Play in a single table tournament!
Want to improve your tournament game? Want to increase your experience in playing final tables? Want to learn how to win an event? If so play at a single table satellite! And when you do, pretend you are at the final table of the World Series of Poker Main Event. This will keep you grounded in remembering that every chip is precious. Playing satellite tournaments is great practice for the final table of multi-table tournaments. The strategies are very similar; with the biggest difference being single-table tournaments usually takes less than an hour to play, where the multi-table tournaments take any where from 4 hours to a few weeks to play.
Only play premium hands in the first 3 rounds!
The best basic strategy for the single-table tournaments is to play solid, playing only what are considered the premium hands in the first three rounds. After that you may wish to open up and play more hands, becoming more aggressive because the higher the blinds get and as the tournament becomes short handed, people generally play tighter.
Initiate the action rather than to just play along!
Be aggressive! Remember that it is much easier to raise or bet than it is to call. Be a bettor, not a caller. As a bettor you need to remember the bettor has two chances to win, the first being you might be able to make the best hand, and second, if your bet gets everyone to fold, you win an uncontested pot!
When short stacked know when to move all-in!
When your chip stack gets less than five times the size of the big blind in a no-limit tournament, consider moving all-in with any two cards as long as you are the first action in the pot. In this situation you are only betting that no one has a hand that they can call you with. If you do get called you might get lucky and draw out on them. If you aren’t the first one in, you are joining a pot with a player that believes that they may have a good hand.
When you are close to the bubble pick off the blinds!
In the late stages when you have a large stack of chips and it’s one or two spots from the bubble that means that you are close to the money, it’s easy to steal blinds and pots from players that are desperately trying to make it to the money. You can now play more aggressive in that situation and reduce your hand requirements because players will play tighter in this situation and you will be able to pick up some extra chips!
Opponents who’re overly aggressive make them pay and use it against them!
When you have a player that is overly aggressive, use it against them. Let them think you have a weak hand (by taking a long time to call and think it over – let a few tells slip that you have a weak or bad hand) when you really have a strong one. Check to them so they will bet. You will then have the option to check-raise and take advantage of their aggressiveness. In the case of a real big hand, check it a second time, and then re-raise and see what happens.
Real money games equal tournaments in the early rounds!
Play in ring games to practice for the early rounds of multi-table tournaments. The play here is very close to the same because you aren’t under any pressure from the blinds. So play ring games as often as you have the time because it will improve your play for the early rounds.
Be prepared for everything!
Make sure that you have a game plan for the tournament. Decide if you are going to start out playing tight in the early rounds or if are you going to play loose and try to gather chips early. Always make adjustments if you get short of chips, or if you get a large stack or how you might adjust to different types of players and their playing styles. Be prepared! That is the golden rule, be prepared!
Pay attention to you opponents!
Pay attention when you are playing, always observe the other players and pick out who will and who won’t defend the blinds. The higher the blinds get, the more valuable this information becomes. Remember the tight players are easier to steal blinds from. Be ready to take advantage of them.
Practice, practice, practice!
Practice these different steps and watch your poker skills/game improve. The more you practice, the better you’ll become and the better that you become the more times youi’ll cash. Always remember that luck happens and be a good sport. There is always another tournament and a lot more fun to come!
Good Luck in your action!