The vast regional poker tournaments hosted by casinos and poker clubs are little more than a learning experience for the average poker player. Recreational gamblers have little chance of winning these massive poker events.
Luckily, there’s a way for poker players to get the entire poker tournament experience without merely making a donation. Look at the smaller poker tournaments for your best chances to gain experience and make a little money.
You are missing opportunities by skipping small poker tournaments. Use these smaller buy-ins and smaller fields to grow your poker prowess. Ultimately, you’ll find options to start earning profits while you enjoy the thrill of competition.
Starting Small Can Lead to Huge Wins
You wouldn’t be alone if you automatically assumed the players in the $50-$100 buy-in range were newbies. However, you’d be one of the thousands of players who get side-swiped by not paying attention to the tables.
Yes, there are a lot of rookie poker tournament players that dive into this range. Yet, being a tournament rookie doesn’t necessarily make anyone a fish.
You will have more measurable success by finding the tournaments with the lowest buy-in available. The competition will generally be weaker the more minor the stakes.
That’s because a good poker player won’t waste time trying to make a $100 profit over hours when they could make many times that in another game.
Start as small as you can, then work your way up slowly. Knowing how to win a tournament can help tremendously at more significant stakes.
Have the Right Size Bankroll to Survive
One of the most alluring aspects of the poker tournament scene to many amateurs is the well-defined buy-in for such events. Instead of taking a seat at a table with a significant portion of your bankroll and hoping for the best, you’re mitigating your risk by putting in a pre-determined amount.
That provides a beautiful avenue for amateurs to stretch their bankroll, but it also allows better players to take advantage. As poker players begin the transition from recreational to advantage play, there is a world of uncertainty. Playing tournaments will enable players to feel the enhanced competition without fear of going bankrupt.
Still, players of all ability levels must ensure that they have the proper funds to survive a bad run at the tables. Many casinos offer poker tournaments several times a day, and the buy-ins will add up.
If you are not financially capable of dealing with the losses, you’ll soon be sitting on the sidelines. Another area of consideration is re-buys. Some events will let players buy back into the event before a set point in the event.
You should consider this money in addition to your buy-in if you want the chance to stay in the fight after a catastrophe. Make sure that you’re accounting for every dollar you spend on tournaments when looking at the stakes.
Picking Small Poker Tournaments with the Most Potential Is a Skill
There’s skill involved in finding poker tournaments offering tremendous potential for profits. I can preach all day about what I do, but that could still lead to confusing losses and early exits from the events you play.
There’s a line that needs to be walked between the low risk/low reward and all risk/better rewards. Ideally, you want as little risk as possible while having a reasonable return on investment.
But if the only spot playing out is first, you’re facing a ton of risk. However, if the event is splitting that prize over half of the field, you have a good shot at winning some money.
It is also helpful to know the competition. When you’re playing in your home casino, you can get a lay of the land.
Measuring the strength of the field will benefit you greatly, but only in instances where you’re familiar enough to do so. The more you play in poker tournaments, the easier it will become to pick spots that offer potential.
Steal as Much as You Can but Don’t Be Predictable
When you’re playing tournament poker, the stakes will go upwards as the play progresses. One of the most popular principles of poker strategy is to steal the pot whenever possible.
Merely stealing the blinds can show a profit in cash games. For tournament poker players, it’s a fantastic way to boost your chip stack.
The smaller the event, the less likely players are going to call when you bet aggressively. The flip side of this is that you’ve better got a hand, or you could go home early.
I suggest betting aggressively early to set a precedent. This behavior will back you up later in the event when there’s more money in play.
As the field dwindles to a cut line, everyone will become much tighter. That gives you the perfect opening to begin stealing blinds at a faster rate.
You don’t want to be predictable in poker. So, keep the nature of your bets fluctuating, but you’ll know the intention.
Knowing Where You Stand Is Advantageous
As tournaments unfold and players begin to drop, it’s essential to know where you stand. Are you among the chip leaders at your table, or do you have some ground to cover?
Keep an eye on the other tables and know when things are coming down to the wire. Even the shortest stacks can begin to turn around, but you’ll need the time to catch up.
Use the Downtime to Watch Everything
When you’re involved with a hand, you should dedicate one hundred percent of your attention to the cards. We all know the enormous distractions constantly circulating in poker rooms; you need to be present to win.
Whenever you’re not directly involved in a hand, watch everything that goes on from the other players. Gathering any insight into a poker player’s strategy or tells will be of extreme value later.
Furthermore, the act of staying connected to the action keeps you in the present. If you’re daydreaming about your evening plans, you’ll miss the player to your immediate right slow playing top pair.
Observation is an important poker skill. Since tournaments have a diminishing field, you’re going to be faced with changing competition down to the last face-off.
It’s impossible to say when a seemingly inconsequential hand earlier in the poker event may give you the information necessary to make a crucial call. The smaller field size of the tiny events means a better opportunity to learn your opponents.
Pay Attention to Rules Changing as the Poker Tournament Progresses
Playing tournaments is different from cash games in a ton of ways. Yet, one of the most vital differences is often overlooked.
There will be incremental increases in the blinds as the tournament continues. That’s an essential piece of the puzzle when accounting for how many blinds you can afford.
If you have any questions, you shouldn’t hesitate to ask the dealer. Chances are you’re not the only player that could benefit from an explanation.
Don’t Underestimate the Competition
You’re playing poker for money, don’t assume anything. If you automatically think players are soft because of the stakes, you’re setting yourself up for failure.
Even if you’re accustomed to playing for much higher stakes, there could be equal talent across the table. When you believe nobody else has a chance of beating you, one negative hand can completely throw you off your game.
Your competition will show you who they are and where their skill level rests. Wait for the information needed before drawing any conclusions.
You’re Not Playing a WSOP Table, Have a Little Fun
Yes, ideally, you’ll make a profit from playing small poker tournaments. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be having fun.
Enjoy yourself, and you might find that you’re getting more than mere profits from the endeavor.
Please don’t be shy when playing in the micro poker tournaments offered by casinos or other poker venues. You are missing opportunities by skipping small poker tournaments.
Fortunately, all it takes to uncover everything that you’ve been missing is a little action. Make small field poker tournaments your stepping stone to something bigger.