All The Aces Daily Poker Column

Online Poker Tournament Strategy For Beginners

What you need to know about online
poker tournaments and how to win them...

We've touched on online poker tournament play from time but a lot of new players appear confused as to the major differences with ordinary poker play. Here are some general pointers to give some clarity.

1) Tournament chips do not represent actual cash value.
2) The purpose of tournament play is to survive through to one of the prizes.
3) You have to play until you win or go bust.
4) You cannot buy more chips and you cannot quit while you´re ahead.
5) Everyone starts even. It´s a level playing field with a pre-determined stack of chips being given to all competitors.

The whole point of a tournament is to play until everyone but the winner is eliminated. Therefore your paramount strategy is to survive, not to win chips or even necessarily pots. This survival mode requires you to modify your normal playing style and it´s a good discipline to add to your overall game. To give you a simple example, let's say you have accumulated a hefty stack and you're down to the wire with just a handful of players left in the competition who only have short stacks left. Suppose a game develops where the short stacks are raising and re-raising like there's no tomorrow and one of them goes all-in. You are holding a strong hand, maybe a low straight or three of a kind. Normally you'd bet all the way down to the river and take all the short stacks on, but in this situation, where you have the biggest stack, your priority is survival. A good decision would be to lay down your strong hand and let the little guys slaughter one another. Attrition is the key to victory. Your decisions need to be based on your situation, not on the usual instinctive poker reactions.

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Q: I heard a player at a recent poker game being referred to behind his back as a "horse". Was this just a crude comment or does it have a meaning?
Absolutely it has meaning. A horse is usually a good professional player who is being bankrolled by an investor. If you are a beginner and you pick up intel like this react to it by sitting the games out or going home to play online. If an investor is bankrolling an individual you can be sure that individual is worth avoiding unless you´re the next Doyle Brunson.

Q: What does the term "chase" mean in Texas Hold'em?
A: A chase is when a player keeps betting on weak cards in the hope of drawing to a better hand.    


ALL THE ACES poker column:
October 13, 2005: 
Online Poker Tournament Strategy For Beginners