Online poker tournaments -- time to get aboard
by Tom Howze
Online poker tournaments are skyrocketing in popularity due to reasons ranging from low buyins into major tournaments for a fraction of their usual cost to those who do not live within driving distance of a land based poker room. (And of course another factor is the money that can be won.) The Internet has changed where and when one can play. This revolution in how the game is played has resulted in millions of dollars being placed into online poker tournaments and satellite poker tournaments, with more opportunities on the Net coming up each week.
Poker as a "sport" is widely enjoyed by millions around the world due to the necessary level of quick thinking, skill and challenge of the game. For those who don't understand, what makes it a game of skill is this, the element of luck is in the draw of the cards, but the skill is in how those cards are played. Too many times on televised tournaments you can see extremely bad hands winning because of how the hands were handled in a case-by-case situation by the player. Anyone can get lucky for a good run or even enough to win a tournament, but over time the skill level of a player will reflect their number of victories and the amount of winnings taken home.
What fundamentals does a poker player need to know before playing tournaments over the Internet? Here are some tips:
Make sure you are ready. Practice in regular play over the Internet as much as possible. This is what lets you gain years of playing experience in a matter of months. Many young players in their 20's are doing well against top players and this is one of the big ways of how they get their knowledge so fast.
Take the time to invest in learning strategies, techniques and how to read players. Purchasing a few books written by experienced top players is a better investment than playing at a table without an idea of what is going on. Combining the two will enable you to play a solid game and wait for others to make mistakes and bust out. And know how to adjust your playing strategy when the blinds increase.
Surrender in order to survive. It does not make sense to play marginal hands in a tournament if you don't have to. Unless you know you have a winning hand, it may be wiser to fold. The chips you save may help you to win a larger amount when you get a superior hand. For the first few rounds in a tournament, you are trying to survive while others are being eliminated.
Take the time to understand when a player is "pot committed". When a player is pot committed, they have so much invested that it makes it hard to back away from folding or putting more chips in. Knowing to watch for this will enable you to put on more pressure when you know you have a superior hand. It should also help you know when to abandon a hand so that you do not place yourself in a situation when it becomes hard to back away.
Finally, keep a written record to track your play and earnings. It will help you to focus in order to become a better player. This lets you stay on track and forces you to ask yourself if you are playing the best game you can play.
Tom Howze is a webmaster for 7 sites that relate to online gambling, World Series of Poker and World Poker Tour events and updates. For more information, please visit 2005 World Series of Poker . He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org for questions.
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