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Tips for Playing in Poker Tournaments

Welcome to the Mad Tipster's page !

It is my honor to present these ten timeless poker tournament tips, courtesy of poker pro Brad Daugherty (the 1991 WSOP Champion).

The techniques outlined below apply equally to playing in online poker tournaments and for playing at home with friends, foes, and/or madmen.

Tournament Tipster : an excellent site for Texas Holdem tournaments

Tip #1 - Single-Table Tournaments
Want to improve your end game? Want to build your level of experience in playing final tables? Want to learn how to 'close the deal' and win an event? Play a single table satellite! And when you do, pretend you are at the final table of the World Championship. Remember, every chip is precious. Playing single-table tournaments is great practice for the end game of multi-table tournaments. The strategies are very similar; with the biggest difference being single-table tournaments usually take less than an hour to play, where the multi-table tournaments take over 4 hrs to play.

Tip #2 - Play Solid
A good basic strategy for the single-table tournaments is to play solid, playing only premium hands in the first three rounds. After that, open up and play more hands, becoming more aggressive the higher the blinds get, and the shorter handed the tournament becomes.

Tip #3 - Be a Bettor
Be a bettor, not a caller. Remember, the bettor has two chances to win, the first being you might be able to show down the best hand, and secondly, if everyone folds, you win an uncontested pot!

Tip #4 - First in the Pot
When your chip stack gets less than five times the size of the big blind in a no-limit single-table tournament or a multi-table tournament, consider moving all in with any two cards as long as you are the first one in the pot. In these situations you are just betting that no one has a hand that they can call you with. If you do get called and have the worst hand, you might get lucky and draw out on them. If you aren't the first one in, you are joining a pot with automatic competition.

Tip #5 - The Time to Be Agressive
In the late stages when you have a large stack of chips and it's one or two spots from the money, it's easy to rob players that are desperately trying to make the money. Play more aggressive in that spot, reduce your starting requirements, and pick up some extra chips!

Tip #6 - Aggressive Opponents
When you have an opponent who is overly aggressive, use it against them. Let them think you have a weak hand when you really have a strong one. Check into them so they will bet. You will then have the option to checkraise and take advantage of their aggressiveness. In the case of a real monster, check it a second time, and then pop it up!

Tip #7 - Play Real Money Games
Play Real Money games to practice for the early rounds of multi-table tournaments. The play here is very close to the same because you aren't under pressure from the blinds. So play real money games anytime you have the time to improve your play for the early rounds. Play solid poker.

Tip #8 - Have a Game Plan
Have a game plan for your tournament. Decide if you are going to start out playing tight in the early rounds, or if are you going to play fast and try to accumulate chips early. Consider adjustments you might make if you get short of chips, if you get a large stack, or how you might adjust to different types of opponents styles. Be prepared for everything!

Tip #9 - Observe the Blinds
When you are playing, always observe your opponents and pick out who will and who won't defend the blinds. The higher the blinds get, the more valuable this information becomes. Remember the tight players are easier to rob. Be ready to take advantage of them.

Tip #10 - Play Your Own Tournament
Save the best for last. Play your own tournament! That's right, your own little event that starts and ends when you want. You are the tournament director and can play any form of poker you'd like. Sit in the smallest game you can find. The rounds are 20, 30, 40 minutes, anything you want, so set an alarm clock. When the clock goes off, you must get up and move to the next highest game. Keep going and see how much you can accumulate and how far you can go. Get to the biggest game and you win the trophy. Of course, in this tournament, you can quit at any time and cash in your checkers. Good Luck!

Brad Daugherty is the 1991 WSOP Champion and Empire Poker Poker Legend : hosts the most and largest tournaments online

For additional tournament resources, check out, which features everything in internet poker, from news and articles to poker freerolls and tournaments.

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