Poker tournament games are different from the regular ones. There is a shift in players, tables break up in little time and even the goals are not same. In tournaments, a player’s strategy should depend on short, medium or a large stack and a few more things that are discussed below.
The theory of “Gap Concept” – Put forth by the famous writer of poker books David Sklansky, this concept speaks of the difference between two hands – the one that is required to call an opening bet and the opening one. While playing tournament poker, you need to be careful with your moves and play with a better hand against the betting opener. The gap width becomes big when your opponent plays tightly and becomes less when played loosely.
Size of the Stacks – A small stack means a smaller gap and one cannot risk chips with hands that are weak and by raising on your own. But, there are benefits that come along with small stacks. Your opponents will not gamble against you unless they have a strong hand because they won’t have much to win and you can actually be a successful bluff master. A big stack holder is not much at risk and can gamble well. It is little difficult for someone with a middle stack because there is a chance to become a small stack owner in the process of owning a big stack. Thus it is advisable to play poker with small stacks though having a big stack leaves you with a lot of options and you can bet and raise with your opponents and also put pressure on them. But, be careful or else you might get trapped.
The Stages – There are three stages to take care of. In the early stage of the tournament one needs to be patient and wait for good hands. A player usually has a lot of chips in hand and can try trapping opponents with weaker hands. Don’t gamble when there is a chance of you going broke. The middle stage asks you to be more cautious about your opponents and their moves so that you can bluff them well. You can open your game now and can take chances. When the last and final stage is reached, a big stack holder must start capitalizing. Play the aggressive way and steal as many pots as you can. It is advisable to go on smaller stacks now since you surely don’t want to go broke when you have almost reached the final spot. And a small stack owner should try doubling up. Go the risky way and gamble often but don’t lose your owned cash.
Table thought – Think of the image you have on the game table all the while you are playing. Get aggressive when there are just four to five players left as this might help you steal all the antes and blinds.
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