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Your First Poker Tornament

There are many opportunities to get involved in poker tournament action whether you're an online player or prefer live games. When taking your first plunge into texas holdem tournaments, you've got to approach your maiden voyage with patience and sharp observation skills. Unlike sitting and going, you're in a tournament to finish in the money, and ideally win the whole thing; often times to accomplish such a task you're going to need some serious endurance as some events can last for several hours, or even days.

Whether you're playing your first hold'em tournament online or in a live setting, you can expect to face every type of player imaginable; the pro, the hopeful pro, players so tight they won't lie anything down other than a blind and those that are true maniacs in every sense of the word. You've got to learn to identify these players quickly and take what you can when the opportunity presents itself. Many players will beat themselves, and you have to be patient enough to let them do it. You can quickly build your chip count by stealing blinds appropriately and playing a good, solid, tight-aggressive style. This should help you advance in the tournament action and get you closer to the money.

As you progress in the tournament consider the gap concept. If you're going to stay in the action and call someone's bet, you better be prepared to go the distance. You need a stronger hand to challenge a competitor's bet than you do to make a bet. David Sklansky has written about this in great detail, and if interested you can delve further into the gap concept as written by the master.

If you find that you're playing well and have outlasted several of your tournament competitors, you'll need to adapt your game even further as the competition gets better and better. Continue to play solidly and focus on the action in front of you; what's going on at other tables may be of interest to you but cannot become your focus. The deeper you go in a tournament, you're going to have to loosen up a bit and take some necessary risks; it's the only way you're going to have a real shot at winning. As much as excellent play will help you progress, there has never been a player that won a tournament without a little bit of luck. Whether it's an aggressive all-in move in No-Limit Hold'em, or a bluff to steal an ante to build a chip count in a Limit game, you can't win a tournament on skill alone.

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