There are a few general rules
that you should follow when
playing
texas holdem poker
tournaments online. You will
find that utilizing these basic
guidelines for online poker
tournament play will help you
cash out more often and win
more cash.
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Online Poker
Tournament
Playing
Strategy
Tournament Poker Texas No Limit Holdem
Anthony Sangenito


There are a few general rules that you should follow when playing poker
tournaments online. You will find that utilizing these basic guidelines for
online poker tournament play will help you cash out more often and win more
cash.

The first thing to do when starting a tournament is to TURN OFF THE CHAT.
The chat feature can be very distracting and will take your focus off of the
tournament. Another problem with the chat feature is bullying and
intimidation by other players at the table. Do not get involved with someone
who is trying to entice you into an argument or confrontation over a hand or
your playing style. This will not help your poker game and will more often
than not cause you to have a grudge match with that player. Under no
circumstances should you ever play a hand just to try and get revenge on
another player at the table. This will most certainly lead to your demise at the
poker table. Simply removing this potential distraction from your game will
lead to better play and more cash outs.

In the early rounds of a tournament, it is better to play a lot of hands. The
reasoning behind this approach is to see flops when they are relatively
cheap. This is especially true for speed tournaments where the blinds
increase rapidly. When you have an opportunity to see a flop with a relatively
good hand, you should go for it. Of course, if someone raises large or goes all
in, you should immediately fold your hand. You would be surprised how many
times you can take down a pot with a mediocre hand.

As the tournament progresses, tend to ease up on the calling and play very
conservatively. Let the more aggressive players and callers play their hands
and eliminate each other from the tournament s you coast by. You will find
this strategy to be especially useful in regular structured tournaments where
the blinds increase every fifteen minutes. You have plenty of chips to let the
mediocre hands go and avoid being taken out of the running for the money.
It is not worth it to see your stack taken down because you did not want to
fold a mediocre hand. Always remember that if someone re-raises or goes all
in, they probably have a better hand than you. This is especially true of a re-
raise. Be very cautious when a player re-raises you. In a speed tournament,
where the blinds are increasing at a much faster pace, play more
aggressively as the tournament progresses. You do not have the leisure of
sitting back and letting the other players get eliminated before you. You will
not last long if you do not make a stand and play more aggressively as the
speed tournaments progress.

Always pay attention to the action at the table, even when you are not
involved in the hand. You need to see how the other players at your table
are playing. The aggressive player who raises every hand is a prime target
for winning large pots. Some players love to slow play their hands and trap
other players into raising with an inferior hand. There are also players who
play so tight that you should take a stab with a small raise if you have the
opportunity. Every player has their own style of play and you need to play
attention to this to take advantage of opportunities and avoid pitfalls.

As the tournament progresses and the number of players starts to get close
to the money, players generally tend to tighten up and play much more
conservatively. As the tournament nears the money, you do not want to be
eliminated. It is a crucial period of a tournament and most players will fold
their hands so that they will make the final table. This phenomenon is called
“the gap” and you must take advantage of this time period. Instead of
folding, push your chips a bit and put some pressure on the blinds. No one
wants to be eliminated near the payout time and players will more than likely
fold their hands even if they think they have a better hand than you. Of
course, if another player re-raises, you should fold to avoid being eliminated
so close to the money.

At the final table, your play should depend on the strength of your hand. As
the number of players dwindles, your ace with a ten or seven suddenly holds
a lot more weight. Play these kind of hands more aggressively at the final
table. Remember that the difference between first and second, and between
second and third is usually quite significant. In most tournaments, the prize
for first place is usually double second place, and the same for second to
third place. Be wary of the chip leader, who may call your raises with an
inferior hand in the hopes of sucking out and eliminating you. Play very
carefully against the chip leader, but do not let him intimidate you into folding
every hand and all of your blinds away.

By following these simple guidelines, your tournament play will definitely
improve over time. Experience will help you to modify these strategies and
apply your own guidelines as you learn to play better tournament poker.
Good luck in your tournament play and remember these simple strategies to
help improve your game.

Anthony Sangenito is an Accountant and avid, everyday poker player who
plays online & live cash games and tournaments.  Anthony writes articles for
his poker website, PokerPlayerPress.com and affiliate site
UltimatePokerForum.com.
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