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Poker Strategy | Tournaments Strategy

Choosing The Right Tournament

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It's Not All About The Cards

When deciding what tournament or tournaments to play in, there are several factors that you need to consider before sitting down at the table. The first and foremost concern is bankroll considerations. This is so important that I am going to spend an entire chapter talking about it. The real short answer is if it's going to take a significant portion of your bankroll, unless you have a very good reason for doing so you should not play in the tournament.

What are some other factors? A lot of it depends on whether you are playing live or online, so I'm going to break these down into two parts.


Live factors


1) Bankroll considerations – see next chapter

2) Venue – how close is the event to your home. The closer it is to your stomping grounds, the more comfortable you are likely to be. This can be a two edged sword... you might be so comfortable that you play too loose or you might have an edge because you know the players that you are playing with so well. There is also the additional bonus of not incurring extra expenses such as travel and lodging for playing in this tournament.

3) Structure – some live tournaments have very fast structures that turn the tournament into a haphazard game of bingo in no time. Before playing in a tournament, find the structure for the tournament and make sure it is in line with what you are comfortable with. If it's a fast structure, understand that you're going to require more luck than normal in order to have a chance at pulling off a profit.

4) Buy In – this ties into bankroll considerations but is also a factor for other reasons. The higher the buy in, usually the better the structure will be and accordingly the better the play will be. Lower buy ins typically bring in fresh faces who might be playing their first tournament or are just there to have fun. This can be good and bad. Good in the sense that you will be able to take advantage of their mistakes. Bad because you will have to avoid numerous minefields and have some good luck if you are going to navigate your way through the field.

Online factors

Bankroll considerations, structure, and buy in all play a significant role in tournament selection in online tournaments; venue does not, however, as you will be playing from the comfort of your own home. This in itself is a factor, though, as distractions such as television, friends and family, e-mail, surfing the Web, and the phone ringing can lead you to play less than optimally. If you're sitting down for a session of poker, try and treat it as if you were going to a live casino. Shut off the television and close down all the extra programs you have running on your computer. Tell your friends and family that you are playing and that you need to focus.

One of the bigger advantages of playing online is the ability to play in multiple tournaments at once. I'll spend some more time later discussing this and how to deal with it properly. This does allow more flexibility though. If you bust out of a tournament in the first hour, your day isn't over like it would be if you were playing in a live tournament as you can sign up for another tournament.

The bottom line

When it comes to deciding what tournaments to play in, you have the ultimate control. It is your money and how much you pay and where you play is completely up to you. Try and pick a structure that you are comfortable with, one where you feel you will have an edge against the other players, and a buy in that makes sense for your poker bankroll. Most importantly, have fun!

News Flash

The IRS Scores Big at 2015 WSOP ME Final Table

The IRS managed to snag 34.13 percent from the payouts of the 2015 November Nine, totaling $8,467,091.

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