Tournament poker has taken the world by storm. Tournaments are fun, exciting, challenging, and they enable us to fulfill our competitive juices. The multi-million dollar prize pools we see weekly on the World Poker Tour are attractive to players (who enter) and viewers (who watch). Whether you’re an amateur or a professional, if you’re at all serious about poker, chances are that you want to be on the final table of a WPT event with a chance to compete for millions and prove your metal as a player.
The WPT is in its sixth season and their theme is, “We create a millionaire a week.” In addition to the WPT, other big-time and ‘made for TV’ poker events are also appearing on the scene now. And how can you blame them? Everyone has seen the success (and ratings) of the World Poker Tour. ESPN has vastly expanded their coverage of the WSOP. Fox Sports Net (FSN) will is showing the “Poker Superstars” program throughout the year, NBC has ‘Poker After Dark’ and the ‘Heads-Up Championship’, and I’m sure we’ll see other events appearing on various networks. The growth of big-time tournaments around the world is amazing. Who would have thought a few years ago that dozens of players would become millionaires annually playing tournament poker?
And the tournament craze is not just limited to big-time poker events. Every poker room is experiencing an increase in their daily and weekly tournaments. In addition, tournaments are being played in home games and fraternity houses across the nation on a regular basis. And of course, online poker tournaments are booming! The bottom line is that players love tournaments!
I get asked all the time, “How can I improve my tournament play?” Well, I believe there are some fundamental concepts you must understand to be a winner in tournament poker. First, recognize this: “Tight players don’t win tournaments.” It’s very rare that you see a tight player win a tournament. Just look at the guys winning on the WPT and you will see that they are not sitting back waiting for Aces or Kings. They are in there picking up pots without a hand. Tight players might make it to the money, but they don’t win, place, or show very often – and that’s where the money is!
In cash games (at least in low limit cash games), tight play will probably enable you to be a small winner. That’s because the blinds and antes don’t increase and you can quit when you want. In tournaments, that’s not the case. Because the stakes continually get higher and you can’t quit until you win all the chips (or go broke), you can’t sit back, play tight, and expect to be successful.
Here’s a piece of advice for multiple day events; recognize that you can’t win a tournament on Day 1, but you can lose it there. The risk/reward of getting into ‘race’ situations early in a tournament is not worth it. Great players never want to flip a coin for all their chips.
I like what Max Stern says about tournaments, “To win, you must be willing to die.” You have to win pots to win a tournament. And you must learn to get value out of your good hands. Don’t be afraid to play a pot. To get to the victory stand, you must be willing to take some chances and play some pots.
You’ve probably heard the phrase, “Chips are power.” Understand why. When you have chips, besides being feared because you can take an opponent out, you can do so much more at the table. You can pick up blinds and antes, gamble against the short stacks, run over the table, come over-the-top and take pots away from your opponents, and simply put, just make plays. When you are short-stacked, your hands are tied. Basically, you must wait for a hand and hope to double up.
The fault of most tournament players is that they play too tight. Nobody wants to go out, so conservative play is the norm. Because blinds and antes continue to increase, those who sit back and wait for a hand are continually short-stacked. And if you’re a tight player, chances are you won’t get any action even when you do pick up a hand. (Doyle Brunson says, “To get action, you must give action.”)
Most think that ‘survival’ is the most important thing in tournaments. (I used to think it.)It is important, but so is increasing your chip stack. Obviously, you can’t win a tournament unless you make it to the final table, but you’ll discover there’s a big difference in getting there with chips as opposed to being on the short stack. The top players get there with chips.
The point is that you should not underestimate the importance of accumulating chips. Someone once said, “You don’t have to re-invent the wheel to be successful. Just watch successful people and do what they do.” Well, the players who are winning all the money in tournaments are those who are aggressive and accumulating chips from theget-go.
Mike Sexton is the Host of PartyPoker and a commentator on the World Poker Tour.
Dieser Artikel erschien auf PokerOlymp am 17.07.2007.