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The Strategy Of Playing Poker In A Large Tournament

Aug 17, 2007
When playing poker you often incorporate the same concepts and strategies into the different variants. Though the rules can change with each different poker variant, along with the strategy you use, the main betting concepts and hand strengths still apply.

What happens, though, when you go from playing one-on-one or with a relatively small group of opponents to playing in a large tournament? This article discusses some of the strategies of no-limit poker tournament playing.

Tournaments are often referred to as tourneys. In no limit poker, you are not presented with a fixed betting amount. This type of poker is usually played by experienced players, as beginners often make mistakes that could prove detrimental to their game. With practice and strategic development, this can be resolved.

So what differs an ordinary poker game from a tournament? First, in an ordinary game, if you win all the money, it is yours. In most tournaments, however, you may get to keep 30% of it. Also in a normal game, if you bust out you get more money out of your pocket, whereas in a tourney, when you lose your stack you are out.

In a poker tourney, all players pull against the short stacks. When a player busts out, all remaining players are one seat closer to winning the money. The idea of a poker tourney is to get to the final table and make the best of the opportunity.

The following strategies are important to understand when playing in a poker tournament verses playing in a normal game. The first is tourney status, how long to the final table. Since the objective is to get there, you want to make the best of every hand you play. Remember, this is about survival. You won't win if you don't survive.

Next is stack position, yours and theirs. Understanding your stack position is just as important as understanding theirs, as in some situations you can still win even with a short stack.

Next is position. It is important to understand the position of your opponents. Being able to read them will tell you a lot about what is going on in their games as well as in yours.

Picking up on the strategies and habits of your fellow players is also crucial. Are there tells you can recognize, and, can you depend on those tells to be valid?

No matter the strategy, remember that poker is a game of chance. There are strategies you can employ that will help you make important decisions about how to play the hand you have, or, sometimes to not play it at all, but the hand you have is the hand you have and even sometimes the best strategies won't help you win. Still, if played right, they can sometimes make all the difference in the world.
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