Basic poker tournament strategy
- In tournament poker, it is important to understand that your chips are not worth the face value they represent. You can win any chip in the game, but you only get a fraction of the full potential, the full price pot value.
- The experts at Trueblue casino say that one of the most important principles to understand in tournament poker is that each chip is worth less than the previous one. In the real world, we know this as the Diminishing Marginal Return (DMR). This phenomenon gives us a good idea of how we should approach tournaments when formulating our strategies.
- What does this mean for your game plan? What should you look for if you want to win more? If your largest stack is 30% higher than the average stack in the field, you should be extremely aggressive, as the extra blind does not increase the real dollar value of your stack as much as the original.
- At the same time, you should stay away from large stacks that can compromise your tournament experience. If you are in the middle of the pile, you should try to choose a small pile that threatens to bankrupt – and try to eliminate it.
- If you open your mid pile in a late position and have no folding capital, pick a good fit and steal a small blind that adapts to your opening tendencies. If you have decent equity in the call, you should act as if you are all in it to win. With a short stack, you run the risk of being knocked out by almost everyone at the table.
- If you open up and call more forcefully, nobody can justify stealing wide, so you have to be more conservative when you think about pressing. If you open more loosely and call, you have a better chance of success.
The last component that has a strong foundation in a tournament is the pre-flop game, and perhaps nowhere is this more evident than in poker tournaments where the stack-to-pot ratio is small, meaning that it stacks less deeply and you are often forced to play it all in your pre-flop.
Since pre-flops are the first decision you make at the poker table, they are also the most important because they set the tone for the rest of the hand.
Intermediate poker tournament strategy
Most people consider short stacks to be 11 big blinds or less, but in poker, the game can be won by a series of short stacks.
The best way to do this is by using a push-fold chart that tells you which position to push your hand. This is easy to use as it shows how to play the ante and adjust the shove range depending on how many opponents are left. You can play by memorizing the slide frame in different positions and also the charts for each hand.
There are many proven strategies for how to win a poker tournament, but memorizing the critical push/shove information will enable you to play great GTO (game-theory-optimal poker) with ease.