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General Poker Tournament Tips

General Poker Tournament Tips
by Jason Green of

Early Rounds - First Table

Early on in a Texas Holdem poker tournament you should plan on staying at the table for some time, as you may not be moved all-in at all if you are at the final table. Get comfy and get what you need to relax, as there will be a lot of action before you begin to move on in the tournament. Early on, actually, at all times, you should be aware of your opponents that are at the first table since you will be there for a significant amount of time. Be casual with your chips and try to steal the blinds when you have a chance. There is an old saying that goes something like, if you can win the blinds at least once every round during the tournament you will go on to win it. This makes sense and it is something to keep in mind.

Middle Stages of a Tournament

In the middle stages of a tournament you will want to pace your play, as it will be some time when a quarter of the people are off to the money tables. Be aware of your opponents chip stacks and take a mental note of what the average chip stack is. If yours is much lower than the average chip stack then you have to make some moves. However, if your chip stack is just a little lower don't worry about it and wait until you have a great starting hand to act, but do not act too strong, as with a killer hand you do not want to scare off other players and just take the blinds. The most important aspect of the middle stage of a poker tournament is to try to get into the money. There are some players that believe winning just as much as it cost to enter the tournament is not a good thing, as they want to go for broke. If you win your tournament entry fee back you will be eligible for a freeroll, where you can win a huge score. This is a great position to be in to give yourself the chance at the big bucks. In the middle stages of a tournament you need to pace yourself and be aware of chip stacks and make some moves if the blind levels are at 3-6 or 4-8. A lot of poker players are scared to play large pots and sit back and watch, but you need to know this is a mistake. At this point it is your chance to get more chips that you need to comfortably get to the final table.

In the Money

At the late stages of a tournament you are in the money and you can watch your opponents closely. Some of your opponents have game and others have Lady Luck on their side, but are not great players, as these are the ones to concentrate on to try to take out. These payers will pray that their luck stays with them. Often their luck will run out, as they are now in the presence of better poker players. You should respect these players but do not be afraid of them, as if you have strong cards, are in a good table position and have game those players will, probably, be scared of you and will go out soon because of it. You can fool around with these players at the final table to get a gage of how good they are, as you can bluff after you have been playing tight. On all real hands you should be paid off. The lucky players have been observing you and have not seen you bluff and they may think that you have actually been bluffing all tournament. You have to judge the players at the table and then come up with a strategy. At the final table really try to steal the blinds and be careful with marginal starting hands.

Weekly Tournaments

Online poker tournaments can be life altering events. Each week, many of the biggest card rooms around the net offer up everything from 100K tourneys to million dollar prizes. Sure, many enter and the odds are thin, but SOMEBODY has to win and why can't that somebody be you? Check out Bovada Poker and take your shot at something huge, like winning enough loot to buy a Ferrari or pay your house off!

Tips and Advice

Introduction to Tournament Poker - Loki covers everything from the buy in to prize payouts!

Cash Games vs. Tournaments - Hank Cashman talks about the difference between the two and notes that just because you're good at one doesn't mean that you'll win at the other.