Why Tournament Players Fail

Playing in a poker tournament can be compared to putting your finger into a live electrical circuit -- it sizzles.

WinningPokerHandTourney

I know well the feeling of competing in a poker tournament. I have been doing it since 1969 when I played in my first tournament at the Sahara Dunes Card Room in Lake Elsinore, CA.

Miracles do happen and I finished second in that event. The money I won paid for a Hawaiian vacation. I even invited my mother-in-law to accompany me and my new wife to the beautiful tropical chain that Mark Twain nicknamed 'The Rainbow Islands.'

Over the years I have competed In hundreds of poker tournaments throughout the Southwest. Outlasting the other tournament players can be frustrating. It is grueling and hard labor to make the right decisions in no-limit Texas Hold'em when every hand could be your last.

I also played a lot of on-line poker before Black Friday when the federal government shut it down. While I did pretty well in the tournaments, I never made the final table when actual cash was involved. Sometimes the free poker events would attract over 1,000 players. The odds against finishing in the top ten were long against you.

Poker tournaments in land-based casinos are a lot easier to make the final table than the on-line events. First, you are competing against fewer players. Most regular poker tournaments draw less than 200 players. Second, you have eye-to-eye contact with your opponents and can make a better judgment on the quality of their play.

Veteran tournament players have a saying that goes 'Yoou can't win a poker tournament in an hour, but you sure can lose it.'

Some poker players go all in in the early hands, hoping to double their tournament chips. I think this is a mistake. When the first hands are dealt, you can call un-raised pots with any reasonable hands. Then if you get a miracle flop, you can set a trap to double your stack.

As players are eliminated, your strategy should change. You should work on stealing pots when in position and building up your chips. Don't make any foolish plays that would jeopardize your stack. You are fighting for survival and that would be a good way to eliminate yourself.

When you get down to the final two tables, your tactics should change again. Now you want to play only your premium hands. You are not ready to gamble -- yet. That will come when you make the final table.

If you have never played in a poker tournament, give it a try. You will be pleasantly surprised by the electricity that will surge through your veins. And maybe -- just maybe -- Lady Luck will smile on you.

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