The best Poker tournament tips
Feel like joining in the excitement of online Poker tournaments? We’ve got just the tips you need to take to the tables.
Do your research
Knowledge is power, so if you’re a complete beginner when it comes to Poker tournaments, the more you know going in, the better. It might sound a little boring or time-consuming, but time spent researching Poker tournaments in the short-term could be money saved or even won in the long-term.
So how do you do your due diligence before taking a seat at the tables? Just do a little reading first. Grab yourself a cup of coffee and sit down to learn about Poker hands, Poker terminology, the various Poker variants played in tournaments, their basic rules, and the etiquette of tournament play. While you’re at it, browse a few blogs and articles too to see what the experts say, and arm yourself with as much knowledge and inside info as possible. You’ll still have a learning curve to navigate when you play your first-ever tournament, but it won’t be quite as steep.
Keep your chips close
The best way to survive your first Poker tournament is by staying in as long as possible – and to do that, you’ll need to keep an eye on your stack. It’s simple logic – the more chips you have, the longer you’ll be able to stay in, so make sure you’re playing with a healthy stack, and you’ll better your chances of staying in the game.
What that means is keeping your cool, staying focused, and playing as carefully and responsibly as you can. It’s your first tournament so sure, you’re bound to make mistakes, but keep your decision-making as clear and level-headed as possible, and you could help to minimize the impact of those mistakes. Just keep your chips close and who knows – you could stay at the tables for a lot longer than you think!
Stay away from big tournaments
To start with, that is. Of course the bigger tournaments and the bigger prize pools are tempting, but if it’s your first time at the tables, what are your chances of taking the pot, realistically? When you’re just starting out, it’s a far better strategy to begin with smaller tournaments you have more of a chance of doing well in – and that means entering competitions with fewer players. You’ll gain valuable experience, and you’ll have a decent shot at some prize money too. Then once you’re more confident of your skills and more familiar with the tournament environment, you can upgrade to the bigger, more lucrative tournaments and see how you fare. Baby steps!
Be a nerd
You’ll be behind your device, no one will notice! No, we don’t mean work on complicated maths algorithms while you’re playing – we mean make notes about your fellow opponents as they’re playing. Jot down any observations about their game play style, any behavioural mannerisms you might notice, anything you think might be relevant, and that could help you either while you’re playing them right now, or in any future events down the line. Forewarned is forearmed, and the more you know now, the more successfully you could face off against them the next time you meet.
Use a HUD
Use a what now? Stay with us here. A HUD (or heads-up display) is an app you can use while playing Poker to collect and display information about your opponents while you’re playing them. It’s like taking your notes from the previous point to the next level – having the relevant info about your various opponents on hand visually to help you remember details you may have otherwise forgotten. Use the information and statistics to help guide your game play and your decision-making, and you could see your own play improve exponentially. Worth a try, right?
In the same way as it’s a good idea to start with smaller tournaments, it’s equally as good to start with low stakes play as well. Not only will this help you familiarize yourself with tournament play in a low-risk environment, it’ll help you manage your bankroll effectively as well.
While it might be tempting to play for huge stakes right from the get-go, resist the urge to play like a high roller the first time you sit down at the tournament tables. Instead, play for lower stakes, stay calm, avoid stress, and keep your bankroll as safe as possible for as long as possible. Use the low stakes tables as a learning experience, and you’ll later be able to navigate higher stakes tables with more knowledge and insight to back you. Short-term gains, long-term goals.
Pay attention to your bankroll
We’ve mentioned it a few times in previous points, but it deserves a spotlight all its own. Bankroll management is CRUCIAL in Poker tournaments, so it’s vital you pay attention to it at all times. With so many types of tournaments to choose from and so many types of stakes to play for, it’s essential that you keep an eye on your stack and ensure that you always play within your means. Calm, level-headed financial decisions will keep you in the game longer; impulsive emotional play won’t. So make sure to keep your bankroll healthy, and you’ll be keeping yourself happy in the long run.
Don’t get distracted
Yes, it’s easier said than done, especially with so many devices begging for our attention at all hours of the day. One minute you’re making a potentially huge Poker decision, the next minute you’re distracted by your phone ringing, and you inadvertently make a costly mistake. The best way to play? With all other devices and distractions turned off – no TV, no radio, no phone notifications, nothing but you and your Poker tournament to focus on. Remember that you’re playing an important game with your hard-earned money, and you want to concentrate fully on both at all times.
It’s also a good idea to stay away from alcohol while you play too, as tempting as it might be, as the more you drink, the less inhibited you’ll become, and the more likely you’ll be to make questionable decisions, which we don’t want. Instead, stay away from distractions, stay clear-headed and alert at all times, and stay in the game for as long as possible. This is your time to shine, so take to the tables, use what you’ve learned, play cautiously and responsibly, and above all, have fun!