The Tournament Poker Structure

The structure of a poker tournament can be affected by a number of factors. Trevor Cop decided that he did not want to repeat the experience of playing no limit poker.

Therefore he structured his no limit tournaments so that he would have an adequate amount of time to make a decision about his play, as well as to explain his decision.He would alternate the start of the tournament with a raise of half the starting amount. In other words he would take the same amount of time to decide whether to raise or not. This was done, not because he was clockwork but in order to give the appearance of considering his starting hand. (From my observation it was mostly the right call).

After this introduction to the basic rules of tournament poker, we will discuss a case study that will help you improve your game. You are playing in a multi table tournament and you have done well enough to get to the top 2. Once there you discover that the other players continue to play loose.

The problem is that you are out of position and when you get in the later position you will play tight.

Unfortunately you run into a lot of hands that are missed on the flop and you end up losing a lot of chips.

In this particular case you have become somewhat statistic obsessed and you type “wayne miller” into the tournament lobby. You are still playing out of position and you are aware of the fact that you are likely to get killed at the table.

Try to think about the reasons that could lead someone to play a hand in which they should not. “It’s just a dollar bill.” You say to yourself. “It’s not worth it.”

These observations apply to all tournament poker hands. Personally, when I get into a streak of luck, I don’t even have to think about the possibility of a tournament hand. It happens, and it happens fast.

Statistically, your average tournament poker player is going to bet about the same amount pre-flop as in a regular cash game. (In the 5% range, pre-flop, think $5,000 for a $100 buy in).

Tournament poker is different.

You could see one hand, two hands, three hands, four hands or even five hands.  A quick calculation will show that you have seen pre-flop for x number of hands.

Obviously you remember the big names. Phil Ivey, Mike Matusow, and the ever dangerous Tom ‘Durak’ Dwan. Also, there are two types of players. One is the regular player, the other is the fish.

The regular player is what you thought about. They stay in the hand too long, and usually all their hands are good. They think that no matter what they have they have to win the pot. If you have a pair you can’t beat them, if you have trips you are just a chip or two away from them. Their blinds never leave them alone.

The fish are a lot more unpredictable. They stick around, no matter what. Even with the minimum bet, they will usually call most times, and then have something good after the flop or the turn.

What hands should you play against the fish.

  1. Always raise pairs of lesser value. Leave your premium hands for last or later positions.
  2. If you have a high pair pre-flop, you might want to take it only against a player who has not seen a flop. Or, use it against a tight player who is more likely to fold a high pair.
  3. Don’t play extremely tight. No Limit Hold ‘Em is a volatile game. Even when you have the best hand, you can lose a lot of chips if you play too tight.
  4. When you hold middle pairs, especially in late positions, you will have to lead. If someone bets ahead of you, you should consider folding.
  5. Play with maximum aggression when your hand allows. If you have a hand like 8s-3c and you are first in the pot, you have to call. To call, you have to put in what is more than 3 times the amount of the big blind. So, $10 will be the blinds.
  6. Play with maximum aggression when your hand allows. You have to be able to hills you call a raise, so only do it if you have a monster.
  7. Some things to consider when starting a play are, consider the amount of players in the pot, the position you are in and, obviously, the cards you hold.