The only way to acquire a winning poker tournament strategy is to create a plan, stick to it, and practice it in places that don’t cost you much money. To become an excellent player, and maybe make the final table (live or online), you must have a solid game and play within your capabilities. A tournament is no different from any other poker environment, but like any competition your ability to
concentrate and willingness to remain on plan will be tested.
If you want to develop these playing skills and strategies then playing online, in small money tournaments that still allow you to make something while you invest in honing your skills and play, is a good way to go.
Online Multi-Table Tournaments:
If you want to get a lot of action and therefore more opportunities to practice your game, then Multi-Table play is a good option.
Multi-Table tournaments can be very useful in building your skills and grasp of the game. Most online sites have a low entry fee, some
for about $1.25 with the winning prize around $17. This is a great environment for practicing your poker tournament strategy without a
Sit and Go Tournaments:
What is the major divergence in this type of game and the multi-table game? This style of tournament is more like a Final Table,
whereas in a Multi-Table environment if a player goes ‘bust’ their position can be replaced by another player. So just like a final table someone from another table, with a much larger stack, will not be moving to your table. In every other way your moves should be the same as your poker strategy dictates, which should take into account your stack, your position, and players, and of course your cards. Tight play in early position and loose later is the best play, so avoid what many do, which is to play very loose early when little is on the line, and then play tighter when you could be in the money.
If you are the Short-Stack:
Play a tight game and look for an opportunity to come. When you get a good quality hand then get behind it completely. If you have a
middle stack you should also play a conservative game, but when you get the premium cards play you have been waiting for then don’t
If you have the large stack:
In this case you should be aggressive in your betting against short or medium stacks. Neither wants to take you on, and this is a good
time to steal blinds and antes.
Some thoughts on making it to the Final Table:
If you are only a few players away from the final table play tighter since the payouts are much bigger if you make it to the Final Table.
Knowing this, of course will have the big stacks trying to shove you around. You can use this to your benefit when up against other
short or medium stacks, who fear getting eliminated. If you end up ‘heads up’ for the tournament then don’t forget that pot odds favor good starter cards, and the chance of drawing a hand rare.
Are Limit Tournaments different from No-Limit?
If a player usually plays in no-limit games they are used to the aggressive play, but have to modify their tactics some. With a limit it is harder to bluff and steal pots, since their entire stack is not at risk. If you have a good hand then be aggressive and play it with conviction.
Stay with your strategy and build your bankroll by playing quality cards. Be patient and don’t try to force play. When you get a high
quality hand you should push it. When you have a really good hand and the pot odds are in your favor don’t overplay it and eliminate
everyone too early. Many amateur players’ poker tournament strategies include playing very loose early in a tournament, so instead of following them, use it to against them. Instead of trying to steal the pots, call raises, and re-raise more often. Hopefully they will exit early and allow you to build your stack quietly. Later your opponents will tighten up their play and then you should adjust again and do the opposite.
Remember, the more you practice your strategy, the ‘luckier’ you will become!