Early Tournament Play
Your play in the early stages of a tournament should be extremely tight. Most players think that since the blinds are cheap in the early stages, that this is the time to go in with marginal hands. NOT SO! In fact, the opposite is true. Since the cards are coming so cheap, now is the time to be picky about what your play with. One particular author I read went as far as to say that he only plays 2 hands in early tournament play, AA and KK. With both of these hands, he bets hard and does not try to trap. He would consider playing QQ in certain positions. While I consider that a bit too tight, it does make my point that early stages you play tight hands. You want to gain the reputation of a stone cold rock.
Hands that I will play in the early stages: JJ, QQ, KK, AA, AK suited. I will occasionally deviate from that list, but only in good position. I never bluff in the early stages of a tournament. Why so tight? This style of play will let the fish bust out, without taking you with them. How many times have we seen some schmuck stay in with 4 2 offsuit and flop two pair to beat a good players solid starting pair? It happens all too frequently in the early stages of the tournament. Even playing those top 5 hands, it can still happen to you, but hopefully a lot less.
Play ultra-tight early and do not bluff. Let the fish die off, without burning away your chips. Remember, only the top positions pay, and that’s your goal.
The new breed of poker players advocates an alternative strategy of playing more flops. They play a lot of flops early on, and when the flop hits them hard, they seek to clean up a lot of extra chips and build a stack that they can bully with. This style works well if the tournament starts you out with plenty of chips (100 big blinds or more).
Middle Tournament Play
After you have given the fish a chance to throw away their chips and you are at the table with fair and solid players, now is the time to loosen up and play your regular game. Your hope at this point is to rake in a good number of chips, so that you make it to the final tables with at least the average amount. Middle stages are also prime time to bluff at a few blinds. You have two things going for you in this case. First, as more players are eliminated, the thought that “we don’t have too far to go to make money,” begins to settle in on everyone’s mind. Many players will completely lock up as they move further into the tournament. Secondly, you have hopefully gained that “rock” tight image. A bet or raise from you will be respected. This translates hopefully into a few stolen blinds.
A word of caution: you’re still a good ways off from the money, and so a stone cold bluff with rags would not be advised. However, QJ, offsuit in late position where you only have one caller, or the blinds to go might be worth a raise.
In summary, middle tournament play should resemble your regular style of ring game play. You’re looking to gamble a little and collect enough chips to be a force at the final tables. If you bust out in the middle stages with good cards, then so be it. Better to lose it on a good play, than to make it to the final tables, short stacked and get blinded away to finish just outside of the money.
Final Table Play
Now we’re where we want to be. Hopefully you’ve made it here with at least the average amount of chips. One quickly finds that at the final tables, chip power is greater than card power. Again, the “lock-up phenomenon” is seen, as players have limped to the table with a short stack and are hoping to fold their way to the money.
Whats our strategy at this point? Loosen up even more! Be bold and take risks. Don’t play like an idiot mind you, but now is the time to put those short stackers all in, if you have a decent hand. Every person you knock out of the tournament now is very significant. In the same sense however, be careful of challenging the huge stacks, unless you have an excellent hand or they are locked up and letting their chips get blinded away.
Another final tables strategy is not to get locked up in multi-way pots. If you have a great hand, then by all means play it, but consider before jumping into the fray between two other players. Let the other two players do battle, and when one of them loses and gets short stacked, pick them off.
In summary, at the final tables, flex your chip strength, put the cripples all-in, play somewhat loose and take risks.
Even if you are exclusively an online poker player, there is still nothing quite like playing live, especially when it comes to tournaments. It can be an exhilarating feeling when you first touch the cards and stack your chips. But there are more differences between live tournaments and online tournaments than just the equipment. Here are a few to keep in mind when you venture out from the safety of your home.
One of the most glaring differences you will notice when you try your game in a live tournament is that the structures tend to be much worse than online. To the unsuspecting, it doesnâ€™t seem like it at first since live tournaments often have longer blind levels and larger starting chip stacks than their online brethren. But unless you love ultra turbos and playing short-stacked, you will soon realize that your everyday tournament at a casino is not nearly the skill competition that you would like to envision. The two main reasons for this are blind jumps and hands per hour.
