Among all types of poker competitions, tournaments are among the most frequented by players of all levels. It is a unique type of competition, with a strong qualifying character, where the players who are in the worst position are eliminated until only one remains, who is the winner and the one who gets the final reward.
It maintains all the essence of cash games, but here the dynamics is different and the game is played with points. But the strategic component remains intact, so it is necessary to know the most used strategies and their probability of success in all kinds of contexts.
Join us for this brief review of some of the best tactics to play a poker tournament, and its strategies for advanced players.
Best poker tournament strategy
There is a difference between a winning strategy and a profitable strategy. They are different concepts that are sometimes linked with little success, and it must be clear that the basis for reaching these objectives is not the same, not by far.
A winning strategy can depend on many factors: the type of opponent, the way your opponent reads the game, the level of risk that you decide to assume at any given moment, etc.
But what happens is that, sometimes, you only seek to maximize profitability without necessarily opting for victory. Many times, it is not only a matter of playing aggressively and going headlong to victory: there are times when the difference between being eliminated and staying in the game is the competition.
One of the best strategies for playing poker tournaments is the one that has to do with short-stacks. Imagine for a moment that you are playing in a winner-takes-all tournament and there are four players who are still active while you occupy the small blind position.
The two players who have acted ahead of you discard their cards. You realize that you only have a high card. What almost everyone would do in such a case would be to fold without a second thought. Although it seems logical, this would be a huge mistake.
The best thing to do in this situation would be to go all-in, regardless of whether your opponents have read you or whether they have intuited exactly what cards you have. In some situations, it may be profitable to go all-in with certain hands uncovered, but it will be vital to know the odds that you are likely to come out on top.
Online poker tournament strategy
The so-called Sklansky and Chubukov rankings are the best to look for profitability to a play. It doesn’t matter what kind of opponent we are talking about or what his style of play is. It is possible that even if the opponent in the big blind plays perfectly against your hand, your play is more profitable than his.
It is convenient that you know with which hands you can go all-in profitably against a player who has no cracks in his game, and as long as it is taken as a reference that the only variable will come from the hand of the stack.
It is a good guide to determine the success or chances you have with certain cards, although it is better to take it as a mere reference because there are other ways to seek to adopt a style of play that does allow you to go for the win, sacrificing profitability along the way. Just the opposite of what we were trying to achieve now.
But you may want to have tips on hand to create your own winning strategy by resorting to more conventional aspects. Advanced concepts are fine, but given their complexity to be effective for a mid-level player, you may decide to narrow your search and redirect it to other aspects.
The basis of any online poker tournament strategy is to observe. That, and take little risk in the early stages. Because keep in mind that the stack will always have a lot of weight in everything you do because it will influence your chances of victory.
The change of pace is an aspect that you should not underestimate. It is a good way to make your opponent’s make an inaccurate reading of the game. If you want to catch them off guard and with a change of pace, changing gears suddenly can be a good way to make victory go your way.
Tournament poker strategy for advanced players
If you want to develop successful high-level strategies for tournament play, you may want to start by taking a look at the Sklansky and Chubukov rankings. But you can also opt for more concrete actions.
For example, a professional knows that in an MTT tournament the postflop is very important, while a less experienced player will hardly give importance to this phase of the tournament.
It is also possible that they are too focused on overacting, trying to give the impression of sophisticated play. Watch out for these players because they can confuse you with their strategies, but as a rule they are easy to read.
If you are looking for other strategies and tips, we recommend that you take a look at our article dedicated to beginner players, with tips for them to learn how to manage in their first stages of learning. And, if you prefer more advanced indications, we recommend you to take a look at our article where we tell you some tips for advanced players to improve their game and take steps towards a professional style of play.