A lot of people are drawn to poker because of the high stakes involved. And thanks to media coverage of poker tournaments, not only are poker players earning big bucks but they’re also becoming instant celebrities.
If you’ve been playing poker online and now feel that you’re ready to take on a LIVE poker tournament, then you must read the following tips. You know what they say, poker is not just about how Lady Luck smiles on your cards; it’s also a mental game and how you put your ‘poker face’ determines to a great extent how you win in poker.
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5 Tips to Master Poker Tournaments
You must be good at ‘tuning out’ other sounds and people. If the tournament is being broadcast, not only will there be a lot of media, but tons of other people too. This makes the place where the tournament is being held extremely noisy; often, with a lot of people shouting or heckling. As such, you must be good at tuning out these external noises. If not, you run the risk of being influenced heavily – and maybe wrongly – by others.
Tuning out also means trying to just focus on yourself and your poker hand; even if it’s not a busy or noisy room, focusing too much on the number of opponents left, how they play, who has how many chips, and others, disrupts your concentration.
Poker tournaments require faster plays at higher stakes. Realize that time is of the essence in poker tournaments. In such an event, you need to collect all the chips under a certain time pressure, while all the way increasing your bids. You don’t have a lot of time to ‘reflect’ here so you must improve your skills at ‘calculating odds’.
Follow the blinds. Not all poker tournaments are created equal so it’s important that you know the structure of the tournament you’re participating in. In general, play tight when the blinds are low at the start and stew on your seat as you watch and let the others commit their blunders. However, as the blinds increase, pout yourself in ‘game on!’ mode.
Improve your game by knowing how others play! This ability needs a bit of psychology. Remember, it’s not always the face value of your cards but how you play the game. Study your opponents. More often than not, people – including you! – will have a ‘signature’ move, those tell-tale signs that signal if one has a losing or winning hand. Some players are even easier to read because they simply only play a certain type of game. For instance, if you know that Joe simply likes to bulldoze his way and is mostly an emotional player, then you’re better able to gauge if his bluffing or not.
Flexibility is key. If you try to read others, you can bet that they’re doing the same to you! So the secret is to be completely unpredictable and try to throw them off. Remember, knowing how to play a tight game is equally as important as playing a loose game.
If you find that your face tells too much, then bring out the shades, caps and hood! They’re all pretty much accepted now during tournaments so you won’t feel like the odd one out.
There’s no mistaking that you can walk away with a ton of money from a poker tournament but as always, balance is key. Knowing how to play when, how to read opponents and how to throw them off is all part of the game.
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