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Here’s how to Plan your Poker Tournament Series!

You must win all of the chips in order to deploy a good poker tournament strategy. If you don’t play aggressively, you won’t routinely win more than your fair share of chips, and if you rarely have a huge stack, you won’t be able to maintain maximal aggression. This all seems obvious, but many players struggle to put this poker tournament strategy into effect since building a large stack necessitates playing big pots, which can be intimidating. Of course, this is correct, but it is also the spirit of the game.

Consider how terrifying it must be to willingly enter a human-sized cage with an ape-sized fighter who has been paid thousands of dollars to knock you out. Your only hope of winning is to ignore your anxiety and recognise that the other guy is just as terrified as you are. We can’t all be Bonomo, of course. If you’re anything like me, your failure to overcome that fear would prevent you from accomplishing what you needed to do to win the fight, so you decide not to play. Many of us, however, enter MTTs with the same dread and reluctance to do what is required to implement our poker tournament strategy, which leads to us being KO’d often.

In low stakes cash games, you should be using clever aggression to counter overly aggressive opponents. This will provide you with a tremendous advantage over more cautious players who are unwilling to let down their guard and fight for these chips. This will help you to make more constant final tables than they do. Be determined not to be a sitting duck, and as a result, You’ll have positive results. This is the poker tournament technique you should employ to combat lunatics.

Also Read: What are MTTs and How to Crush Your Opponents in Poker Tournaments?

Picking on the Big Bully

Most quality players will play a tight-aggressive strategy in the early stages of an MTT, similar to how they would play in a cash game. When the antes come in and the stacks get a little shorter, the aggressive players will start to get out of line in an attempt to win more chips than they deserve. If you detect a player on your right doing this, you should engage in combat with him.

Many people say that you should avoid fighting aggressive players and instead go after the dead money. The difficulty with this strategy is that on most flops, you can’t get many chips from a player that is just sitting there blinding off or playing fit or fold. While stealing these small pots will help you survive, it will not provide you with the large stack you’ll need to bully the table later. You’ll have to go after the ‘wannabe’s’ who are chasing the fish for this. Ascend to the position of an apex predator.

When you’re mid-stacked and have a few gambling chips to spare, pick fights with aggressive players on your right by 3-betting them small preflop or raising them lighter post-flop. This doesn’t mean that you’ll merely throw chips about with any two cards. You should call if you have a position that is clearly more advantageous as a call. You fold if you have J2o. If the choice is close and your card has any sort of good 3-betting potential, you should always go for the 3-bet. This accomplishes two goals. When the bully has air, it helps you to win some small to larger pots. Second, it creates a dynamic in which you can win a large pot if they opt to resist your aggressiveness with a borderline holding. This might seem like a lot of chips to some, but many people have recently had a lot of success as the shover or caller in this scenario, because whosoever wins this pot will be in a solid position to win the event.

The absence of a good bankroll is the single largest impediment to executing a decent poker tournament strategy and continuing in a huge pot against a loose opponent who is betting back at you. Many players have an unjustified dread of blowing a tournament as a result of this. If you know you won’t be able to pay the unavoidable bills, you won’t get in a cage fight. You’ll be less likely to let your guard down and attack. Likewise, not being correctly rolled for the tourneys you play will limit your desire to engage in x-bet wars with your when the opponents on your right go wild.

Also Read: Crushing High-Stakes Poker Cash Games with these 3 Unconventional Strategies!

Using your Stack

When you used to win a large stack, it was all luck and no skill. You were dealt AA by the Odds Gods, while some poor sucker was dealt KK. You didn’t want to be ungrateful and waste such a good fortune, so you played extremely tight after estimating that you have already had enough chips to win. This narrative has a happy ending, as we all know. Short stacks who were “certainly going out over the next few hands” always managed to hang on for the next level or two. Your large stack would have become a mid stack by the time the bubble burst, and failing one flip would have you battling for your tournament life. Clearly, this isn’t a winning approach for a poker tournament. A blessing that was neglected.

Here’s a tip: If you’re lucky enough to win a large stack, you should use it right away. At this point, you’ve turned into a chip magnet, trying to cram every chip into your stack. This is made easier by the fact that there is one less aggressive player at the table, and those who were considering becoming aggressive watched what happened to the last fool. The vast majority of them will remain out of your way and allow you to steal from the tight players whenever you want. Anybody who tries to throw rocks at the throne should be dealt with harshly. You’ll have a new piece of equipment in future fights that we like to term “large stack insurance” – you can smash them, but they can’t bust you.

Pivoting, when necessary!

Even while the smaller stacks can’t break you when you have a huge stack, they do occasionally have aces and you don’t suck out. When this happens, the huge stack insurance protects you, and your event life is spared. If the bubble is fairly close, you shouldn’t mind playing for a min-cash at this stage. If there are no bubble mechanics, you should adjust your approach based on the size of your remaining stack, which will determine the best poker tournament strategy for you. 

If you have a short stack, go all in or fold to try to go back to a mid-stack.

This isn’t to suggest that you’re rashly taking risky bets, but rather that you’re grabbing every +EV shove and call you can instead of betting or calling with cautious hands. 

Also Read: Essential Strategies, Rules, and Hand Rankings to dominate Short-Deck Poker like the Pros

If you only have a mid-stack, continue to pick fights with extremely aggressive players. Here’s where you’ll place your bet-fold wagers. In comparison to when everyone was mid-stacked earlier in the tournament, you’re less proactive with this at this time if the table has other alpha stacks. 

You may have to play my mid stack more like a short stack if there is already an established table captain. This is particularly true late in an event because most of the weaker players have already been eliminated.

Climbing up to the Top

If you’re fortunate enough to bring a large stack to the final table, you should continue to be aggressive – to a point. You’re still willing to open and 3-bet light, but you’re less willing to go all in light for a few reasons. 

For one thing, depending on the size of the pay jumps, the impacts of ICM on the final table can be massive. Earlier in the game, you might have called a big 4-bet shove with 88 or AJs if you thought someone was playing back at you. Due to ICM, you must fold these hands now.

Furthermore, if players are shoving light in this spot despite ICM, they will bust soon enough and you will be able to make money with no risk. This is the time to target those who aren’t fighting back. This leads to the second reason for not calling. The good players know how ICM affects proper poker tournament strategy and understand that they cannot fight back too much because of it; thus, when they do shove, they likely have a stronger than average hand. Even the worst hands you’d normally call off with may not be ahead of these tighter ranges. You should not try to pick fights as a mid stack on the final table. Thanks to others committing ICM suicide, you should be content to wait for good positions while you work your way up the payout scale.

If you take satisfaction in how frequently you mint cash, you’re playing a terrible poker tournament strategy. In the long term, you won’t be able to outpace rake and variance mathematically. Even if it were conceivable, your hourly wage would be quite low. On a vain quest to become poker’s first Min cash Millionaire, there is simply no way to duck and cover your way to victory. You must take a chance and fight back if you want to win. What could possibly go wrong? If you lose, simply sign up for a new tournament. Poker, fortunately for us, is not a cage fight. We always have another day to strive.

Also Read: 15 Best Poker Players of All Time in The World

Gaurav Sangwani
Formerly a startup journalist, Gaurav now works as a Content Manager & Writer for Mobile Premier League. A non-fiction author with a flair for technology & games. Gaurav has also contributed hundreds of blogs for different media publications.


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