Category Archives: Poker Tournaments

Poker Tournament Strategy

Optimal Poker Tournament Playing Strategy

Optimal Poker Tournament Playing Strategy & Short-handed considerations

It’s true that most poker tournament formats are still using 9- or 10-player format, but 6-max is definitely on the rise. Regardless if you play online poker or a the live tables, there are some strategies that work much better at these short-handed tables than at the traditional tables, so if you’re interested in taking on some of the short-handed tables, this article will help you take on the challenge and win real cash.

The key factor with strategy in 6-max poker tournaments is blind pressure — both direct and indirect. In the direct sense, the blinds are coming at you more quickly, which means you have to go about gathering chips more aggressively so that your stack can stay constant. You’ll have to play more hands, and you’ll have to take a more aggressive stance when you play them. You have more time to wait for the right hand to come along in a larger tournament, but the later you get in a 6-handed tournament, the poorer a strategy waiting becomes.

In an indirect sense, you also have to watch out for the effects of the rest of the field playing more hands — and doing so aggressively as well. This means that your opponents are likely to bet and/or raise with a weaker hand, so you can adjust your poker tournament strategy by doing such things as pushing raises higher when you really do have a strong hand, and then you can play back at a lighter level when your hand is on the lower end of the spectrum.

What’s the benefit of raising “light”? If you never do it, you will blind away, and opponents who are savvy will figure out that you only raise when you have stronger hands. However, if you raise too often, you are vulnerable to the re-steal, particularly when the chip stacks get smaller later in the game.

Another consideration is that you get more “BVB” play in a 6-max game. This stands for “Button against Blind” and can bring several different factors into play. When you are looking for the right hand to use for blind defense often varies with which player is on the button — and that player’s habits when it comes to raising, and whether they will fold or call for re-raises. A 6-max game requires you to defend more — and to steal more. The button is always a strong place to be, going last in all of the betting rounds post-flop. A full-ring game allows you to do more stealing and less defending, but in a 6-handed situation you have to be able to do both.

Set mining has less value when you are in a short-handed situation. Because your opponents will not have as big of a chance to have a strong hand, this can payoff. In a full-ring game, someone else is more likely to have a premium hand against you in a raised pot, but in 6-max you are more likely to have the stronger hand, but your raises are also not likely to go as high.

If you like to get aggressive in a poker tournament game, use moves to get back at your opponents and play post-flop, 6-max play might be right down your alley. However, just as in any tournament, understand the skill levels of your opponents as quickly as possible, and adjust accordingly.

Ready to put your skills on the line? You can practice as much as you need on the free online poker tables at Cafrino and get all the practice you need while winning real cash. Good luck!

fast-paced poker

Taking advantage of fast-paced poker

Taking advantage of fast-paced poker

One of the great things about the Internet is that it speeds everything up. When it comes to online poker, this means that you can play multi table tournaments at a turbo speed, with short levels and antes and blinds that just shoot up. A lot of live tournaments also have fast structures and are sometimes listed as “turbo” to tell you that you can anticipate the game going at breakneck speed.

Visit some several poker sites, and you’ll find a ton of tournaments set up this way. For example, some real money poker services designate some tournaments as “Regular” or “Slow.” These feature levels that can take up to 15 minutes, and the starting stacks are deep, while the antes and blinds don’t go up quickly at all. However, the “Turbo” and “Hyper-Turbo” tournaments are gaining in popularity as well.

How does it work? Well, the usual “Turbo” tournament will give you five-minute levels. However, the “Hyper-Turbo” tournaments feature three-minute levels, and the antes and blinds will go up approximately twice as quickly as they would in a “Turbo” event. Other poker websites offer tournaments moving at similar rates with those designations.

This means that tournaments will end pretty quickly. The most frequently played “Turbo” events are daily affairs, and the buy-ins range from 55 cents to $109. These games are called “The Hot $75” or whatever the buy-in is, and they all provide 3,000 chips to start and offer five-minute levels. If you get to the second hour, you’ll be at the 200/400/50 level. The “Hot” online fast-paced poker tournaments with lower buy-ins often bring in thousands of players, and the whole thing is usually done within no more than four hours.

