Online poker can make for hours of entertaining fun. However, In order to win big at poker, Kenny Rogers’ famous lyrics to the Gambler come to mind. You gotta’ “Know when to hold em. Know when to fold them. Know when to walk away. Know when to run.” Hence, it never hurts to have a few amazing poker tips up your sleeve to help secure your winning hand.
Here are a few helpful poker strategies for that online poker tournament (especially when the stakes are high).
Time Your Tournaments Accordingly
If you had high hopes of turning a $1, $10 or $200 bet into a few million, cool. But if you think it will happen with online poker, the odds are slim unless you’re willing to put in the time. Serious online poker players don’t have to worry about their day jobs as poker winnings usually pay the bills. Hence, you might want to gear up for an all-night session.
Some players start around 7 or 8 pm and finish in the early morning hours. Keep that in mind when you sign up for an event. You’ll be more geared up for a low buy-in tournament if you’ve had plenty of sleep and have a Red Bull on standby. That being said, if you’re not up for an all-nighter, look for tournaments that don’t take hours. Try WSOP Social Poker. Hey, someone’s gotta pay the bills, right?
Get Ready to Ride the Roller Coaster
When you play in an online tournament, especially one that includes people from all over the world, there will be all kinds of opponents. And, they may have different playing styles so expect gameplay to be very unpredictable.
Even if you start out with a small buy-in that’s like $1, $5 or $10, be prepared to have at the least 200 or 300 times that amount (but don’t bet over your head). It can definitely help you progress further in the tournament play. Why have a higher bankroll on hand?
You’re going to have so many opponents to get through for one. Then, because these are mostly skilled, recreational players, they may call all your raises – including the all-in raises. So, be prepared.
Don’t Bluff It, Value Bet Based On What You’re Holding
In an online tournament, there are all kinds of opponents. But know that trying to run a wild bluff won’t work. A better strategy is to let your cards fall how they normally would. You’ll also want to get the most value from your hands. In lower bet games, it’s easier to bet more because there will be lots of other players that want to call your bets (of course). Hence, when you have a good hand, it’s okay to bet high.
Keep in mind though that when the stakes are higher, the bets will also be much higher, sometimes a third of the pot. So, it’s best to buckle up for the highs and lows.
Avoid Raise on the River Mistakes
There are a few tell-tale signs you need to be on the lookout for so you can get out of a pot if you need to. Your opponents may play each hand in a specific manner that can work to your advantage (if you catch them). Here’s an example.
You might be playing a $1 or $2 no-limit game. Let’s say a weaker player wants to raise you on the river for what’s only likely a medium to a strong hand. This can occur if a player already has taken the lead from a previous round and is now facing one other opponent. You might raise on the river thinking it’s a value bet and a decent hand. However, it can be a trap. To avoid it, check or call on the end of a round. Why?
Sometimes you can go wrong if you stay in because your opponent might only be raising 3 or 4 times to drive out any trash hands. Be careful when raising on the river as it’s not always profitable.
Ignore the Balanced Style Advice
In some tournaments, you might overhear that you should play poker with a “balanced” style. Meaning don’t reveal any patterns in how you play and don’t bet big if you have a good hand. However, this isn’t always relevant when you’re playing in a large tournament.
You might have 5,000 to 10,000 opponents depending on how frequently you play and you may never come across the same players. Bet however you like in smaller tournaments but do balance all play when you get into bigger tournaments. You’ll likely see these players again.
Ultimately, you want consistent winning hands but that’s not always achievable with so many opponents during a tournament. Because there are all kinds of players, pace yourself, allow plenty of time and give yourself enough cash so you can win big when the timing is right!