the middle tournament should ideally be like your ring game style of play. It is critical to collect enough chips to make an impact at the final tables. Entering the final table without enough chips could lead to disastrous results, and it is better to bust out in the middle period with good cards.
When you get to the final table, it is important to realize that most of the players are excellent poker players, and there may be one or two players who got through with luck, but this table is most definitely going to be the toughest of the three, and you need to be mentally prepared for this. In the final table, the emphasis is mainly on the number of chips and they hold a greater advantage than the best of hands. The simple strategy to follow at the final table is to let the chips work to your advantage and play a loose game and take risks as long as they guarantee rewards.