Multi Table Tournament Strategy

Your primary goal when you’re playing in multi table poker tournaments should always be to play for the win once you are past the early stages of the tournament. You want to get to the final table to put yourself in a good spot to winning it hopefully without being too short stacked and desperate. And if you don’t take down the tournament, you at least want to get to the position where you get paid. While scraping into the money is better than not cashing at all, you’re hardly going to get rich if you did this all the time, hence the reason you want to play to try and win!

When it comes to playing tournaments with lots of players, play a fairly tight and aggressive game early on, and allow the weaker players to knock each other out. It would be a good idea to play a bit conservatively early on to give yourself some time to figure out the types of opponents you’re up against. Look at hands that get to showdown to see what kinds of hands the other players are raising and calling bets with. Just because a player has raised the last three hands in a row, it may just mean he is catching a good run of cards.

Small buy-in poker tournaments are full of players who will call raises with just about any two cards hoping to get lucky and sometimes they will manage to hit their miracle cards but more often than not they will hit the rail. If you were to adopt this same loosey goosey strategy, what tends to happen more often than not is that you end losing a lot of chips which puts you at a significant disadvantage in the tournament because you were playing an easily dominated hand that you should have folded pre-flop.

Successful tournament players focus most of their time on no limit tournaments since they are such a profitable game to play, as the fields are filled with fishy players with huge leaks in their game. The general approach to take when playing tournaments is to play solid starting hands, play fundamentally sound poker, and be capable of making folds if you think you are beat. Playing correct starting hands combined with good positional play is very important if you want to reach the final table.

It doesn’t help to portray a loose aggressive image early on in tournament poker. It will give the other players at the table an impression that you are a maniac that is always bluffing. This strategy of tightening up opens up the opportunity for a loser game later on when the blinds have increased, when you will need to steal the blinds to keep accumulating chips. When you make aggressive moves later on in the tournament, the other players will than have the impression that you only play solid cards every time you enter the pot.

Try to avoid huge confrontations during the early stages of tournaments if at all possible unless you can fully expect to have the best hand. Many solid tournament players are successful by keeping the pots small before the flop, and building them up when they catch some good cards or taking a stab when they sense weakness. You can’t win a tournament at the start but you can certainly lose it.

Do not worry if you only have an average or below average chip stack midway through the tournament. One good hand can double you up and put you back into contention of winning the tournament. It is all about staying patient, waiting for premium hands to play, and not making mistakes due to being ill disciplined. Continue to play tight and when you catch a great flop you will often win big pots against loose players with average hands.

Aggressive moves such as bluffing, squeezing, blind stealing, and re-stealing are all very important skills to become proficient at for the later stages of poker tournaments. With the blinds so high, players tend to play tighter, and you can go after their blinds and look for good opportunities to steal the pot when you were the pre-flop aggressor and missed the flop, but feel like your opponent probably isn’t strong either, which is going to be a decent percentage of the time, when you consider the fact that unpaired hands will flop a pair of some sort only around 1/3 of the time.

You should have been able to identify the weaker players at the table whom you can target by the time you have reached the later stages of the tournament. Use this knowledge to your advantage and time your bluffs at the players who won’t offer up much resistance.