Monday, June 22, 2009

Here is the Simple Secret to Winning a Poker Tournament

Here is the secret: Raise. It's that simple. Raise, raise & raise again.

If you are not raising, you are not winning.

Starting at the Middle of the Tournament

In a poker tournament there are opportunities starting from the middle of the tournament to accumulate chips by simply raising without big hands. One reason is that many players want to survive and play it safe. Another reason is that after a long time period, players who know winning poker is aggressive poker, revert back to their comfort zone of playing a smart, cautious style.

When you notice you have fallen into the trap of playing it safe for a long time period, you have an opportunity to raise and steal pots. When you notice that your opponents have fallen back into this style, you have an opportunity to raise and steal pots. You need to accumulate chips, and you can't do that by folding.

Remember that tight, safe play gives you the right to raise and accumulate chips because you have a tight table image. So raise and accumulate chips with a wide range of starting hands.

What about your opponents? Have they tightened up their play? A clear signal of a tight table is when most hands are won without ever seeing the flop. If so, that is another signal for you to raise with a wider range of starting hand.

It takes courage to raise without premium hands but that is exactly what the poker pros do to win a poker tournament.

Early In The Tournament

After reviewing Day 1 of Gus Hansen's Aussie Millions win, I found that only one time did Gus limp early on and win a pot! Of the 40 hands he played that day, just one limp took down the pot! The other times he limped into a hand he lost--and yes, that was only 5 times. (Note: I did not include the times he was in the BB and got to see a flop for free.)

Gus built his starting chip stack from $20,000 to $66,700 on Day 1 by raising. And, he raised with a wide range of hands based on position, cards and his opponents.

So next time you find yourself limping into hands, stop doing it! Raise, raise and raise again.

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