Poker tournaments have become hugely popular over time. Events like the World Series of Poker are broadcast each year on ESPN, and thousands of fans around the world cheer on their favorite for the title. Due to this, several strategies have been developed to play such events.
As a general rule, there is no magic formula for playing tournaments because poker is a game that involves more than cards. However, in this short article, we will share three basic tips to improve your performance in tournaments.
ICM (Independent Chip Model)
The Independent Chip Model (ICM) is a crucial mathematical concept for tournament players. This converts stacks into chips according to the money equity, considering the remaining prize pool. You can study with an icm poker guide or use a calculator to improve your game in the poker tournaments at 888Poker, for example.
When the tournament starts, the value of your chips is equals to the buy-in. However, if you survive the bubble and have the same number of chips, the value changes to the minimum payment. Doing this calculation is very important to define your movements in the tournament.
Please note that you won’t be able to run a poker calculator during a live tournament, so you will need to practice before hitting the tables. Please double-check the online event poker room terms and conditions to verify that running such software is not prohibited.
In a tournament with 200 players and 30 paid positions, the bubble will be 31st: the last player eliminated with no payment. Many players try to survive the bubble to get at least the minimum payment, but a good player is usually all-in for first place.
There is no magic formula for playing during the bubble stage, but as a general rule of thumb, you should target weak players (those you are afraid of the bubble and don’t want to take the minimum prize), protect your stack, and if you dominate the ICM concept, you make your movements according to the equity you have and the value of your chips.
So, have you managed to get more chips than anyone in the tournament? This is a great situation to play as you can take advantage of your position. However, if you don’t use a good strategy, you can lose all your chips in a few hands.
Again, there is no secret formula for playing chip leader. However, you can play a wider range of starting hands more aggressively, especially during the pre-flop stage when antes are involved, forcing weak players to fold a bigger range. If you are deepstack during the bubble, you can apply pressure to almost all players, especially those with a short stack. You should also avoid unnecessary risks against other players with large stacks.
You may face many other situations in a tournament, and you should have a strategy for each of them. Adapting your game to the tournament stage and current spot will ensure long-term success.