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How to Play and Survive in Poker Tournaments

Nov 27, 2007
Poker tournaments are all about one thing, winning. However to win you need to survive, there is no point having 50% of the chips for the entire tournament only to get knocked out in forth place just outside the paying places. To increase your chances of surviving until the end there are a number of tips and strategies you should learn and follow.

In this scenario we will be playing in a 10 player sit and go tournament.

Firstly and perhaps most importantly is knowing your odds and above all how these change depending upon the number of players still in the hand. If you have two aces against one other opponent then you have over 80% chance of winning the hand. With these odds it is always worth betting and betting hard.

These good odds can change dramatically when you add more players into the hand. With three players your odds could lower to around a 60% chance of winning. Add in a forth player and your odds of winning could drop to just above 50%. Okay so you still have a much better chance of winning than the other players but remember in the early stages it is about survival. You could go all in but to do so gives you a 50% chance of going out of the tournament at this early stage. There are a number of poker odds calculators around on the Internet so study them and work through a number of scenarios.

Surviving to the paying positions is perhaps more important than having a larger stack. As you get to the last four players the style of game play changes dramatically. At this point the player with the highest stack will usually call more hands then they should. The player with the lowest stack will usually get called more hands then they normally would. Players with average hands might call the player with the lowest stack in order to knock them out.

Following the example above, the odds of winning the hand for the player with the smallest stack are significantly reduced. However it also means that should they win their small stack can quadruple in size in one hand. If they survive a couple of hands like this then they could quickly become one of the leading players. Additionally the player with the largest stack could quickly lose his stack if he calls too many hands. Patience is the key here, again work out the odds and only call the hands that you should.

In tournaments the style of play changes depending upon the number of players remaining. To enhance your chances of surviving learn about these stages and create strategies to guide you through these all the way to the bank.
About the Author
Matthew Smith has been playing poker online for many years with great success and now offers his expert advice to help new players succeed with Free Online Poker Game .
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