3 basic tips for good poker strategy
Navigating your way through a poker tournament is like working your way through a maze or playing a chess match. It requires specific strategies and a bit of luck.
Of course, you can’t control your luck. However, you can choose your strategies.
Which strategies you employ depend on a variety of factors such as: the type of player you are, the type of players you’re playing against, how many people are in the tournament, your overall ability and much more.
Here are three basic tips for good poker strategy.
3 Tight is right at the start…but follow your intuition
Many experts will tell you in the early stages of a tournament that your mantra should be tight is right. They don’t want you to play a lot of hands or take many chances early. Your goal in the beginning is to just survive.
Sure, you should play better hands at the beginning of the tournament than you would in later stages because there are more players still in the game, and you don’t really know what anyone’s playing style is yet. This doesn’t mean you can’t take any chances.
You should also never ignore your gut. If your intuition tells you to play a hand, play it! It’s usually right.
2 Keep tabs on your rivals…and keep cautious
In the middle stages of the tournament when about half of the field has busted out, you must continue to play conservatively.
You should also pay careful attention to how much people are betting and in what position they’re doing the betting. You might be able to steal some blinds.
You will also open your play to include a few more hands such as suited connectors and low pocket pairs, especially if you’re at a tight table.
By now, you should know a little bit about whether you are or not. However, you still need to be careful. Don’t forget — other players might be loosening up at this time too!
1 Choose between survival or coming out all guns blazing
At the end of a tournament, you’ve got to play it to win it. You have to decide if you just want to survive ‘til the money or really be a force at the final table.
If you want to play in survival mode, then get as tight as you possibly can. Of course, you have steal blinds probably once a round because they’re so big at this point – and, depending upon the size of your stack, you may need the chips.
If you want to go for the gusto, you’re going to have to gamble. To paraphrase two-time WSOP Main Event champ Johnny Chan, ‘to win a poker tournament, you need to have ten lives. A cat only needs nine’.
When you gamble, there’s a greater risk of busting out. Of course, there’s the old cliché: no guts, no glory. You just have to be aware of the risks and rewards of your actions before you commit yourself to any particular course.
Remember there is no wrong or right way to play a tournament. If you’re flexible, vigilant and able to handle a few bad beats, you’ll do just fine. Now, get out there and play!