When tournament season begins, most poker players have one thing on their mind: who will be the last player standing? And while the experience of participating in a live event or a tournament poker online game can be exhilarating and mind-blowing, it can also put a lot of stress on one's psyche, and not everyone can handle that.
Handling yourself at the tables for a long stretch of time requires some preparation, both physically and mentally. If you approach the games in the right mindset, you might be able to outlast all of your opponents and remain in the game till you burst the bubble.
Follow the advice of the experts and do your best to keep your seat in the next tournament you join!
Best Tips for Surviving a Poker Tournament
Poker pros, like Daniel Negreanu, have had great success at poker tournaments, and they have a lot to teach you about how to handle yourself at the tables if you want to potentially win some money. Here are some of the most important tips expert poker players shared about how to make it far in the best online poker tournaments (and live ones):
- Choose an event you can handle – Most poker tournaments host different types of events, each designed to appeal to a different kind of poker player. Choose an event that suits all your preferences: the poker variant you're most familiar with, a buy-in you can handle, and so on. If you choose the wrong kind of event, you might find yourself either underwhelmed and thus bored or overwhelmed and unable to keep up.
- Start slow – The main difference between a tournament and a regular poker game is the fact you're competing in a marathon and not a sprint. You need to be patient, don't try to make big, bold moves straight off the bat. Instead, use the early stages of the tournament to learn more about your opponents and how they play, and do your best to grow your stack slowly but surely.
- Protect your stack – If you have a successful run at the beginning of the tournament, your first instinct might be to throw caution to the wind and make bold moves as you have enough chips to back you up. And while that is technically true, putting your stack at risk in the middle stage of the event is irresponsible. If you manage to protect your stack until the bubble, the value of your chips will rise exponentially, and you will be able to use them to apply more pressure on short-stacked opponents.
- Use the right gambling strategy at the right moment – One of the main reasons players feel stressed when they join a tournament is their inability to be flexible when it comes to strategy. If you manage to adopt a more laid-back approach to poker, you might be able to switch tactics depending on the stage of the tournament and your position, thus increasing your chances of staying in the game for longer. More often than not, the beginning of the event requires a tighter strategy, but if your opponents are also stingy with the hands they play, you might need to play a bit more loosely to draw them out of their shells.
- Prepare yourself for the long haul – If you're lucky and you manage to remain in the game for quite a while, you might find yourself seated at the tables for hours on end, day after day. That can put your body under a lot of pressure, so you should do anything within your abilities to make the physical aspect of the even more tolerable: wear comfortable clothes, eat nutritional food, avoid sugary stuff that might make you too jittery, etc.
- Don't allow your opponents to rattle you – Poker tournaments are as much about your mental state as they are about your physical ability to sit at the tables for hours. Mind games are a pretty big part of these kinds of events, and usually, those who manage to remain calm during the game are the ones who reach the bubble. So, when playing in a tournament, don't let your opponent get in your head. Use any tactic that works for you to remain as calm as possible, and you might just win first place!
Are You Ready for Your Next Tournament?
Learning how to cope with the different stress factors involved in poker tournaments is crucial if you want to have a money finish. Do you think that you know enough about tournament strategy to succeed? You will never know if you don't try!