Changing Gears In Tournaments
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When to change gears in a poker tournament is when you have been playing a certain way for a long period of time. If you have been playing tight for hours on end, sitting and waiting for hands to come is when you should begin to attack pots. The main reason for this is you have earned a tight image sitting there and waiting for so long. The key to progressing through a tournament is to effectively change gears at the right times. Timing is everything and some of the best times to flick a switch and attempt to pick up pots are by picking up the pots that nobody else at the table are interested in winning. By winning a great deal of small pots with little to no risk is one of the things to keep in your mind always. It can make the difference between players who shows a small amount of profit to someone who is a consistent winner.
In tournament poker you should change gears depending on the table you are playing at. If your table is playing passive then you should be the aggressor. If your table is mixing it up a lot and playing almost every pot, then you should sit back for awhile and watch. There is nothing wrong with not playing a pot for 2 or 3 orbits if your chip stacks are still relatively deep. You can sit and be an observer, risk nothing and then adjust to how people are playing when you do catch a big hand.
The major times to pick out when a table is slowing down or speeding up is almost always going to be the money bubble. Most players will play almost no hands when the bubble is approaching. If you sit at a table like this you should jump at the chance to play every pot. If you are jumping in every pot and winning pot after pot it will build your confidence along with your stack. When the money bubble is fast approaching everyone is holding their breath and nervous about the possibility of playing for a long period of time and walking away with nothing. Nobody wants to play a tournament for an entire day or two and walk away without money in their pocket. This is just a fact of human nature, if you put time into something you want a return for the time you’ve invested.
How to effectively change gears in poker tournaments is something that the table should almost be shouting to you. With a great deal of younger or internet players at your table they will almost always play aggressive throughout the duration of an entire tournament. This strategy is something you want to stay away from. Tournaments are the long haul grind of poker that should pay dividends for extreme patience. If you decide to play every hand from beginning to end you will almost never have chips in the end. All someone has to do is sit and wait then trap you into losing a big pot to them. This is not to say that you shouldn’t play a great deal of hands though. What you should do is pick spots where the blinds are easier to win or the players are easier to read and go from there. If you can identify the players who you can run over, you can stick it in fifth gear and steamroll tables. If you are steamrolling a table for an extended period of time on the converse this is a time to step back and look over how you are playing. Also, you should keep in mind if people at the table are recognizing that you are playing pot after pot, they will try to trap you. When to change the gear downward maybe just be a random period of time throughout a tournament where you have gathered enough chips and you can sit back and wait for awhile until you decide to play again. If you have reached the top or have the most chips in a tournament and have been gambling throughout a tournament you should almost certainly take a breather and slow down because as fast as chips have come in to your stack they can just as easily go out of your stack.
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Playing Pots in Position vs. Out of Position