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Online Texas Hold’em – Cash Games verses Tournaments (Play Video Poker)
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Online Texas Hold’em – Cash Games verses Tournaments

August 22nd, 2006

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I received an email recently from a reader who was bragging that her Texas Hold’em game play has greatly improved, since she started playing in online sit & go tournaments. She went on to say that not only does she feel like she is a better player, she enjoys playing a lot more now that she’s gotten over her initial fear of sitting in at a poker tourney. This is not uncommon and there are a couple of logical reasons why.

First, when you’re playing in a cash game, it’s possible to lose your entire bankroll on a single hand. When this happens, you’ll have to make an additional deposit before you can play again. In tournament play, your entry fee buys you a certain number of chips (1,500 is a typical amount), if you go all in and lose, you’ve simply lost your entry fee and you most likely will still have some money left in your bankroll. Also, in most tourney’s multiple players will finish “in the money”. For example, in a typical single table sit & go tourney, the top three finishers will earn something. Meaning, if you make it through to the final three, you’ll win back your entry fee plus a little something extra.

Next, when you’re playing in a cash game; players tend to come and go. It’s frustrating to just start getting a read on a particular player then have them simply up and leave the table. Further, a new player is usually pretty quick to hop in and take their place. Now, you have to start watching this new player and hope you can get a read on their style of play before they also take off. This doesn’t happen in tournaments as players who leave prior to the end of the simply lose. Also, tournaments are closed once play has begun so there is no worry of a new player sitting in.

Finally, just as you’re trying to get a read on the other players at your table, the other players are trying to get a read on you. It takes time to cultivate the appropriate table reputation. It makes sense for your opponents to head for an easier table, if they see you dominating the table in a cash game. Once again, this is not an issue in tournament play as leaving the table means forfeiting any chance of winning.

So as you can see, if you’re a “thinking player”, it makes perfect sense that your game will improve once you try tournament play. I’d advise any newbie poker player to first study the basics of the game then learn a tight Texas Hold’em strategy, then jump in to the exciting world of tournaments.

Posted in Pokerrooms, Gambling Articles, Poker School | No Comments »

No Limit Texas Hold’em Tournament Strategy

July 14th, 2006

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Pre Flop Decisions

Let’s start out by saying the perfect Hold’em strategy simply does NOT exist. There is no magic bullet, or plan that will take you from absolute beginner to WSOP champion in 30 days or less. If you see things like this advertised somewhere —avoid them.

Ironically, one big reason why there is no perfect strategy is that there are just too many bad players out there. Bad players don’t fold when they should, they can’t be intimidated because they often simply don’t know how good or bad their hand really is. They come to play and that’s what they do —play. To the frustration of those of us who actually try to learn and improve our games, these loose cannons occasionally win. Not because of any real skill, but simply because they picked up a few lucky cards.

With that said here’s a simple strategy that I use at the start of a tournament. It is a very tight strategy of play; I’ll wind up folding most of my hands pre-flop. However, when I do play, I almost always play aggressively. So Here goes:

1) Play any pair 2,2 to A,A.

2) Play A,K (big slick) and A,Q

3) Play Ace, anything suited (Ace of Diamonds And 3 of Diamonds)

Sounds pretty simple right, well it is but there are a few other guidelines that I follow…

First, I’ll (almost) always come in for a raise when I have a high pair (9,9 or better) A,K or A,Q. The only exceptions to this are when other players keep raising. If I’m holding A,A or A,K, I’ll probably stay in no matter what. However, if I’m holding 10,10 and facing a raise, re-raise situation, I’ll probably fold.

Next, Lower pairs (8,8 or lower) and A, anything suited. If the players before me are calling, I’ll usually come in for a raise on this hand. If there is a reasonable raise on the table, I may call just to see the flop. However, I’ll usually fold this in a raise, re-raise situation.

Bet Size: I try to be consistent with my pre-flop betting. It’s not a good practice to base the amount of your pre-flop raises on the hand you’re holding. This will obviously give your opponents too much information about how good your hand is. When I go in for a raise, it’s usually for around three times the big blind. I’ll bet this amount whether my hand is A,A or 7,7.

Table Position: If I’m in one of the blinds, I’m more likely to stick around to see a flop. If I have a bad or marginal hand, I’ll obviously check when I can, or call if I’m small blind and no one else had raised.

That’s about it. Remember this strategy assumes it’s early in the tournament and the table is full or almost full. Things change later on, when there are fewer players and the blinds are higher. Read about that in the next installment of the Texas Hold’em Pre-flop Strategy.

For an overview of an Online Texas Hold’em Tournament Click Here!

Posted in Poker School, Texas Hold'em Strategy | 11 Comments »



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