There are many skills that are key to performing well in a poker tournament. Some are skills that take time to develop, while others are skills that just take a little common sense. Without developing these key skills a player will not be able to make it to the final rounds of the tournament, nor will they be able to make it to the money spots in the tournament. This article is therefore intended to help guide new poker tournament players towards developing the right skills before they enter their first type of poker tournament.
Ability to recognize a good starting hand : The first skill that all poker tournament participants should develop is their ability to recognize a good starting hand. One of the biggest mistakes that new poker players make when they enter their first poker tournament is that they play too many starting hands. Players should, in fact, play only the top ten to fifteen ranked starting poker hands during the early rounds of a poker tournament. As the poker tournament progresses the number of starting hands that should be played increased to the top twenty or so starting hands during the middle rounds of the tournament and the top thirty starting hands by the late rounds of the tournament. The number of players remaining at a table will also impact which starting hands should be played, especially when the player is in a shorthanded game or when they are in a heads-up situation.
Ability to read their opponents : The second key skill that a poker tournament player needs to develop is the ability to read their opponents. Players need to learn how to identify aggressive players, passive players, tight players, and loose players. They also need to learn how to properly respond to these types of poker players, and how they can use the disadvantage of these types of players to their own advantage. For example if a player is playing too tightly another player can take this as their advantage and they can steal their blinds.
Ability to play in all Positions : The third key skill that a poker tournament player should develop is the ability to properly play from early positions, middle positions, and late positions in a hand of poker. The player should know when they should limp in, when they should make a strong move, when they should fold, and when they should use their position as an advantage. The player should spend extra time learning how to steal the blinds from position and from out of position, as this skill will be critical to their survival during the middle and later rounds of the poker tournament.
How to mix Things up :The final key skill that a poker tournament should develop is learning how to mix things up. It will be important for the poker tournament player’s survival that they know how to play with different poker playing styles, and that they are able to successfully execute several different betting strategies during various hands of poker. If the player is unable to mix things up they will not be able to adjust to the changing dynamics of the game and tournament, nor will they be able to hide their playing patterns from their opponents.