Poker Tournament Tips For Beginners

In a poker tournament you need to think about staying alive If you’re interested in poker and have reached a certain level of understanding of the game, it’s time to try online poker tournaments. They’re fun and exciting, and you can win much more than you would in a regular cash game. Here are some poker tournament tips.


What’s The Difference?

Let’s talk a little about what a poker tournament is, and what the differences are between a poker tournament and regular cash games. Obviously, the game itself is the same. It’s simply poker, and all the standard rules and theories of the game apply. There are tournaments in virtually all categories of poker games, like Texas Hold’ Em, Omaha, Seven Card Stud, etc. The main differences have to do with the buy-in and the blind structure. In a regular poker game, you buy chips and can quit the game whenever you want and cash in your chips. This is not possible in tournaments.


Fixed Chip Stacks

In a poker tournament, all contestants buy the same amount of chips. Although each tournament has different rules regarding this amount. When you browse through the different tournaments that are being held, you’ll see that the size of the buy-in changes. This may seem trivial, but it affects your play. Because the fundamental rule of a poker tournament is simple: when you run out of chips you’re out of the tournament. So, the fewer chips you have to begin with, the tougher will the game be.


Blinds and Antes

In a poker tournament all players buy-in the same amount of chips. Don’t forget to see the question of chips in connection with blinds and ante. The other major difference between a regular poker game and a tournament is that the blinds regularly increase throughout the tournament based on a pre-set schedule. This is called the poker tournament’s blinds schedule. So what does this mean for your game plan? Well, the game gets tougher the more you’re into the tournament. A very good tip is to think carefully about antes and blinds and avoid going crazy with betting, at least in the first part of the tournament.


Know Your Hand Odds

The only trick to winning a poker tournament is to “stay alive,” which simply means holding on to your chips. And since blinds go up regularly, you really need to play it safe. And here we touch upon poker theory. To be able to win poker tournaments you need to have a good understanding of the winning odds of different poker positions. First of all, the two pocket cards. When you get premium cards in the hole, go to the flop. But if you have a low-rated pair of pocket cards, it’s better to fold. Even if you have a nice pair of cards beginning, stay out of the game if there are many raises and re-raises.


Train for Free

A good tip is to train your poker skills in the many free poker tournaments that are available. All the major casinos and poker sites offer free tournaments. The prize money you get in these free poker tournaments is naturally much lower than the real ones. But you will get decent practice, which is valuable for later play in tournaments that matter more. To find free tournaments, simply log into your favorite casino or poker site and browse through the tournament tabs. Sort the tournaments by buy-in value, and if there are free tournaments available, they will show up with a nice zero for buy-in.


Different Types

Don’t forget that there are many different types of tournaments. Beginners should start out with a standard Sit and Go. A Sit n' Go poker tournament is a tournament where you buy your stack of chips, sit down, start playing, and keep playing until you’re out of chips or the last person standing – in which case you just won the tournament. It’s the most straightforward type of poker tournament and the absolute best type for beginners. When you get more experience, you can have a go at multi-table tournaments. They increase your winnings but require more skills, not least multi-tasking skills. Your poker knowledge needs to be solid.


Choosing a Poker Site

One of the most important things at first is to choose the right casino or poker site for you. There are so many sites out there, and if you’re interested in poker tournaments, you need to go with a site that specializes in them. They are many, though, so you need to research this. We have our preferences, and we review these sites regularly. So, much of this information is available right here on the site. Find a few casinos or poker sites you like, and try them out. After a little bit of testing, you’ll find one that suits you.


Get Started Now

At the end of the day, the most important tip is simply to get started. Many beginner poker players fear poker tournaments. And, agreed, there are many things to consider. But if you hone your skills in the theory department and consider things like chip stacks and blinds you should get to a level of play that suits tournaments. The golden rule is to stay alive, not to risk too much. So, oddly enough, tournaments are great for more careful players.


If you are serious about getting started with tournaments, you should start by reading our guide for poker beginners here.