Five considerations to increase your odds of winning small stakes online poker tournaments.
There’s nothing more exhilarating than a poker tournament with a cheap buy-in and a large field. They cost little to join, making them very attractive; in turn offering some very juiciest prize pools. Canada’s most popular poker sites love to offer these events, well aware that they can easily surpass their guarantees.
As fun as these tournaments can be, they can also be very frustrating. You’re competing against thousands of other people, and since they’re so cheap to enter, the majority of the field is often casual and careless poker players. Despite their poor game play, so many nits means a lot of chances for them to get a lucky draw. Suffice to say, don’t expect an easy ride to the finish!
5 Steps to Increasing Your Odds of Winning Small Stakes Tourneys
Recreational players rely more on chance. Skilled players rely on academic strategy. Thus, more often than not, the skilled player will prevail over the novitiate. But the more nits there are, the harder it gets. The following tips will help guide you past the weaklings and into the money bubble—where the rest of the good players await!
#1 How much time do you have?
If you’re already a full-time poker pro, you can stay up as late as you want. If you have a traditional day job, consider possible time constraints before registering for any small stakes online poker tournaments. These games can last hours upon hours. I recommend having at least 12 hours free, just in case you run deep. If the event starts at 7:00pm, and you have work at 9:00am, you better finish in first place for the big prize, because you may not have a job after walking in like a zombie the next day.
#2 Variance is your worst enemy.
The variance in low stakes poker tournaments is more flexible than a contortionist at the Cirque. This goes back to facing off against a hoard of nits. Expect your raises to get called, even the all-in ones. You have to play a super tight game, especially in the early to middle stages, to survive. Bluffing is out of the question. Stick to value bets on good hands, and even then, don’t be surprised by a bad beat on the river.
#3 Get maximum value from big hands.
When you’re holding the nuts, don’t be afraid to take advantage of it. Recreational players don’t care what you’re holding. You can’t represent a big hand and expect them to fold. They only see their own cards, and if they want to get to the showdown, they will pay for it. Playing super tight doesn’t leave you much room to make big pots, so make it count when the opportunity presents itself. If it doesn’t work out, skip ahead to Poker Tip #5.
#4 Don’t worry about patterns in your game.
In a high-stakes tournament with a smaller field, it’s important to balance your game play to avoid being read by your opponents. In small stakes tournaments, that’s not a problem—at least, not until the latter stages. Don’t worry about someone recognizing your consistent ‘big hand—big bet’ moves. There are thousands of players, and most of them couldn’t identify a nut-flush if the board had four diamonds. You’re never going to see these people again. Forget balance and stick to max value bets.
#5 Don’t let a loss get you down.
The most frustrating thing about large-field, small-stakes online poker tournaments is that you’re going to lose more than you win—maybe a lot more—and that’s a hard pill to swallow when you know very well that you’re better than the majority of them. But their weak play and variance is going to bite you in the butt, and it’s going to sting when it does.
Don’t let that get you down. Look at the bright side. It didn’t cost much to enter—preferably no more than 1/200 of your overall bankroll—so you can keep right on trying. And if you follow the poker tips above, your odds of turning a few losses into one nice profit should be a lot higher.
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