Professional poker tournament players are players who have enough experience to advise other players on how to approach their game in online poker tournaments.
In this article, we have dedicated ourselves to compiling some of the most useful tips for any poker tournament aficionado, so that they know how to shape their strategy and can begin to get the hang of these competitions.
Wide and balanced hand range
Every tournament poker strategy created by a professional player is based on the establishment of a wide and balanced range of hands. High-level players have a good understanding of starting hand ranges, and know the best ways to expand them in stages depending on the dynamics of the game and, above all, their position at the table.
What do they get out of it? To be able to play more aggressively, shaping creative strategies designed to keep opponents thinking while they are unwittingly being beaten.
One of the basic pillars of online poker tournament strategies is three-flush play. Actually, it is a concept that refers to long-term play, taking into account that high-level players always think about how to perform on later streets, anticipating the rest and thinking about their range of possibilities beyond the current hand.
Although in reality this seems basic, when we talk about the game on three streets, we mean to go a step beyond the mere anticipation. Because here we are thinking not about the next street, but about the last street, which means that preflop play, your approach and your decisions, will have a direct impact on the outcome of the hand and the end of the round.
Any tournament poker strategy that must be considered as valid takes into account the game on three streets, bearing in mind that a tournament is a knockout competition and that the aim is always to occupy a place on the list of qualifiers, which is formed on the basis of the volume of rewards obtained by each player.
In any poker tournament strategy, the metagame must be understood as a series of concepts and aspects that go beyond what happens at the table.
It serves to adapt the strategy in real time according to the development of the game, using perception as the main tool to achieve an ideal optimization of the strategy. By using these indicators of the metagame (the tells, for example), it is possible to improve decision making and demonstrate a better development in the game.
Bluffs and semibluffs, very selective
We cannot talk about poker strategies for tournaments without taking into account bluffs and semibluffs. Because they are basic, although they must be used with caution and a lot of moderation.
To get them right, you must have absolute control of the tells, playing with the perception of the game and causing a misreading of the opponents. Here, giving to understand what is not is everything, and that is only within the reach of very experienced players with a lot of experience behind them. Therefore, it is critical to gain experience in lower caliber tournaments beforehand. It is practically impossible to win a tournament without making at least one semibluff, and it is something in which experience plays a dirty trick because any player will know how to read them well.
As we mentioned at the beginning: position play is the basis of most poker tournament strategies. Playing OOP and not IP leads to failure most of the time, and the most advisable thing to do is to stay within the decisions that our position at the table puts within our reach.
Position, and above all, knowing how to take advantage of it, is something vital for a good part of poker tournament fans. They tend to be more aggressive in late positions, and use their advantage to steal pots or take control of the prize pool. In early positions, they tend to be cautious players and usually play with strong hands.
Image control at the table
What we talked about perception a few lines above. Knowing how to play with it is the key to unlock many strategies that will help you get more out of your hand, taking advantage of your position and expanding the possibilities of your range of options.
Keep in mind that opponents will also try to hide their true game, so working in a double direction, making a reading of the opponent while maintaining control of your own image, is vital to work with perception and image control during the round.
Calculating pot odds
We move on to the climax of tournament poker strategy: pot odds. Knowing how to calculate them is necessary to know the relationship and the probabilities that exist between your hand and the pot, measuring the real possibilities that you have of winning it. But to calculate them well you will have to show a great ability to adapt, especially because the data you handle can change drastically from one street to another.