Getting through tournaments is tough. They can be mentally exhausting, physically and mentally. Unlike cash games, you’re playing an ever-changing game. Facing different opponents, different stack sizes, increasing blinds and reshuffling your strategy based on everything around you is no picnic. That’s why in this article, we will look at five tips to succeed in Texas Hold’em poker tournaments.
1) M Ratio
Learning M ratio is a must for any one looking to take tournaments seriously. It’s a measure of how healthy your stack is and how long you can survive before bleeding yourself out the tournament. You can calculate your “M” by dividing your stack by the small blind, big blind and antes.
The greater your M, the more flexible you can be. The smaller it is, the more you need to start shoving chips. Sometimes players just see values and don’t qualify them as blinds as they should. That’s why M is great as it helps you get a good idea on how you are doing and more importantly, what strategy you need to do.
2) 3 Bet Shoving 12 – 20 big blinds
You can’t just wait around for aces or kings in tournaments. Do that, and you will be short stacking yourself every time. Instead, if you find yourself in a 12 to 20 big blind stack range, look for opportunities to 3 bet shove over a raise. This is a great way to pick up tournament chips.
As long as you time it well, you will find yourself picking up decent chips. I recommend doing it against regulars who are stealing from late position. This move works best when you are in the blinds or late position yourself. Don’t try this against early position opens as they are more likely to have a stronger hand.
3) Keep Stealing the Blinds
This is simple but effective. You must continue to steal blinds throughout a tournament. Many players seem to do it only at early or only at late stages. Every round you steal pays for your blinds for another round. You can steal from various positions. It tends to work better if you’re raising from late position or the small blind if it folds to you. The fewer opponents left to act, the better your chance of it working.
4) Be Aggressive on the Bubble
Most poker players tend to play timid as the bubble approaches. They don’t like playing for hours and the thought of bubbling, making nothing in the process. This is natural, but not optimal strategy. You can take advantage of their passivity by being more aggressive. It’s a great time to chip up and build a decent stack.
5) Practice 6 Max Poker
In order to top 3 a tournament, you need to know short-handed poker. There’s no point getting to a final table to be one of the first to bust out. You need to be securing a top 3 finish when you final table. To do this, you must know how to play with fewer opponents.
I recommend gaining experience in 6 max poker. Perhaps practice some SNGs and heads up tournaments at lower stakes. Once you have some experience, you’ll be less nervous and more prepared. Hand selection, table image and positional awareness are probably the most important aspects when there’s less players, so get practicing. After all, practice makes perfect. Good Luck!