Basic Tournament Strategy For Hold'em Poker

You can find multi-table poker tournaments (known as MTT's) of all field sizes and buy-in levels online, 24 hours a day. It is important to learn basic tournament strategy for multi-table Hold'em poker contests at the various stages that a series will go through before the lucrative final table. The prize pool in an MTT is very 'top heavy.' Those who reach the final table will split up to half of the total prizes between them - while those who make it into the first paying spots will often win less than twice their initial buy-in. Even at the final level the top three paying places will give disproportionately larger payouts than other places. This has a large effect on basic tournament strategy for those who are looking to maximize their long-term profit. Aggressive play is rewarded at all stages of an MTT. Passive play during the later stages may enable you to sneak into the money positions.

In the early stages, the game plays similarly to a cash table because the stack sizes are many times the size of the blinds, allowing betting on the flop, turn, and river for many hands. 'Deep Stacked' involves its own adjustments, including favoring hands which can make hidden 'monsters' such as small pairs and suited connectors. Your objective in the first few blind levels should be to accumulate chips from weaker opponents. At the same time, you should avoid big gambles if you feel that your skill advantage will have time to show over a large number of small pots.

As the blinds and antes get higher compared to the average stacks, your tactics need to adjust to new conditions. Since you invest more chips to see a flop, the value of the speculative hands played in the early stages goes down. High cards, however, go up in value when you are the first to enter the pot. Avoid calling a raise in the middle levels because this requires invest a large portion of your stack.

The bubble is the time of the tourney where just a few players need to be eliminated in order to reach the money-paying spots. The single most important factor here are the stack sizes. Having a large one will allow you to pick up many pots uncontested. If you are a medium-sized chip holder, bigger ones are likely to try and steal pots. Use this to your advantage. If you expect a big contender to be 'raising light,' you can have a positive expectation situation for a re-raise.

At the final table, the payout structure now weighs in on your basic tournament strategy and affects the dynamic of the players. Medium-sized chip holders will see that someone is just one big blind away from busting and will tighten up to avoid going out before that person. This can lead to some great opportunities to pick up chips without too much risk. Aggressiveness is again the key element to success. Aim high (top three) by picking fights with those opponents who look like they want to move up in the money. Medium stacks are much more likely to fold under pressure at this stage.