Saturday, May 28, 2011

Tourneys and Cash Games

So I just cannot stay away from the excitement of tournaments. I usually play 4-6 of them early in the evening and then switch to cash games for new tables when I get down to 2 tables remaining.

This way I can still come out positive for the night even if I do not make a final table in tournaments.

There are somethings to be careful with in mixing tourneys and cash games:

1. Avoid this strategy if you are susceptible to TILT -- You are going to get bad beats in tournament play -- it is inevitable. If I play six tournaments in a night, I will likely get bad beat out of 4 of them. That is just the nature of tournaments and all the all in hands required. Tilt will lead to big money losses in cash games, so bad beats set you off then avoid mixing cash and tourney games.

2. Pay attention -- In the early and early middle stages of a tourney you can get away with not paying attention. That is a good time to play 4-6 tables at the same time. However, when you get down to the late middle and late stages of a tourney, you need to pay attention to win. You need to know your opponents tendencies. For instance, who is raising a lot preflop but laying down to reraises. That is a great target for restealing chips. Don't open so many tables that you cannot pay close attention in your late tourney tables.

3. Use two different strategies -- Remember that you are playing both cash and tourneys and they both require different strategies. You can play more fast and loose in a tourney, you need to bluff more in tourneys and you resteal more in tourneys. Don't try these strategies too often at a cash game or you will just lose chips.

Good luck at the tables this week.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Improve Your Tourney Skills for Free

Want a very effective and free way to improve your poker skills --- open up a couple of tables with the best tourney players and watch them play. Go to to see the list of the top online tourney players. Then go to Ultimatebet, Paradise, Pokerstars or the other sites they play and look for the next $100 buy in tourney.

Then after the tourney starts, look to see which of the top 15 players are playing that table and watch them play!

I did this on Wednesday night and it was a real eye-opening experience. Patience and good starting hand selection seemed to be the true similarity with all of these players. They did not get desperate too early, they waited for good starting hands and then played them very aggressively.

I would say watching them play is far more valuable than any poker book you could read. I watched about 6-7 players through two entire tourneys. I was very impressed with Shawn Rice, angryCLEC, PMJackson21, Wachovia and Poker Ho.

Take some time out for this simple exercise and I guarantee you will improve your tourney game. By the way, Wachovia has written a couple of very good articles on tourney play and you can check them out here.