As with anything in poker, what you will see from game to game, tournament to tournament, varies. But from my experience, players tend to be tighter at the outset when playing live compared to online. I attribute this to people feeling more committed to a live tournament, they made the trip to the casino and planned on making a day of it, so they donâ€™t want to bust out before they even get comfortable. Even if they fail to make the money, they want to stretch their entertainment dollar as far as it will go.
When we play online, we have all the comforts of home within reach. We can run to the fridge to grab a snack, take a bathroom break without having to run through the casino, grab a phone call, or watch television, Whatever we would normally do in our house, we can do while weâ€™re playing. We can even take our laptop with us if we need to change venues.
I personally enjoy playing on-line in the comforts of my own home.Â Test out your skill level by logging on to Playersonly.com and try one of their multi-table tournaments.Â It will help your skill level when you do decide to go to the casinos to play.Â Then you can choose what you prefer to play.Â Some people are better in casinos and some are better online.
Why Play Sit & Gos?
Sit & Go’s are a great way to earn a consistent profit and to keep your bankroll from the swings of cash games. One of the main reasons why I like sit & go’s is I believe there is a great skill in the strategy of playing sit and go’s. Sure you could be a great cash game player and win consistently but never seem to make the money in a sit & go.Â Another reason why I like playing sit and go’s is that it’s tough to go on tilt. Usually if you end up about to tilt you’re knocked out already by a bad beat so you have that important 5-10 minutes to cool down and collect your thoughts.Â In a cash game after taking a tough beat you are thrown into a hand within seconds and don’t have time to recoup and calm down.
What style of poker should I play?
Overall your goal is to play a tight solid game and only put chips out there for a reason and when you’re confident you’ll win the pot.Â You’re playing your cards, but more importantly the situation. I don’t care what you have, whether it’s 7-2 or pocket aces, you play the hand according to the situation not because some book told you to raise all the way with pocket aces.Â In sit and go’s it’s not about the cards, it’s about the situations. If you want to improve your sit and go game you need to listen and prepare to change your game up.Â I don’t care if you always raise with aces, or never lay down aces, you need to change your game or you’re never going to improve.Â So to sum it up, I guess there’s no set style of play or a name for it, you’re playing tight and being a hawk, waiting for the best situations to swoop in and pick up the chips.
What buy in sit and go should I play?
I would suggest you have at least 20x the buy in of the sit and go in your bankroll.Â No matter how good you are you’re going to go through stages of losses and you need a bankroll to sustain the swings.
Go to absolutepoker.com and try out your skill in these sit and go games.Â They are a lot of fun to play and does not take as long as the multi-table tournaments.
The river is where fortunes are won and lost in Texas Holdâ€™em, and it can be a stressful place in any game of live or online at absolutepoker.om.Â All the cards have come out, hopefully you know where you stand, and have at least some idea of where your opponent stands. If you can play the river at least slightly better than your average opponent, you stand a good chance of coming out ahead over the course of your poker play. If not, you could be in for some serious hits to your bankroll. Without the capability to make the right decision on the river, your long-term winning chances are practically non-existent more often than not.Â When youâ€™re last to act and facing a huge bet, all that remains is to decide whether or not you are going to see your hand to the end. If you have a borderline hand that is unlikely to win if you call, you will occasionally be lucky and get to show your hand down cheaply. On other occasions you will be confident that you have the best hand and raise all-in in the face of a big bet. But countless times you will have a hand that you think may be good but are not sure.Â There are no definite answers that tell you what to do in this situation, and depending on your opponent the answer to the question might seem contradictory. That said, here are some guidelines to navigate the action after the river.
A Big Bet Does Not Necessarily Mean a Bluff
There are many players who always go all in on the river with the nuts, even if it is a big overbet. They figure that there is a chance that their play will read as a bluff, and if they get called even one time it is worth it.
A Big Bet Does Not Necessarily Mean a Big Hand
On the other hand, a big bet out of context should be cause for doubt. If a player has been making no effort to build a pot and then makes a huge bet on the river, especially if the board shows a busted straight or flush draw, you should give serious consideration to the possibility that this player is on a steal.
If You Can Only Beat a Bluff
You should be reluctant to call a big bet on the river if you can only beat a bluff. Think of the range of hands your opponent may be betting with and see where your hand fits in. Consider the play of the hand and see if it is consistent with a hand that beats you. Sometimes your opponent will be bluffing and it is a great feeling to make a big hero call and be right, but often, your opponent will have the hand he is representing. Proceed with caution.
