Winner takes all tips
I have used these tips to win a few live and online tournaments of significant size. Please save any digs outside of constructive critisism for sombody claiming to know it all. these are just some things I have noticed, picked up, or used to get lucky a few times. Timelines and levels are all objective and remember these tips come from "arguably the worst poker player ever
Right from the start play a wider range (levels 1-5) when its cheap to mine sets, straights, and flushes - drive the fish and TAG players off of their top pairs in an effort to reach your first goal of tripling your chip stack. I like to triple my stack by level 4 if AAP. Avoid all-ins and suckout by not being committed to hands that need to be folded even after some bargain mining investments.
Most TAGs are only playing a smaller range in this early mode of chaos and will be unsuspecting of you using this strategy. They will catch on, but just as you change up to your next mode...
Level 5 - 10 settle in comfy for some long-term TAG play and when you hit a hand try your hardest to set traps even with regs via extended use of time bank and an added check, or two, or three. This is usually good for one or two traps per table change - any more than that and you will get made
Levels 5 - 15 Avoid all-ins unless you are beating up stragglers with small stacks and be mindful of those who suckout - use your HUD.
go for medium sized pots in levels 8 - 20 not being afraid to shove according to your personal predetermined shove policy.
You are going to have to get lucky more than a few times to win so shove with calculated risk assessment.
During this long and boring part of the tournament, practice your poker math and calculate pot odds
, outs, and implied odds, fold equity, ICM whatever your bag is, for every street if possible. Have a pad and pen, calculator, desktop tools and apps ready(if online) - this is dual purposing your slow time by exhibiting good tournament play while training hard for future play.
If you are in the top 20% Top 10% is optimal) by level 15 your on track. - the goal will be to hit the final table in the bottom 40% of chip stacks.
Bubble play - steal, steal. steal, loose and aggressive on the bubble. min raise bets scare the crap out of anyone happy to min cash so take all their blinds and anything else they leave hanging out as they can be bought for almost nothing - look out for others who play to win and see if you can get a physiological partnership going by not challenging each others steals.
When making the final table, the bigger your stack the better but being in the bottom 50% is usually my MO and almost does not matter as long as you are safe from blinding out.
Absolutely no need to be chip leader as the final table skill-set range among players is such that a majority of chip stacks will change hands a few times especially if there is a chip leader with more than 100% lead.
A chip leader will more than likely add to pot sizes and usually gets sucked out on, or flat out beat a few times by all-ins he thinks he can grab with an inferior hand.
Take advantage of the leaders cushion - if he has a stack advantage, he will have psychological exploits so look for him to try and bully small stacks with inferior-hand all-ins and your chance to double up 1,2, maybe even 3 times - less in live play.
I have always been the small stack at least for a bit at every (online) final table except for 2. Do not get discouraged if you go from leader to last place in stack size at the final as anyone can win in just a few hands. Again, I have won a few tournaments just after being the shortie.
One last time- Be aware of the final table dynamic that can make the short-stack at an 8 handed table the winner of the tournament just a few hands down the road.
Don't get overly emotional about bad beats at the final table as chances are, if your there now, you will be there again and on the other side of that beat next time. Remember it is a game and odds say we will get beat - a lot.
So look at every downturn, bad beat, wrong decision, as a lesson learned or a credit in your universal poker account - it always pays off sooner or later.
Mark or tag your hands for later review and when your done, it is a great tournament if you can count your mistakes on one hand. lay them out afterwards, embed the remedy in your brain and never make those same mistakes again.
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