7 strategies for poker tournaments

Any amateur poker player aspires to play at professional poker tables and international competitions. Dozens of poker tournaments are held every year for players of all levels, although the best known are those that bring together some of the best players in the world.

These tournaments represent the elite of poker and are the springboard to stardom for many of them, who end up consecrating themselves and going down in the annals of poker history. But nothing is achieved out of nothing, and the great champions have always been great students of mathematics and probabilities and have known how to get more out of it than any of their rivals.

This is where tournament poker strategies come into play, sometimes tremendously complex, where the players' ability to handle all the variables surrounding a poker game is put to the test.

To give you a closer look at the dynamics of these competitions, we've put together a compendium of seven of the best poker tournament strategies - that's how the stars win!

Avoid rookie mistakes preflop

The early stages of the game are a good time to start to get players to grips with the game, and the less experienced players will quickly be exposed for displaying a somewhat inaccurate style of play. It is common for the less experienced players at the table to begin to make some big mistakes, almost always produced by the false belief that they are following a winning strategy, when this is not really the case.

Focusing efforts to pay many flops waiting for the small pairs to improve is one of the worst poker strategies, for tournaments and for any minimally competitive game, because it will deprive you of having better hands in the most important stages of the game.

If we talk about online poker, this becomes even more relevant. It is essential that a strategy for online poker tournaments is simmered, well thought out and does not neglect the possibilities of the other players, since some modalities base their dynamics on the start of the first minutes of the game.

Study your body language and watch out for bluffing

It is taken for granted that any poker player with a minimum knowledge of the game understands that he must be aware of the opponents he is playing against, but in practice this goes unnoticed more than it should. Many poker strategies for tournaments end up failing because of not having managed all the variables, something that the most experienced will know how to take advantage of to fleece you.

The same happens with the online side of the game: in virtual poker, not being able to study the body language of the opponents, it can be more confusing to understand what their game is. Therefore, the margin for error in a strategy for online poker tournaments is usually smaller, since an oversight is more expensive.

Also, keep in mind that it will be the players to your left and right with whom you will be fighting for the blinds. Studying these opponents properly can expand your repertoire of strategies for the most competitive poker tournaments.

Use online poker games as a testing ground

Although online poker loses some of the essence of face-to-face study of the opponent, almost every online poker tournament strategy is going to be characterized by one thing: it is much more aggressive.

And that is because online poker works with other dynamics, and its game is usually much faster, which raises the tension more easily and causes that even the most experienced players can make more mistakes.

In addition, amateur online poker games are excellent test beds where you can try out new strategies and see if they really work. Best of all, this sort of simulation will closely resemble the real game situations you might encounter in a live fire game, so don't miss the opportunity to try them out to gauge their effectiveness.

Many of the best poker tournament strategies that have been part of legendary games have been tested in virtual games to see how effective they are under certain circumstances. This is an excellent way to improve technique and refine certain aspects of the game.

Keep in mind, however, that some online poker games have rigged rules and allow certain concessions that are not allowed in professional tournaments and high-level games. For that reason, it is best that you never extrapolate a strategy for online poker tournaments without having first put it into practice in a real competitive situation. Only then can you be sure that it can work.

Take advantage of the post-flop to get the best hand

Underestimated by some players with little to gain and much to learn, the post-flop is a fundamental part of the game. Based on strength, experience and dedication, the best poker players have understood that winning does not only depend on having good cards or executing the best strategy: it also depends on other aspects, such as the ability to adapt or make a correct reading of what is happening at the table, something that goes especially for online poker games.

The key to squeeze the most of the post-flop possibilities is that you play with your opponents to a tense game of cat and mouse, hiding your chances, but putting pressure on the rivals. You can show your threatening play by taking small pots in a short time with any kind of cards, increasing the stakes on dry flops.

It can also generate the opposite effect on the opponents, something that also benefits you. Maybe when they see you as a player who goes for small pots, they stop considering you a threat, although it is normal that they are nervous. All this can be very useful to get a good hand when they are no longer analyzing your game and do not let go until the end of the game. The probability of success of this poker strategy for tournaments is very high.

Adapt your game to multi-table tournaments

Multi-table poker tournaments, commonly known as MTT poker tournaments, are large competitions where several pairs of poker tables are brought together to run competitions simultaneously. Although they actually work the same as other types of poker events, sometimes it will be necessary to adapt the strategy to the MTT: poker in this type of competitions can present different formats and they are also very attractive because they allow you to play for huge sums of money for a small amount.

To give you an idea of the dynamics of this type of tournaments, we will tell you that the boom of online poker was preceded by the aggressive expansion of these competitions in the late 90's, a format that still has a large legion of followers.

Small pairs are always better at the beginning of an MTT tournament

Any MTT strategy in poker has to be adapted to the size of the stack, one of the fundamental aspects of multi-table poker tournaments. But something fundamental of this type of competitions is that, in order to receive the implied odds payout, players must hit their set, having the best hand. They just have to wait for the opponent to have a hand with which they are willing to go to the felt.

For this reason, in the early stages of the game it is much better to have small pairs, when there is a better chance that the pots will be multidirectional. And keep in mind that, when hitting your set, it's quite likely that someone else will have a strong hand.

Put pressure on consistently

The reason MTT poker tournaments have such a strong following is that they're perfect for players who like to press all the time during the game. Multi-table poker games are designed for players with an aggressive and insistent profile.

On the online side, the most experienced players are able to shape a strategy in MTT poker tournaments that allow them to manipulate the moves of their opponents, inducing them to make mistakes. The best way to put pressure is to win a lot of small pots, following up your preflop bets with nothing on dry flops.

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