Poker Strategy - Playing Multi-Table Tournaments

Playing poker tournaments can be one of the most rewarding and profitable ventures as an online poker player as they generally offer substantial prizes for a fraction of the buy-in when compared to traditional cash game play.  Although poker tournaments represent a great chance to increase your playing bankroll, the mindset and strategy involved in becoming a good tournament player is vastly different than cash games and requires discipline, patience and as with all poker games, a little bit of luck.  In order to effectively outline proven methods for winning poker tournaments, we are going to look at the various stages of tournament play and examine some of the better strategies for each section.  By the end of this article, you should have a good sense for tournament strategy and how a lot of the top players survive the fields and make it to final tables on a consistent basis.

Early Stage Tournament Strategy

In the early stages of a poker tournament you want to be playing tightly and not putting your stack at risk in any situation.  At this point in the tournament, you are looking to pick up small pots that nobody wants to slowly add padding to your overall stack.  By focusing on this early and not risking too many chips, you will be putting yourself in an ideal position for the later stages of the tournament.

Mid Stage Tournament Strategy

During mid stage tournament play, a number of players will have decreasing bankrolls and be looking rather desperately to remain in the tournament.  This is a great time to loosen up your play a little bit and possibly take out some of the short stacked players that are trying to stay in.  Obviously doing with premium hands is the best strategy; however you will find that many players are willing to risk their stacks with mediocre hands just to stay in the tournament.  By trying to eliminate the short stacked players along with continuing to pick up small pots, your mid stage play should be setting you up for the later and tighter stages of the tournament.

Late Stage Tournament Strategy

As mentioned, the late stages of the tournament are where the players are going to tighten up substantially as the pay levels grow larger with each and every knockout.  If you are willing to take the risk, the late stage is a great time to become much more aggressive as most players will fear losing their stack and not finishing in the big payouts.  Using this aggressive style will also allow you to pick up a fair number of blinds which at this stage will be very substantial.  Overall, in late tournament play although you might be feeling the nervousness of making the big money, a looser style of play will help you to pick up a lot of chips that can be crucial at the final table.

Final Table Play

Assuming that you reach the final table, your new goal as a player is to win the tournament no matter what it takes.  You will notice that a lot of players relax a little bit once they have reached final table play and the short stacks will most likely try to double up or bust out in the money.  A good strategy for final table play depending on your chip count is to allow around half of the table to bust out before increasing your play to aggressive.  At this point, you will be left with the solid competitors who most likely will be tighter players, so this is a good time to turn on the aggression and win the tournament.