Did you like the first pieces of advice in Beginner’s Guide to a Live Tournament (part 1)? Here are some more useful hints.
Protect Your Chips
Protect your chips with everything you’ve got. At a live tournament, bluffing excessively and betting against poor hands will eliminate two from the game. Only risk your chips by playing the hands where you have a real chance to win.
Trust your perception and instincts. If somebody at your table is playing as if they have a great hand, play as if you will lose to them. Before you become familiar with the methods of your opponents, play more conservatively to protect your stack early in the game.
Pay attention to players who steal blinds at your table, as protecting them maybe, as vital as protecting your chips. If you believe a player is stealing the bids, consider a resteal. This will protect both your blinds and add to your collection of chips. However, these techniques should be secondary to chip protection the cause you run the risk of having your bet called or pushed in these situations.
Watch the Size of Your Stack
Risks should primarily be taken to maintain a larger stack rather than be required to save a dwindling stack. The last thing you need is to be forced to take the risk when it is not in your best interest.
If the average chip sets at $1000 and you have $600, any win will put to just above average. If you allow your stack to go down to $200, a win will still get you nowhere close to the average. You will be forced to take another risk and hope to win to get near the average, but you will still be below it. Each coin flip you must take decreases your overall chance of winning all of them. In other words, the chance of winning one coin flip is 50%. The chance of winning two in a row is only 25%.
If your chips start getting low, it is time to become more aggressive and take more risks. This doesn’t mean calling all other raises or trying to steal when your hand is less than decent. When the tournament nears the later stages, focus on raise or fold technique or, if your stack is low, push or fold.
Smaller stacks also make it virtually impossible to bluff anyone because you don’t have enough chips to back it up. Push pre-flop if the standard raise will increase the pot larger than your stack. Other players will feel much less force to fold if you can push $1,000 pre-flop.
Understand Your Goal
You may think that the only goal in a tournament is to win, but this isn’t the case. Professionals may want to win the overall prize, but many amateurs and less experience players only want to be in the money when the day ends. Different goals translate into different play styles.
If your main concern is having a positive balance at the end of the tournament, you can play more conservatively, decrease the chance of being at the last table, but walk out with a profit. People who covet a spot on that table and want to go for broke may take more risks and play more aggressively.
Know the Rules
The most frequently broken rule I see in tournaments is the oversized chip rule. This means, for example, if you throw a $100 chip onto a $25 bet it is a call unless you actually say “raise” before you throw it in. Always remember to speak your intentions aloud before laying down the chips.
Other rules can be broken too, which seriously ruins your tournament day. Before you sit down at a table to play, be sure you fully understand all the rules.
Understand the Structure
It is important to understand that ornaments blind structure in order to play most effectively. Aggressive structures, for example, should be met with stronger moves earlier in your game.
If you ask tournament officials, they should provide you with the information about the tournament structure. They may not let you look at a list or print out the information.
The majority of players in any tournament are amateurs and maybe beginners just like you. These casual players may put on an act of being serious or professional but really are not. As long as you understand how to play and will do your best, you do not have much to worry about.
Look at the tournament as an adventure, and focus on having a great time rather than winning the top prize. You should play poker for the love of the game and not only for profit.
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