If you play online poker tournaments at PokerStars or any other online poker room with good tournament action, then you know how difficult it is to reach the final table. These tips will help you improve your chances.
The first poker secret that most will not tell you is to observe your table.
To enable yourself to make a run in a tournament, you will need to know every person at your table and what hands they are playing. If they are playing more aggressively, then you can sit and wait for a hand and trap them. If they are playing passive and waiting for hands, then you have to avoid playing big pots with them.
To go deeper in tournaments obviously you will have to win the coin flips, but mainly you have to win the hands where you pick up AK. The players who win all of their hands when they have AK will most likely be the ones who thrive and hit it big in a tournament.
There is a lot of luck in tournaments at the end and approaching the money because of the levels, and amount of blinds and antes that get collected. To get in to the money isn't hard because more than half of your table is going to tighten up. To get a stack and really make a run in the tournament, you have to approach the bubble with an open mind.
To receive minimum cash in a tournament is not anyone's goal when they join the tournament; the ultimate goal is to win it. So, in order to do this, you need to pick up your aggression as the bubble approaches and maybe even stack off a few times. Making a lot of 3-bets before the flop and accumulating chips.
The best way to be able to get away with this type of play is from building a tight image. This image should build early in the tournament from when hand one is dealt and carry throughout it.
When the blinds are very small compared to stack sizes, you shouldn't be gambling all that much or moving your stack in without aces or kings, or monster flopped hands like sets or straights. The beginning of a tournament is the best time to observe your table, to see who will be there for more than the first break and who appears to be playing tight or aggressive.
When you figure out the players at your table, you can figure out the types of plays you will make at them. To go from there, you can see what ranges of hands they raise with and adjust your range of hands to play against to either be vast or almost fold every hand that isn't a big pair.
When the blinds escalate in tournaments, you must pick up the aggression regardless of if you have hands or if you don't have them. So, reading your opponents and picking up tells on them and betting patterns early in the game will really improve your chances of making a deep run.
Ultimately the best tip that can be given in a tournament is to play tight, always be observing, and pick up reads on the strength of your opponents hands because it will help you from making what could be a difficult decision to an easy one. These now easy decisions can help you make final tables and watch your bankroll grow.
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