How to Win Poker Tournaments
Saturday, 17. December 2011

Poker tournaments offer an interesting choice for poker players. For a small fee, poker players can join a tournament that can let them win big money. Although most players associate tournaments with professional poker, a number of smaller, satellite tournaments are available to many skilled poker players at all levels. Tournament poker play is very different than a friendly game at home, though. In a tournament, the player who runs through their chips is eliminated from play. In a tournament, then, you need to gain chips and stay in the game even though other players will be working hard to deprive you of your chips.

To win at tournament play, before a tournament you will want to make sure you know all the rules and understand the way the tournament will work. If a tournament is a `freezeout` then you will only have to pay the initial fee. If a tournament allows add-ons or rebuys then you need to know the fees as well as the fees for getting more chips through these methods. You will also want to know what the prizes are and you will need to know whether the tournament ends at a specific time or whether it continues until one winner or several winners have been declared. You will of course need to know what the antes and minimum and maximum bets are to see how much play will cost you and how you will need to use the chips you have.

At the beginning of a tournament, you will likely play slightly aggressively if the tournament is a freezeout because you will want to eliminate other players quickly. If add-ons and rebuys are allowed, then you may be willing to play even medium-strong hands to build your chips more quickly. If possible, you will want to build your stack of chips early in the game as much as possible. While you risk elimination this way, building your chips at this stage is relatively cheap and allows you to build a safety nest of sorts against later stages in the game, when your luck might be worse and you might need more chips just to stay in the game.

Mid-way through a poker tournament, many players will be eliminated and staying in the game will become far more costly. Carefully accumulated stacks of chips can be very quickly depleted at this stage. Most players will need to play very aggressively just to remain in the game. Players will need to stay in even with just reasonable hands just for the chance to win back chips.

If you are fortunate enough to make it to the end part of a tournament, you have done quite well. If you have plenty of chips at this stage, then you are doing very well and will want to play conservatively in the hopes that other players will be eliminated, pushing you closer to the prize. If you have few chips, you will need to keep playing aggressively in order to prevent elimination. Staying in the game will be expensive at this point and even a loss or two can deprive you of all or many of your chips.

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