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Team Up Against the Big Boys: A Few Tips for Winning at Tournament Poker

Poker tips that will help you to hold your own against the big boys

How to Become A Great Poker Player

Many novices and beginning level players start going through the online poker tournament routine without knowing how to strategize enough to win big. As a result, they end up losing to more experienced players and eventually, lose their enthusiasm for the game. Let us check out a few tips that will help you to hold your own against the big boys of tournament poker.

Always Open Small (and As Often as You Can)

Let us imagine a scenario where Mr. Bruce Wayne is playing. Imagine that there is around 2,400 in the poker pot from both blinds as well as well -upped antes. Mr. Bruce Wayne is risking 2,200 in order to take it all home. In the long run, this means that Mr. Wayne’s opening gambit will have to work 47.8 percent of the time in order to make a profit on an immediate basis.

This is due to the fact that until and unless the blinds are unusually aggressive, there is a reasonable off-chance that the rest of the players are not collectively playing with a full 52.2 percent.

Though there is no hard and fast rule, we can say with a certain measure of confidence that Mr. Wayne could expect his small blind to play back easily enough, with approximately 10-20 percent of the hands being played in the tournament.

Here, if the bigger blind is considered tight enough to go to the folding hand stage, for instance, Q-5s or even K-7, then raising even a simple 7-2 should logically show an immediate profit.

However, you have to be very careful if there are very few opponents left in the game. It would be a good idea to spread out your opening range. But before you do that, it is important to ascertain what types and kinds of hands the other players in the tournament will be playing with. Remember, if they call while your hand is mediocre, you will be in a difficult spot.

If You Are Playing A Really Big Blind, Then You Should Be Prepared to Defend It

Just as a really small open raise will typically have to work approximately half of the time to generate a modest profit, so is the case with big blind. Here the onus of stopping people from raising multiple times will rest with you. It is not as difficult as it sounds because such large blinds pack extremely generous poker pot odds, most of the time.

Taking the example of Mr. Wayne’s hand, there is already 4,600 in the poker tournament pot of which 2,400 comes from both blinds and well-upped antes, while Bruce’s 2,200 remains open. For the ‘big blind’ factor to come into play, he will need to call 1,200 more in order to see the flop.

How to Make it to The Final Table

The holy grail of online poker is the coveted ‘Final Table.’ Not everyone gets there and almost all beginners end up crashing and burning on the long road to this table. Here, it is absolutely imperative that you refrain from assuming that you actually own all the chips that are part of your stack. Remember, that this is not a cash poker game.

In simple words, you just can’t simply walk up to the croupier to cash in your chips. Here, the chips you accumulate do not have the same intrinsic value as your cash chips, per se.  In a nutshell, no one ever wins one hundred percent of the prize pool once the game ends.

As a general rule, when playing online poker tournaments, it is important to remember that the ‘final table’ is where you will not only find the big boys, but also the real money. But attaining a seat at that table requires a whole lot of focus and hard work: Here are a few pointers that will help you reach your goal:

Always be Aggressive

This holds particularly true when you are going into late events. Remember the whole purpose of a poker tournament is to weed out the less experienced players till only the creme de la crème of the game is left. You cannot reach the later stages if you are always on the defensive side. This is why when your opponents in the online poker tournament are trying their level best to hold onto their own chips, you should always try and use yours in order to get more.

Keep an Eye Out for Tight Fisted Players

As the final table approaches, many poker players start ‘tightening up.’ This means that there are always many players who want to hold on to their chips so that they will be able to get onto the final table with a sizable pile on their hands. Such players are pretty easy to spot, especially since they go from raising their stakes to folding at the smallest raise. Taking their pots is as easy as taking candy from a baby!


The above techniques and pointers are a great way to ‘ease’ a beginning player into an online poker tournament.  However, if you start a game with the expectation that you will end up at the final table in your very first game, then that is not going to happen. There is a reason why its called the ‘final table’—not everyone is experienced enough or skilled enough to reach this stage. However, playing the game multiple times and participating in different online poker tournaments will definitely give you a feel of the game. And in time, you will become a great poker player!


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