Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Three Most Popular Poker Strategies You Must Avoid

There are three popular poker strategies that you simply most avoid if you want to win a poker tournament. I am sure you have read each one of the following poker gems many time, and now believe them to be poker truths. Unfortunately they are just plain wrong for winning.

Poker Strategy #1: "Play tight early in a no limit poker tournament."

There are many ways to start in the early rounds of a poker tournament, yet you may have read this poker strategy most often. Why is this poker strategy so popular?

Think about it. If you got knocked out early, would you trust this guy's opinion?

Unfortunately, the worst poker advice for no limit tournaments is to play tight early. Poker is about gambling. Poker tournaments are about winning. Embrace the risk in the game because you need chips to survive those bad beats. You are not going to outplay the luck in the game.

The right strategy early in a no limit tournament is to put at least 20% of your chips at risk with drawing hands like suited connectors, so you can win big pots.

Remember this: No one has ever folded their way to victory. Never.

Poker Strategy #2: "You need to be selectively aggressive to win a poker tournament."

Oh my. Is this nonsense or what? Being aggressive is bad, but being selectively aggressive is right.

I guess that key word "selectively" means that if you are aggressive and win you are being selective. But if you are aggressive and lose you are not being selective enough.

What if you go card dead for an hour and are bleeding out your chips? Are you being too selective by not being aggressive.

Forget this nonsense strategy. You need to be aggressive to win a poker tournament. You need to accumulate chips. Raise and re-raise by making the right plays.

Poker Strategy #3: "It depends."

This has got to be the biggest joke of a pseudo-poker strategy ever. It depends. It depends on the stage of the tournament, the chip stacks, the opponent, the table images, etc. Duh!

So now that I've told you all that information, what's the answer? It depends…

I think we should put "it depends" next to "Depends" diapers..it's all wet.

The leaking is over! Make the right play at the right time.

Of course, sometimes in poker you make the right play at the wrong time. Yeah, you take a bad beat. But other times you will be wrong and make the wrong play at the right time. Yeah, you put a bad beat on your opponent.

Don't think "it depends." Ask yourself what is the right play at that moment. And if you still are not sure, err on the side of being aggressive by asking yourself the following:

"What move will put fear in the heart and mind of my opponent?"


Anonymous said...

As a rule, I avoid tourneys. But I might try again and see if I can put your suggestions to use. After all, it does take time to develop those skills.

Dez said...

You're right Mitch,
Most of the tournaments where I have started too tight, were going so-so. While the best performances were coming when I was in the zone (i.e. aggressive with drawing hands etc.).
Great post, as always!

fwidman said...

I wholeheartedly agree with the first one. You need to make as much as you can early on so that you can survive longer when the blinds are higher and you are bleeding those chips.
I am more selective once the blinds and the bets are much higher. I find I go deeper and win more often that way :)

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