An In-Depth Guide to Poker Tournaments PDF Print E-mail
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Friday, February 15 2019 13:21
A poker tournament can be a fun and rewarding experience for any player from novice to expert, but if you haven’t joined one before a tournament can seem like an intimidating commitment. Unlike at a cash game, a tournament requires you to commit a lot of time, energy, and obviously money, so you don’t want to go in unprepared. Choosing a Tournament There are several different kinds of poker tournaments to choose from with varying buy-ins. You need to decide what kind you want to join and how big of a buy in you can afford. It should go without saying, but don’t choose a tournament with a buy-in so high you’ll be stressing about losing your grocery money the whole time you play. It won’t be fun and your stress will take away from your strategy. The recommended amount of money to invest in any tournament for proper bankroll management is one to four percent of your bankroll.
  • The Elimination tournament is the one most people think of when they think poker tournament. Everyone buys in equally and plays until their chips are gone, thus eliminating them from the game.
  • A Shootout tournament is another common type in which each table plays until there is a single remaining winner. Then the table winners regroup at new tables and do the same thing again, and again, until there is only one remaining table and eventually one winner.
  • A Knockout tournament is one in which players have a bounty on their head. If you eliminate a player, you get to collect their bounty, and if you win the whole shebang, you eventually get to collect the bounty on your own head.
  • Some tournaments will allow rebuys, and are appropriately named Rebuy tournaments. Players in this kind of tournament have the opportunity to rebuy if their chips run out before a certain point.
  • There are many other types of tournaments to play including Satellites, Deep Stacks, and Time tournaments. Your choices will of course be limited to what is available to join in your area, but there is also the online option so it might be worth your time to see what the online casinos are offering in the way of tournaments.
Etiquette You want to be remembered for your skill and grace under pressure, not the gross (and embarrassing) blunders of etiquette that expose you for a desperate novice. Save yourself. Learn some etiquette. First and foremost, leave your cellphone in your pocket and turn the damn thing off. There is nothing ruder that some loudmouth who thinks everyone at the table is interested in what wisdom he has to spout at his girlfriend. Never hint, reveal, or talk about your hand. This is one of the most hard and fast rules of poker. If you show or talk about your hand it changes the way other people will bet and it isn’t fair. Don’t even talk about it after you’ve folded. Few things are worse at a poker table than some guy slamming his forehead down on the table or swearing loudly because he threw away a hand that would have won. It didn’t win. That is all. Have a little class and move on. When it comes to the pot, keep your fingers out of it. Your hands have no reason to be near that pot. When it is your turn to bet, place your chips on the table in front of you and let the dealer put them in the pot. If you win, let the dealer pass you the winnings instead of diving forward and coddling the chips toward you like a greedy dragon. The dealer’s hands and tools go near the pot. Not yours. Announce your actions clearly and loudly enough for the dealer to hear it. If you are going to raise, say ‘raise’ and if you are going to call say that too. If you put in a ten-dollar chip on a five-dollar bet wanting to raise five bucks, but say nothing, the dealer will assume it’s a call. Not only is it good etiquette to announce your action, but it can protect your money as well. Another important point when it comes to your turn is, don’t try to play when it isn’t your turn. The dealer will make it obvious when it is your turn. Trying to make a bet when it’s someone else’s turn happens more than anyone would like to admit. It’s embarrassing. Pay attention. Play All right, it’s time to play a tournament and it’s best if you go in knowing a little of what to expect. If you are playing a live tournament, you will be in a room with possibly hundreds of other players. All of them want to win and the tension will likely be high. Make sure you have had plenty of practice, because at a tournament you can’t simply get up from the table if you’ve had a few bad hands to save the rest of your money. Strategy during a poker tournament differs from regular game play in that it changes as fewer and fewer players are left over and the blinds increase. You may want to play fairly conservatively at first, but not so tight that you fold every hand and lose all your money to blinds. Be aware that many players will be playing tight at the beginning, so if someone is betting like they have a good hand, it is probably best to assume they really do. At first, if you can win the blinds even once per orbit you will be able to stay in the game. TIP: Do a bit of reading on tells. Tells are movements, expressions, and utterances that players do unconsciously and can give away what is going on in a player’s hand. It will really help to be able to recognize tells because you might avoid getting sucked into what you think is a bluff, but the player actually has a straight flush. It is a great idea to make sure you understand the lingo before entering into a tournament. Any amount of self-education takes away from the glaring obviousness of a newbie tournament player, and you don’t want to be obvious because the more aggressive players will eat you alive. Actually, they’ll eat your money. You’ll be alive, but your pockets will be considerably lighter. Aside from the hand rankings there are several terms which are helpful to know. For example: Orbit: One orbit is one complete pass of the dealer button around the table. Limping: Calling on every bet. Never raising. Time: A request made by the player to get a little more time to think. If you don’t request time, the dealer could kill the hand due to inactivity. There are probably a hundred or more terms used at a poker table so knowing what people are talking about will definitely help your game. Perhaps one of the most important things to keep in mind when participating in a poker tournament is to keep track of how many chips you and your opponents have. Always know how much the next blind is and stack your chips accordingly so you know how much you have to play with. This is part of proper bankroll management for poker games. It is also important to know the various stages of a poker tournament, which is broken up into the Early, Middle, and Late stages. In the early stage, everyone has a lot of money. This is time that was previously discussed as a good time to play conservatively. In the middle stage, many players have been eliminated and you will likely want to alter your strategy to be a little more aggressive. The late stage of the game is characterized by entrance into what is known as the Bubble. The Bubble is that crucial moment where if you make it through, you will be one of the finalists who takes home part of the pot. When you are in the Bubble, it is very prudent to shift tactics again to a more conservative game play, because if you make it through you will enter into a stage affectionately titled In the Money. Why is it called that? You guessed it. It’s because you have progressed so far that you will take home some money. The Bubble is undoubtedly the most stressful part of the game, so keep your head on! The last stage is the final table. Everyone at the final table will take home money. The big question is, how much? Play tight. This can’t be stressed enough. Don’t get a big ego and start playing foolishly because you made it this far. You have the chance to bring home some serious money. This is a moment for smart and ultra conservative strategy. Don’t challenge every player. Just keep your chips. Good luck! You’ll need that too. So the key points of entering into a poker tournament revolve around what brings success in any situation. Namely, education, caution, will power, skill, and of course (this is gambling here folks) a good deal of luck. And don’t forget! It is supposed to be fun! If you are well prepared, you are likely to enjoy yourself a great deal.