Arnold Snyder and Dan Harrington are both authors of some of the most popular NL holdem tournament books on the market today. They both definitely know their stuff as each has won not only in poker but in blackjack and backgammon as well. I wouldn’t try a number crunching contest with either of them.
At the core of each of their most popular poker tournament strategies is a consideration of the “zone” or the “effective Mzone” of the tournament. Good thinking poker tournament players will recognize the useful Mzone concept as well. However, there is a big difference between the optimal and the aver sized Mzone any player is in at any given time.
The reason for this is simply because the game of holdem is more aboutcus than just settling for any old ace.
Most of us know the basics of holdem. The AA-JJ hand is the basis of almost all of the games at the poker table. We have played with hands like these and know that they aren’t easy to play – you’ll probably lose your whole stack first if the flop doesn’t hit you like the Setting plus the A-5 off suit start to fall out on the river.
So besides just the basic fundamentals of what cards to play and what your opponent can have, what kind of thinking goes into actually playing a tournament?
First of all you have to look at what your job as a poker player is in a given moment in time. If you are playing in a tournament for ring games,792nd over all of the other players at the table you are trying to do the absolute identical thing as the other players. Throw in the fact that the ace off suit starting to fall, the guy who called the raise with pocket threes showing, the guy who re-raised with pocket 4’s… Lets Roll.
If you’re playing for first place in a tournament you are playing against a very determined group of individuals. Hopefully you have better hand selection ability than them, thus you’ll nearly always win first. But no matter how you want to play, at some point all six of you will have similar hands and you’ll have to play your hand the way you are suppose to play it.
Knowing that you are going to play a hand differently than the others at the table, based on hand selection, position and chip status, will help you to become a better poker player.
Obviously, the more information you can gather about your opponents hand ranges the better. How old is your stack compared to the other players? How many blinds do you have left to play? If you have more chips than someone, but less then them, you can be more aggressive in betting with you strong hands.
Poker is a game of psychology, if you can gain the psychology advantage in playing the game, deposit 20 bonus 20.
Many players will use a lot of psychological tricks and tricks in order to try and get the table more in their favor. It is important that you know the signs when an opponent is trying to psychological battle you. Instead of trying to defeat your opponents with tricks, seek to just coolly adjust to them. If you just sit back and relax you will have far greater success in these types of games than trying to psychological battle.
The next thing to be aware of is if you are being bluffed out of your stack by someone. If you feel your bluff is not going to hold up, is it worthwhile to call?
I’m sure you are thinking of this already, but it could still come back to mind.
Bet on the turn every once in a while, if you feel comfortable with your hand. Even though it doesn’t make it any better, it is a good betting pattern for when you are not confident with your hand. This is also a great way to help establish table character. Betting on games like this is also a great way to try and drive out people that may be in the same hand as you.
Knowing when to give up on a hand is also very important. If you are playing against someone who plays very loose and you have the better hand, you shouldn’t hold out if the betting is getting to high.
Finding the right table with the right poker game is also very important. If you are playing against very good players who are often lax when it comes to standard playing practice, it is likely that your only chance at winning may be when you do better against them.
Finding a fairly loose game can also help you adjust better to the turn and the river card when playing. Being able to play with a fairly loose table, is a way to help you find a more comfortable playing environment, one that is easier to play in.
Finding an opponent who is a calling station can also be good because you can at least be in decent position to be able to attempt a bluff against them.