There's something about tournaments that elevates its status above cash games. Perhaps it's the prestige of winning or the opportunity to win many times your buy-in, but its got global appeal. Despite it's popularity the low stakes tournaments are still filled with terrible players making continuously poor plays. Fortunately for you, we're going to share some awesome tournament tips that will help you in the low stake's tournaments online.
The early stages of a tournament have many experts divided. Some feel that a tight and conservative approach is best, but given the high number of fishes early on, we feel it's better to take calculated risks. This means calling raises with suited connectors or small pairs in an effort to stack an opponent who is incapable of folding top pair.
Early on, you can easily afford to call raises as they represent a smaller percentage of your stack. You certainly can't afford to speculate later so the first few levels are the best time to. That's why we think good freezeout poker tournament strategy is to try and bust the fishes early on. Because if you don't - the others will and you'll be at a chip disadvantage.
Abuse the Button
If you want to crush tournaments you need to dominate your button. This means raising liberally if it gets folded to you - regardless of your cards, and also 3-betting other late position raisers. By doing this, you're doing two things; stealing invaluable chips and enhancing your image as an aggressive player. The latter may serve you well later in the tournament when you find a big hand and someone gets impatient and stacks off lightly.
Whilst it's true most people are aware that button raises mean little, it is still hard to combat. Players are left with the option of 3 betting lightly, thus costing them chips or playing a pot out of position against you.
Defend your Blinds
In the modern era, smaller raises are the order of the day. Even bad players now know not to raise 5 big blinds. You'll frequently see minimum raises or 2.2x the blinds in low stakes tournaments. This means the big blind is often getting amazing direct odds to play. Therefore, you need to be defending wide and understand how to play post-flop poker well.
Too often, the player in the big blind is giving up equity and folding hands that must be played. Consider a solid player opening from early position, even if they hold a hand like Ace-King and you hold Queen-Seven, you must call pre-flop as you're not even a big underdog. This is even truer when you factor in the antes that are prevalent in tournaments.
Naturally, if you're sitting super short stacked than you need to adjust and direct odds may not matter. In that case you need to master short stack strategy and appreciate stack depths properly before defending too widely.
Steal like Your Life Depends on it
Our final tip is to master the art of stealing chips. This doesn't just mean stealing from the button every orbit. It's much broader than that. It's about understanding table dynamics and finding profitable spots to squeeze, 3-bet or jam all in. We recommend you trust your gut when it comes to learning when to steal a pot. The blinds and antes are invaluable to your tournament stack so it's critical you find ways to chip up without resorting to waiting for premium hands. Otherwise, you will find your tournament win rate much lower than it could be.