Tournament Poker Tips

Hi everyone,

I thought I’d share a few of my tournament Poker tips with you. This guide / advice is intended for mostly new players to the game but It can be helpful for everyone.

  • Avoid the All In button unless you know you have the pot won - This is a key for me when I play in MTT’s unless I have 2 pair or better on the flop or If I’m short stacked and get dealt pocket Aces I’ll shove preflop. At the start of tournaments especially in low buy in event’s or Freerolls there are known to be bingo players. Unless you know you have them beat don’t call their All In. Remember, things tend to settle down with bingo players shortly after the first few levels which brings me to my next piece of advice.

  • Patience Is Key - For the most part I don’t play many hands the first 3 or 4 levels of a tournament because there is no ante at that point in a lot of tournaments I play in. As a Poker player you should be thinking of how you can get the most chips when you play a hand. It doesn’t matter if you win them preflop or on the river and honestly it doesn’t matter if you had the nuts or nothing as long as you win the hand. In MTT’s you have to pick your spots at times when your not getting dealt great hands especially if your becoming the short stack. For example tonight I played in a Freeroll and I was getting short on chips and was dealt J 9 of clubs I was hesitant at first but I decided to go for it and luckily got a flush to double me up in chips.The point is you need to be patient and pick the right spots to play certain hands.

  • Always be aware - At all times in a Poker tournament you need to be aware of the blind levels , chip stacks and players remaining. This will be critical at times and will affect your decision making. If your not properly aware of something you could inadvertently make a mistake that could cost you the tournament.

  • Avoid Distractions! - This can be tough when your playing online but you gotta tune out anything that distracts you. Trust me if you get distracted it will affect your game and decision making and not for the better. I often put a radio station on and listen to the music which helps me stay focused while playing Poker.

  • Look for patterns in your opponent - Do they always seem to bet the same amount each hand? Do they make small bets when they do have it to get you to call? Do they make monster size bets when they’re bluffing? You should be looking for patterns in your opponent and you can use them to your advantage later on. Information is key in Poker.

  • Look for leaks in your game - Are you giving away to much information? Get upset at a bad beat? Can’t bluff an opponent? Your opponents will use your weaknesses against you. After a tournament go Replay some of your hands and look for any flaws in your game so you can make the adjustments so those flaws won’t hurt you again.

    I hope these tournament Poker tips help you out. Feel free to share your own tips / advice!

-Marc

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Good post, Marc.

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very good advice marc, I got hammered yesterday and I thought I was playing smart, but I was calling too many silly hands with high cards that never hit… will try your advice next time thank you very much

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Excellent thread Marc, I followed your advice and actually finished on a win last night! Where do I send your commission!! :cherry_blossom::notes::tulip:Kate

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That’s awesome Kate congratulations on the win! Glad my advice helped!

-Marc

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On low and medium stakes tables, shove all-in with AA every time. You will almost always get 1 or 2 callers, which is exactly what you want.
You can’t do better pre-flop than a maximum pot with AA.

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Hey Marc

your advice seems pretty common sense, I would say im a novice at this game but seem to do all your tips already. although im still trying to get to read everyone better.

I do believe that this game is more about patience than anything else but luck unfortunatley does play a major part too.

Im looking for my first ever MTT win ive got to a few final tables and I think the best ive ever done is finish 3rd twice.

I will keep referring to this topic to see if it helps but like I said before I (think) I use all this already hopefully my luck improves and I show more patience because I do sometimes drift off with impatience LOL!!! GREAT POST BTW!!!

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i agree it’s mostly common sense, but i think you would be amazed how many people (especcialy at low stakes) are knowing it and yet not using it.
i think most people has some leaks they just know are wrong but use them anyway without noticing. so a little refresh never hurts :slight_smile:.

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I disagree with the first part of this advice… to some extent. Yes, when you’re 100 blinds deep, shoving all-in pre-flop is almost always a bad play, particularly with a middling pocket pair (say, 7’s or 8’s) and facing a reasonably-sized open (~3BB) or three-bet (~10BB). Sure, you might win the dead money in the pot, but you’re only realistically getting called when you’re a massive underdog. On the other hand, going all-in on the river, when the pot has built to 150% of your remaining stack, could function as a good bluff. This goes double if you’re near the bubble, and you’d be putting your opponent all in.

