Critical Poker Tournament Strategy
You're bored with single table games and now you want to play in a poker tournament. A poker tournament requires different strategies than in single table games. Poker tournaments feature cutthroat competition and once you lose all your chips, you're gone for good (except in rebuy tournaments).
For this reason, a poker tournament requires specialized strategies, as well as patience and discipline on the part of the player. If you haven't played in a poker tournament before, you'll have some difficulty applying these strategies, but they can be learned quite easily.
Once the poker tournament starts, you should know how to compute for the pot odds. Knowing the pot odds will give you the ability to make decisions suitable to the prevailing situations. Computing for the pot odds is pretty straightforward, and can be done by comparing the pot amount with the bet amount you are about to call. So if the pot is worth $50 and your bet is $5, the pot odds are 10 to 1.
Don't hesitate to fold if the situation calls for it. In cash games, you can afford to play every good hand you have, but not in a poker tournament. If you're not too confident about the strength of your hands, it's better to fold and wait for stronger hands. A poker tournament is a test of patience and playing every halfway decent hand you have is a sure way to defeat.
Understand bubble play and use it when you're approaching the top of the prize pool. Being on the bubble means that you are close to the level of the top prize winners. Playing on the bubble doesn't mean going tight and refusing to play your cards. Just play your game like you use to do but apply new strategies for bubble play. Be aggressive against tight players but don't be too careless in the hurry to make it to the money pool. Don't give up your blinds just to stay competitive and just stick to your strategies.
What if you're in the bottom rung of poker tournament? Every poker tournament player has experienced being in short stack situations at some point. The key to staying in contention is to adopt a more desperate tactic or a push or fold attitude when your chip stack is about one-fourth of the average chip stack.
Don't wait for good hands to come your way, because most likely you will no longer be around to play them when they arrive. If you get a fairly decent hand, such as a pocket pair, go all-in. Fold low suited cards and other poor hands, but don't be afraid to fold decent hands if doing so will keep you in contention.
Use your skill in computing pot odds to determine whether to call or to fold. When you're on the bubble, play tight against big stacks but be aggressive against short-stacked players. But when you're the short stack, play decent and semi-decent hands and go all-in. You have to lose but everything to gain in this situation.
Finally, think your options well and base your decisions on what's happening at the poker table. Play smart and adapt your playing style and strategy on whether you're on the bubble or on a short stack situation. This way you can easily handle critical situations in a poker tournament.