Does this mean that speedier tournaments reward good luck more than skill? After all, the format means a lot more all-ins preflop, which means you’re hoping for strong hands more so than you do in the slower formats. However, these faster tournaments also benefit those who have the same skills to do well in slower tournaments. This means that it still pays to be clever with your starting hand choices, realizing the importance of position, choosing the right bet size and having the ability to read and predict what opponents are likely to do.

The main difference? Everything is going much more quickly. Your adjustments will be fewer, and you won’t have as much time to get over mistakes. You also can’t wait as long for the ideal hand. So let’s say for example that you get 150 big blinds to start for the initial five-minute level, but after the antes kick in, you’ll just have 30 if your starting stack hasn’t changed. So how can you benefit in this format?

Stay awake

If you don’t pay attention to deadlines, you’ll miss registering for the next hand and you’ll leave a lot on the table.

Read the others early

Use your initial levels to get a sense of your opponents’ tendencies to find the tight and loose players, and who appears to be playing with more savvy than guesswork. You don’t have as many hands to get this read and you have less time per hand.

Ready to put your skills on the line? You can practice as much as you need on the free online poker tables at Cafrino and get all the practice you need while winning real cash. Good luck!

Cafrino Online Poker Tournaments

The Differences Between Online Poker Tournaments & Cash Games

The Differences Between Online Poker Tournaments & Cash Games

Are you familiar with online poker tournaments? There are a number of different poker games and betting variations, but there are also two major types of game formats: poker tournament play and cash games. Here is a list of the primary differences between the two:

In a cash game, you swap money for chips, and you’ll usually see a minimum and maximum amount to buy in, depending on the stakes. In tournaments, all players have to buy in for the same amount, and they all generally get the same number of chips for the online poker tournament.

In a real money poker game, everyone is at the same table. Online poker tournaments may take place on a single table, but they can also take place on multiple tables.

If you’re in a cash game, you can quit whenever you want and turn your chips back in for cash. A tournament does not end until one player has all of the chips. Players receive payouts on the basis on their overall finish.

If you’re in a cash game, the blinds are always the same for every hand, depending on the stakes. In tournaments, the blinds go up in price, such as increasing every 20 minutes. Cash games allow you to buy more chips if you run out. Once you’re out of chips in a tournament, you can’t get back in.

Now, let’s take a more detailed look at each of these two formats.

When you enter a tournament, you pay a set amount of money that includes a fee for the venue to keep. So you might enter a tournament that costs $50 and charges a $3 fee to play, so you pay $53. $50 goes into the tournament prize pool, while the $3 goes to the organization running the tournament. Then, you might get $2,500 in tournament chips – which you can’t swap out for cash. The blinds could begin at $10 and $20 and then go up every 15 or 20 minutes. The blinds go up so that you have to bet more instead of just sitting back and waiting for ideal cards. This format progresses when players are forced out, and the eventual winners emerge.

The number of winners generally depends on the number of entrants. If you have a $50 entry fee for a tournament, and there are 200 players, that creates a prize pool of $10,000. That might go to the last 10 players at the last table. First place would range between $3,000 and $5,000 (30 to 50 percent of the pool), with descending amounts for second, third, fourth, fifth and so on. This is just how they work – the exact numbers will vary from one tournament to the next. The tournament organizer gets to decide how many chips you get to start, the initial blind levels and the time before increasing blind costs.

Cash games are often where people first learn about poker. You’ll usually face a minimum buy-in to start, and if you’re entering a no-limit game there will also be a maximum buy-in at times. This really protects the players over time. No-limit or pot-limit cash games usually mandate that you buy in between 20 and 100 big blinds. So if you are joining a game with blinds of $1/$2, you could buy in for as little as $40, but it’s more common to see buy-ins at $200 or so.

If you’re playing at a fixed limit table, you generally have to buy in with at least 10 times the small bet. So if the game is $3/$6, you would have to put down at least $30 to buy in. Stakes and buy-in amounts will change from one place to the next. You can find cash games of all sizes, especially if you start looking for legal online poker tournaments.

Ready to put your skills on the line? You can practice as much as you need on the free online poker tables and get all the practice you need before making the transition to legal online poker sites.