Tournament Tips: Changing Gears

Poker Tournament Tips: Changing Gears
by Jason Green of

If you play poker you should know what changing gears means. Basically, it means playing at a different speed, either faster by being aggressive or slower and playing pretty tight being choosy on which hands you play and the chips you bet, if you attack the pot trying to steal it.

Generally, changing gears is a tip you can follow in order to get more chips by giving your opponents the wrong impression of the cards you hold. If you have been playing somewhat tight and you switch gears you can win some chips through some well-placed bluffs. If you have been making a lot of moves, your opponents on the table may lose a lot of chips to you if you wait around for very solid hands and then when you get them you act on them by betting strong.

In tournament play, the game will change considering that the lineups at the tables will change, players will lessen as they go out and the increased amount of money with the raised blinds will start taking effect as well. Because of these factors, changing gears can actually be more vital in tournament play than in regular cash play.

Here are some times in tournament play when you need to change gears.

When you are Playing at a Steady Table

If you have been at the same table for a significant amount of time and it looks like it will be that way for a while it may be good to change gears after a few rounds. The first few rounds are when the players get a feel for each other and at this time your opponents might have found out what type pf poker player you are. If you change gears at this time, it can help you in winning some pots and with a little lady luck on your side, when your opponents catch on to what you are doing, you may have moved onto another table with a lot of their chips.

When the Tournament Changes Stages

Various spots in poker tournaments will require you to play at different speeds. In the beginning of a poker tournament you will want to play tight and be stingy betting your chips, as you want to save them for when you have a killer hand. When you are close to being in the money, it may be a good idea to get into high gear, so you can take advantage of your opponents that are playing tight as their on the bubble. Try to double up before the blinds grow too big.

When your Chip Stack Changes

If you have been playing tight and have a big chip stack, it is a good idea to start bullying your opponents around with it. Since you have been playing tight you will have others thinking you’re a rock. You can take advantage of this by changing gears. Your opponents will think you always have something if you are betting, as you have been playing tight for some time.

When Your Opponents Know the Player You Are

If you are not getting any action on the big hands you have, you may be playing too tight even though you may be winning pots in an uncontested manner, which is a good thing. If your bluffs keep getting called, you are acting too much and it is time to change gears and slow down a little.