Cash Games versus Tournaments – P4: Practicing Tournament Play

The best way to gain experience in playing tournaments is to jump right in and buy in to some tournaments on your online poker sites of choice. UltimateBet has no-limit Hold ’em tournaments for buy-ins as low as $5, plus a $0.50 entry fee. Two nice things about those $5 tournaments are that they run several a day, and they don’t allow rebuys. The low cost means players won’t be too upset about blowing off their chips early in the tour- nament, but at least the really reckless ones are likely to go out early. Watch out for the ones that catch cards, though!

If you’d rather practice against the computer, you can invest in Tournament Texas Hold ’em from Wilson Software. As shown in Figure 5.2, you can choose between limit, pot-limit, and no-limit betting; play against average, above average, or tough competition; choose the number of play- ers; allow or disallow rebuys; and choose the starting chip count and blind structure.

Figure 5.2 Set up the tournament you’d like to play today.

Each type of tournament offers a number of blind structures and progressions you can follow. Many tournaments in online card rooms raise the betting limits very quickly to eliminate players and get the tournament over with, while the larger tournaments raise the betting limits more slowly so that better players can choose the hands with which they want to take on the competition. Figure 5.3 shows you the screen you can use to choose the blind structure and progression for no-limit tournaments.

Recommended Reading

Some legendary tournament players have written books that share their tournament and poker experiences. You would do very well to have these books in your library:

Championship Tournament Poker, by Tom McEvoy, is the best general poker tournament book available. McEvoy covers all of the major game types (Hold ’em, Omaha high, Omaha high- low, Stud, and Razz) and offers valuable insights into the life of the tournament professional.

Championship No-Limit & Pot-Limit Hold ’Em by T.J. Cloutier and Tom McEvoy (Cardoza, 2004). This book covers a fair amount of tournament strategy in addition to the core cash game skills.

Super System by Doyle Brunson. This book is the first great book on no-limit Hold ’em, but the coverage of seven-card Stud, Lowball, Razz, and other games is also first-rate.


Figure 5.3 With these controls, you can better approximate the type of tournament you’ll play online.
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