Tops Tips for Tournament Poker Play
OFC Poker games are often in a heads-up format, which means that two players are fighting it out, with the winner advancing to the next round and the loser dropping out. HU tournaments are common in all poker variants. A set number of players is allowed to join the tournament, often an even number. The players are then randomly paired and the first round begins. If there are odd numbers, then the odd player out gets a bye. Once you win, you wait for the first round to finish and are then paired with another player for the second round.
The trick to all heads-up tournaments is to play it slowly for the first few hands so that you can get a feel for your opponent, after all, for the next half hour or so, that opponent is all you need to think about. You should never look ahead, never check the tournament lobby and have thoughts like, “If I win this and then the next round, I’ll earn “xyc”. Keep money and thoughts of winning out of it and treat every game as if it was the final table.
If the player is tight and causing you trouble as a result, slowing things down, then just needle them. This might push them over the edge, and providing you don’t go overboard and are not offensive, it’s okay. If they are too loose, then tighten up. Frustration will get the better of them and they’ll either lose or will be forced to slow down.
In multi-table tournaments, which apply to all variants of poker, there is a way of playing that all pros adopt. You will notice that the tournament winners are never the ones who led the chip count early on. In fact, look at the winners of major poker tournaments and you will find that their chips are average or less in the early rounds. This is because you need to play it tight through these rounds. Once you get to the bubble, which is when everyone else will tighten, then you need to loosen up. Play fast and hard. Take risks. The vast majority of the time they will fold and give you the pot, because they don’t want to drop out so close to being ITM. The truth is that beating the bubble barely even doubles your money, so it’s not worth missing out on the opportunity to triple your chip count for such a feeble return. The shock of seeing you transition will also throw many of the other players who will automatically assume you have great cards for the first few hands.
One of the main things to consider in all forms of poker is your budget. Never play beyond your means, because that will lead to heavy losses, to frustration and then to more heavy losses. You need to think like a professional player, and not like a gambler. Many gamblers will loosen up when they are on a losing streak, letting frustration take over and losing more as a result. You need to do the opposite. Lower your stake, tighten your play. If you are winning, at which point many gamblers would take the money and run, then you can loosen up a bit. Don’t lose everything you have won, but use that luck and that confidence gained from winning to take you even further.
All of the best tournament players have a bankroll, and it is this that helps them decide when to increase their stake and when to lower it. Your bankroll shouldn’t be your savings or everything you own, it should be an amount you are comfortable losing, but an amount that will get you through enough tournaments to last you 6 months or a year. If your bank roll is $20,000, consider playing tournaments of $300 a go. If it is just $1,000, aim for $20 or so. Never blow it on a handful of tournaments and never let a bad beat trigger your anger and cause you to make a stupid move. In fact, to stop this, many players limit themselves to a weekly bankroll.
The main ability you need for a game of poker is patience. If you do not have it, then you can not become a successful poker player. All variants of poker require it, some more than others, and this is needed most in tournament play. In Hold’em you will have to fold hand after hand, not playing and watching others play before you sometimes for hours on end. In OFC Poker you will have to play hands that don’t win you any points and don’t get you anywhere, you will have you play poor players that don’t know what they are doing, going through the motions with them rather than knocking them out straight away. In all of these games you will need to sit for hours on end, playing the same game hand after hand. This will sound tedious to may players, but if you love the game and if your head is in the game, then it won’t. That is what poker is all about after all, and if you can’t spend your days, weeks and months playing this game, then you will struggle to make it as a poker professional.