Tips to create bigger wins in poker tournaments
By Bob Garcia
Running deep in poker will always be a challenge, but following proven strategies will make it easier
Poker is more than just winning a single hand. Many poker players, especially newer ones, believe that the only way to succeed is to bring in massive pots and score big with crushing hands like a full house or four of a kind. However, the experienced players know that running deep in poker is about survival – figuring out how to collect a large number of wins, even if the pots are smaller, to make it to the top.
The problem with the one big win approach is that you are just as apt to lose it all, unless you have a guaranteed winning hand. Studying the odds and hand strengths will show any player how unlikely this is. Patience and learning how to capture wins that add even a small amount of chips can go a long way to cashing in tournaments. Open small and often and watch the rest of the table. In a game with antes, opening with about 2 1/4 of the big blind amount will need to win less than half of the time to be profitable.
Once the hand is in play, raising small and often is very effective, especially against weaker players. Since one of the fundamental rules in poker is understanding everyone else at the table, players should have a good read on the competition soon after the action gets going. With that, you will know who the weaker players are and when you can raise to easily capture the pot.
When you’re in the big blind, it’s important to always be ready to defend. To do this, calculate the estimated range that would be needed to stop an open-raiser from picking up an easy profit. This isn’t easy, since you have no way of knowing what your opponents hold, but, by three-betting or calling at least 40% of the hands against late position opens, you can put pressure on the other players, forcing them to think twice about their moves.