If you are in a poker tournament, then you know that strategy is critical. Having a way to handle the competition is going to serve you well. There are some advanced strategies you can employ to give yourself a better shot at performing well. Here are some of the best:
- Remember that when you are in a tournament, you aren’t playing the same way you would in a cash game. In cash games, tight-aggressive strategies are employed at all costs. In a tournament, think of the goal: to last until the end. That means that aggressive strategies may not work best for you. Always consider that chip building is the goal in a tournament.
- Aggression has its place though. Don’t put your aggression away when playing a tournament because it still can serve you well. Many times in tournament play you have a run of bad hands and fail to win pots as a result. It’s easy to get anxious and disappointed. Don’t let it happen. The aggressive play you employ during these times can turn your luck around. Try to position yourself against tight or weaker players. They may be the too-patient players at the table.
- Know how to spot weak players. Have you ever been at a table with someone who waits for the strong hand and then starts making huge bets on the flop? They anticipate everyone staying in the game so they can win. This is a weak player. Hone in on him or her and start to push him around. Raise his or her blinds and steal the hand. Of course this can pull out the other good players who know what you are doing, but at least you’ll know where the weak ones are and who the good players are too.
- If you are mid- or even short-stacked, you may have to push all-in to the pot. Even if it takes a high percentage of your chips to stay in, you should do it. First of all, you want to stay in the tournament and stepping out isn’t going to help your cause. Second, it can also help you to win the pot and build your chip count, another activity that you need to stay.
- At a multi-table tournament try to avoid showdowns. The reason is because you likely won’t have the edge enough times to remain in the tournament, which is still your primary goal. Your odds just aren’t high enough to keep pushing to showdowns and staying solid at the table.
- Maximize your equity in using the fold. Going all-in stops your opponent from making a call that is difficult, especially if he or she has less chips on the table than you do. If a player dumps all chips by checking a hand and then calling all their chips off if someone pushes, consider your next move carefully. Don’t wait for them to push, do the pushing yourself. If you are taking the call regardless, this is a strategic way of gaining some fold equity over that player. Even if it is small, it still gets you more chips, which is the goal.