Pay Close Attention throughout the Hand to Avoid Difficult River Decisions
You should have an idea of what you are going to do on the river before the river card is even dealt. Poker is a strategy game, which means you need to be thinking a few moves ahead in order to be successful.Â You canâ€™t play each street in isolation, figuring that you will decide what to do when you get there. Before you call or make a bet on the turn, you should have an idea what you will do on the river if a scare card comes, if a scare card does not come, if your opponent bets big, if your opponent bets small, if your opponent checks. The more possibilities you consider earlier in the hand, the easier decisions will be later.Â Furthermore, you must be observant and consider the play of the hand all the way through. Try to put your opponent on a range of hands, and ask yourself if the way they played the hand up until this point is consistent with the big river bet. If it is, itâ€™s okay to lay your hand down. If itâ€™s not, you may have to trust your instincts and call.
Trust Your Read
There are a number of cases where you should be willing to call a big bet on the river. One is if the opponentâ€™s bet is not consistent with how he played the hand. If heâ€™s been check calling on a two heart board to the river and suddenly tosses in all his chips on a big overbet, thereâ€™s a good chance that he missed his draw and is bluffing. Of course, this may be what he wants you to think so there is some situational dependent thinking involved, but this is something to consider.Â Another is if you have a good hand and have checked to induce a bluff. If you checked hoping he would bet and he does, itâ€™s not time to get cold feet. Go with your read and call.
Test your abilities playing the river different ways with low-stakes play at absolutepoker.com.Â It’s a great way to practice and improve your poker skill.
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Bankroll management is an important factor in all forms of poker and used by all consistent winners.Â This involves balancing the risks taken due to the random dealing of cards by only using a small percentage of your total poker money on any one table. Multi-table tournaments have high â€œvariance,â€™â€ making bankroll management an even more important factor in this environment. The reason that multi-table tournaments are considered to have higher natural variance than other forms of poker is due to the â€œtop-heavyâ€ payout structure. The rewards are potentially very large, however the nature of the games means it is difficult to reach the final tables on a consistent basis. Think of it this way, if you reach the final table just one in 20 times and win 30 times your average buy-in each time then you are a very profitable player â€“ however those other 19 times may involve just a few small cashes, requiring a large bankroll to ride out the â€œswingsâ€.
It is suggested that 50 buy-ins for the tournaments that you play is a reasonable number for multi-table tournament players. The fact that you will often need to survive multiple all in situations to make a final table mean this will be a rare event. Having a large number of buy-ins has the additional benefit of allowing you to play a positive game without too much concern for the money spent.
Your â€œplayer typeâ€ will have an influence on your multi-table bankroll strategy. A recreational player who relaxes with the occasional poker tournament may be in a position to reload their account should they go broke. Conversely, an online professional who relies on poker for their income will need a greater number of buy-ins to protect against a particularly bad run. Finally, your style of play affects the requirements for bankroll management in the tournament environment. Aggressive players who take many risks in order to win may well be more profitable over time, reaching more final tables. However the inherent risk of busting out caused by this style will increase the possibility of long runs of no cashes at all, meaning more buy-ins are required. Players who stick to a solid style, taking big risks only once in the money, will usually make less profit over time as their stack will be small in the run-up to the final table. However this style is less volatile in terms of variance, thus requiring a smaller bankroll.
To summarize, multi-table tournament bankroll management strategy needs to account for the high variance in this form of poker. At least 50 buy-ins for the level at which you play is suggested for long-term profitability. Your player type and your style of play at the tables will affect whether you individually look to have more or less than this number.
Log on today to absolutepoker.com and deposit the right amount of bankroll needed for you to be successful at poker.Â Good luck at the tables.
The bubble is the stage in an online poker tournament where the last player that must leave the table will go home with nothing while the rest of the players are in the money. If youâ€™re playing a Sitâ€™n’Go with 10 players the first three usually are getting paid while the fourth place gets nothing. The bubble at a 10-player Sitâ€™n Go table takes place with four players. Log on to absolutepoker.com to win at poker.