That brings up a tip that wasn’t covered in your post - ICM pressure. One chip in a tournament is not equivalent to one chip in your bankroll. Understanding the relative value of your stack, particularly as you approach the bubble or certain payout levels, is key. In some rare cases, it may even make sense to fold aces pre-flop - facing four pocket pairs preflop, you only have a 43% chance to win the pot, and you could jump up multiple rungs on a pay ladder if some of them get knocked out. As a result of ICM pressure, a large-stacked player can/should open with a wider range preflop near the bubble, while short stacks should play very tight, particularly out of position.

Another tip not mentioned in your post: don’t flat preflop. That applies in ring games as well as tournaments, but in general it’s just bad poker. It’s much easier to play one or two people post-flop, and by letting the big blind see free cards (and often the small blind cheap cards), you reduce your own odds. Raise it up, knock out the blinds, and don’t let your opponents into a hand for cheap. Further, you want to be able to disguise your range somewhat - if you only raise kings or aces preflop, and you just call everything else, then I know better than to call your preflop raises, and might even raise your calls to get you off weak hands.

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I try to win as many hands as possible. This is important in tournaments…

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Thanks for the feedback and advice @WannabeCoder! I appreciate it!

-Marc

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@Tomcat75 - I was in your situation a few months ago, having made it deep in tournaments, but continually getting stymied at the final table. It’s really tough to make the transition from playing 9-handed to facing far fewer players, since your preflop ranges and bet sizing need to adjust pretty substantially. When I recognized this weakness in my own game, I did something pretty radical.

For a month, I stepped completely away from MTTs, playing only heads-up SnGs. It was a fairly extreme transition, and wasn’t easy at first, but after a while I got used to it, consistently winning about 80% of the HU games at 10k or below (consistent with the tournament stakes I was playing at the time).

When I jumped back to MTTs, I found my final-table prowess had significantly improved. As the field thins, I shift my strategy and ranges to be more in line with my HU strategy. I also exploit players who clearly aren’t making those adjustments - they are more likely to fold decent holdings, and when they do bet, their hands are usually extremely strong.

It’s entirely possible you’re a faster learner than I am, so it may not take you a month away from the tournament felt to get a handle on short-handed strategy. Heck, you were able to recognize the flaw in your strategy and ask for advice, which is a major first step. Still, I strongly recommend hitting those HU tales to strengthen your final-table skills.

Best of luck!

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@Tomcat75 @WannabeCoder
Also play some 6 max and 4 max MTT’s it helps tremendously I usually don’t have to many final table issues except for getting there :joy:

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Anybody make “Notes” on opponents??? … I make so many that I rarely
encounter a table these days where I don’t have a note on at least one
of the players…

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It’s probably most helpful when you haven’t seen that person in a while…

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No way to know - would be cool to be able to look this up - But, I’m thinking
I may very well have made a “Note” on over a hundred of you out there…

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LOL… Wouldn’t it be cool to see what someone else has written about you???

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?

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There is a way. Click on the down arrow next to your profile picture, go down 11 items to “Player Notes” and you can count and/or read them all, one player at a time. No doubt some will be on me being me, lol. I don’t know, but assume RP staff can also read them if they wish. Good luck.

No, no that’s not true. A player cannot read notes about what another player has written. Those are private notes.

Can you imagine the chaos in the community if everyone could read what players wrote about other players.

I just followed Alan’s instructions and saw notes I made about others…
Nothing about me by others… Bummer…

Just for the record… IF I could read what’s been said about me, no chaos
would ensue… LOL… Then again I am fully grown up - lol…

What would happen IS I would become a way better player practically
overnight if I could learn from my opponents…

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Thanks, Marc. You made some excellent points, which I’ll attempt to use to brighten my game.

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What if you make notes and they get better the next time you play? :wink:

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“What if you make notes and they get better the next time you play?” …

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When I notice players at my table about whom I’ve written a Note, I read the Note…
Then, I add a new “Note” for ‘today’ indicating the type of tournament, and their
‘current rank’ as well as new thoughts about their play if different from what was
expected…

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I have noticed that one particular player, for example, is a ‘loose cannon’ in the
Rebuy tourneys whereas he is very tight in the High/Low tourneys… Sometimes
I see the same people virtually every day…

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Plus, I should add, I’ve been a touch-typist for over 50 years, and am very fast,
so it’s not a chore at all…

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Fact is, I have recommended and offered to pay for the Grand-kids to ‘take
the course’ and learn how to ‘type’… It changed my life - for the better, and
no matter what - for them, it can’t hurt…

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Thanks for asking, though…

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