1. The most crucial skill in willing a multi-table poker tournament is luck. If you join a poker tournament with 200 people you need to win more than your fair share of coin flips to win the entire tournament. Skill and experience can get you far, but luck is essential to win a tournament. A tournament player running bad can play an enormous amount of tournaments without cashing in. The variance in MTT’s is crazy and only a very limited number of players make their living playing tournament poker.
2. If you are already a successful ring game player you will need to adjust your strategy. In ring games you need to accumulate the maximum amount of chips. In tournament poker you need to collect all the chips under a certain timeframe and constantly increasing blinds. That means you must win chips a lot faster than in ring games and therefore play more hands.
3. Chips have relative value. In a standard poker game each dollar is always worth the same, while in tournament poker the chips have different relative value. If you start out with $1000 worth of chips these chips are worth a lot more than the next $1000 chips you are able to win. Since you are unable to buy you way back into the tourney, the last chips you have are always the most valuable.
4. Remember the Gap concept! David Sklansky introduced the Gap Concept with is priceless in tournament poker. The Gap Concept means, that you will need a better hand to play against someone who has opened the betting, than what you need to open with yourself. This basically means that you need a strong hand to call a bet, but only a semi-strong hand to make a bet. This is important to remember when stealing blinds an making moves.
5. Follow the blinds. Play tight in the beginning of a tournament. How tight you should play depends on the structure of the tournament you are playing. When the blinds are low you can sit tight and wait for other players to make mistakes, but when the blinds begin to rise it is time go get in there and gamble.
6. Position. Position is everything in no-limit Texas Holdem. Play tight from early position with a lot of people to act behind you. Play aggressive from late position and try to steal blinds with semi-strong hands.
7. Try to focus on the table you are sitting at. Don’t worry how many players are left at the other tables and how they have distributed the chips amongst them. Focus on your table and try to become the chip leader. You need to win all the chips anyway, so might as well start at your own table and worry about the rest of the opponents later on.
8. Try to read observe your opponents to get an idea of how they play and use this information when making decisions. A correct read on your opponents is a very powerful tool.
9. You need to survive. Remember you often only have one shot. If you move all-in there is no reload button and you will be eliminated from the tournament. One mistake can cost you the tournament.
10. Change gear. To be a successful tournament player you need to be able to know when to play aggressively and when to play tight. A great tournament player use position, reads on players, tournament structure, blind level, and many other factors to determine his actions. Use this information to determine when to play aggressively and when to play tight – if you want to win multi-player tournaments you will need to do both. Tight players do not win poker tournaments, the key to winning is a mix between tight play and loose aggressive play.
These are standard poker tournament tips. It doesn’t matter if you are playing in an online qualifier, satellite event, online tournament or live tournament. The tournament structure might differ but the goal is the same and every one of the above tips applies - even though the player’s skills might differ greatly. We hope these poker tournament tips will help you in your next online poker tournament