The passive approach-â€¨On the bubble you want to avoid elimination so badly because if you go broke you will go home with nothing. Thatâ€™s why itâ€™s reasonable not to play any hands, avoid any confrontations and wait until the next player has to leave the tournament. If other players do you this favor you can win money with folding. â€¨ But this sounds easier than it is. What if everybody else is also playing passively and you donâ€™t have a big chip stack? Then youâ€™re in trouble and the likelihood of getting eliminated due to increasing blinds is high. â€¨ Playing passively only makes sense when you either have a big stack so you can afford to wait, or your opponents are playing aggressively and wildly. Then itâ€™s just a matter of seconds when the next one quits the tournament.
The aggressive approach–â€¨Most of the time the aggressive approach is way better. Not only can you put pressure on your passive opponents and surviving the bubble but you can also increase your chip stack thus increasing your chance to win the tournament. â€¨ But be cautious! You must not play wildly just to be aggressive. You have to select your aggression properly and put the pressure on passive opponents. Pay attention to your risk. Donâ€™t risk your whole stack and make small attempts to steal pots. No matter how many chips you have: if you canâ€™t select your aggression properly you can always be the â€œbubble boyâ€ who goes home with nothing.
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The other night I found myself in Atlantic City playing Poker.Â First, let me tell you that Iâ€™m strictly an on-line player that plays on absolutepoker.com and plays mostly multi-table tournament.Â But, Iâ€™m with a friend and we sit do down at a $2/$4 No Limit Holdâ€™em table.
After settling in for a while, I decide to play one of those speculative hands I like to play in a cash game, queen-jack of hearts.Â I scanned the table and notice a raise at the far end of the table. When the action came to me, I asked the dealer, â€œWhatâ€™s the raise?â€ I was quickly stunned when she replied, â€œ$24 to go.â€
â€œ24,â€ I said as I did a double take and looked at the dealer plate. It said, â€œ$2/$4 No Limit Holdâ€™em, $400 maximum buy-in.â€ Needless to say, I reluctantly slid that Q-J towards the dealer and into the muck. I looked over at one of my tablemates and he said, â€œThatâ€™s not uncommonâ€¦ In fact, the raises can sometimes be even bigger,â€ and my brain went into overdrive as I processed this information.
The point Iâ€™m trying to make here is, whether you are playing online or in a live game, you have to make the appropriate sized bet rather than an outrageous one. Whether youâ€™re playing for nickels and dimes at the micro-stakes online or youâ€™re playing in the largest cash games in Las Vegas, making the appropriate bet will, in the long-run, be the more profitable move than making a super large bet that runs everyone off the table.
The main purpose of a pre-flop raise is to state to the table, â€œI have a hand that I like.â€ It is not meant to discourage action on the table. In fact, when you have aces or kings, you actually want players to come along with you. Even though your odds fall off in a multi-way pot, you can be safely assured that, prior to the flop, youâ€™re in good shape and can make appropriate decisions post-flop.
By putting in a five, six, seven, or even eight times the blind raise, you are discouraging any action for your premium holdings and, as such, denying yourself the chance to make a profit from the pot. By making the standard raise, you are making your statement and maximizing your potential for a nice takedown.
Making the appropriate sized bet for the game that youâ€™re playing is critical to success on the felt, whether it is virtual or live. By over-betting pre-flop, you are only hurting yourself in the long-run.Â I would love to see you all on-line with me at absolute poker.
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A session of play with seasoned Seven Card Stud players can leave any beginning poker player running for the Sportsbook, which is much easier to master. This form of poker is truly a game for the pros, or at least for those that know what they are doing.
The ante is the cost to play in the game, and all players must put in the specified amount at the start of each hand. The Third Street deal is the first three cards dealt to each player. One card in each hand is dealt face up and the other two are hidden, ‘hole’ cards. The player with the lowest exposed card begins play. The game is then continued and is played clockwise.
Fourth Street is now dealt. That is the fourth card for each player, and it is exposed. The player with the highest value of the combined exposed cards plays first. He either checks or bets, and everyone else then takes a turn placing bets or checking. Fifth Street is now dealt, which is the fifth card and is dealt exposed. The first player to bet has the highest value combination of all three exposed cards. He checks or bets, then all players follow in turn.
This continues through Sixth Street, an exposed card, and Seventh Street, another ‘hole’ card. The Showdown follows if there are two or more players left. The Showdown is where the winner is finally determined for the round; now and then there are two winners, who will then split the pot.