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A Bad Analogy: Playing A Poker Tournament Is Like Being A Gladiator...

The start of online poker tournaments are defined by their tiny blinds compared to each player's stack. Most websites are offering the chance for patient, solid play to be rewarded.

Aggressive play is almost always correct, but when the blinds are so small, you should not invest too much in attempting to steal them.

What happens early in most tournaments? Good players bide their time and take notes on the others. Assuming you want to be one of those good players, follow their example.

Remember Russell Crowe in Gladitator? He has the ability to judge his opponents' strengths and weaknesses. He never hurries unless he senses it would kill off the opposition. An online poker tournament is very much the same.

You ought to be picking a good hand to make moves with when the blinds are tiny. Do be flexible though, in case an opportunity to eliminate a weak opponent presents itself.

Impatient, 'chasing' players will often bust out early from tournaments. If you find one of these guys, don't hesitate to pick them off. Just be sure of the strength of your hand, as your survival is at stake if you're wrong!

Hands in online poker tournaments play out very differently to cash game hands. When you can reload your cash stack, it's right to push a small advantage. If you lose, you reload.

Many tournaments don't allow you to get a second chance. So it's wise to be slightly more cautious. Even against a loony, flat-calling makes sense rather than raising all-in.

Let's talk about the easiest players to face: tight weak opponents. Because they're tight, they only bet with the stronger hands; they are also more likely to back off if they meet resistance.

They're unlikely to ever do well in tournaments, due to the blinds always increasing, and the generally aggressive play which suits them the least. But stay out of their way if they show strength: you know they won't be bluffing.

Beware the spiders! Quiet, lurking players who always show aggression when they act are your most feared opponents. These arachnids can't be pushed around like tight-weakies, and are probably not going to throw their chips at you (as the impatient ones will). You have little to gain in taking on the spiders early on, so fly, little insect, unless you have a monster holding.

In conclusion, then, avoid mixing it up too much in the early part of online poker tournaments. Sit back, relax, observe and wait to pounce.

Submitted by:

Ashley Cotter-Cairns

Ashley Cotter-Cairns is also known as Father Ashley of the Church of Texas Holdem. Lost in the poker wilderness? Visit http://www.church-of-texas-holdem.com to receive the teachings of the poker gods!


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