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Starting Out In Poker Tournaments

Thinking about when I started to play poker tournaments, be it SNG (Sit and Go – An on-demand format where you’d just sit down and play with other people who are available to play at the time, usually somewhere between 2 and 180 entrants) or MTT(Multi-Table Tournaments – a tournament usually with a prize guarantee which is scheduled to happen at a particular time), I remember I struggled with a lot of decisions. It’s really hard, especially if you don’t have a cash game background to work with and you’re just starting out in poker.

Sure, you’ll think that having a background in poker homegames and playing a few Sundays with your buddies is a great way to gain and accumulate experience, and it is, but you can’t pass a certain point without trying to improve your game technically, strategically and methodically.

It can be very confusing, the blinds changing every few minutes, some people playing differently than others, you don’t know how to play the bubble, do we just fold every hand and wait to get in the money, acquire that sweet cash (woopee!), or do we push other people around who are doing the same thing?

I believe the answer to that is very complex and tournament poker prowess comes with a lot of experience, especially when you are deep stacked or middle stacked. This comes with not only a long career of playing, but also by working in poker solvers like PioSolver and putting in countless hours of study and memorization. Doesn’t sound too fun, does it?

But there is something that you can improve right away and it’s very easy to do so! And it’s very

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Well, what is it then you say?

When you get to short stack poker, either by punting off your chips sometimes (we all do that, don’t worry, I’m as sorry as you are), or by getting into late stages of poker tournaments (I know, I don’t either, I’m very unlucky), you get to a stack size that is twenty big blinds or less. Having considered this, in general it’s a good practice to just go all in with your hand when you’re so down in stack that the big blind is eating at it like a fat kid loves cake.

So then, the problem is, how much do I wait? I only get 9 hands every orbit, and that’s taking 2.5 blinds from me! In 36 hands I’ll have half my stack, or less even if the Big Blind gets raised again!

Fret not, we have a solution for you. You can learn a lot about push/fold charts, how to improve your push and always think in matters of big blinds, your position, how many players are ahead of you and what is there to be won if everyone folds (blinds+antes). They’ll also introduce you to a very nice and beginner-friendly software called SnapShove, where you can select any of these factors and will be given the perfect shoving range.

For further, deeper study, after studying the above proposed material and checking out SnapShove, you can check out software like Holdem Resources Calculator or ICMIZER.

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About Tudor Scriminti

Computer Science BSc Graduate, started playing poker online since 2007, professionally since 2012, won $50k playing micro-stakes with over 2.5 million hands experience, coach to over 500 happy students and loves to game on the side when has some free time!