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Strategy For A Live Poker Tournament  

We’ve seen it happen to many players in tournaments who miss playing their cards and they end up pay for it.  Some are lucky but those who are not, lose a lot of their chips or get knocked out of the tournament.  Chip management is the most important skill you must learn in poker.  Let’s look at the stages of playing in a tournament.

Be Conservative Early

At the start of a tournament, since the blinds and antes are low, it’s important, you play tight.  There is no reason to rush, relax and take it slow, play mainly premium hands.  Mix up your play a little, be conservative about 75%- 90% of the time.

Around The Middle 

When about 40%-60% of the competition has been eliminated from the tournament, it’s time to ramp up your play.  With less than a full table of players, you should be applying pressure with continuation bets (c-bets) to steal small pots.  It’s important because the blinds increase with every level and will slowly lower your stack size every time you post a big or small blind.  This is where your poker instincts and reading ability are important.  Reading your opponents style of play, just to see if they continue being conservative or change to a more aggressive approach.

Selective Aggression To Finish

If you play well and lucky enough in the tournament to make the money (as they say), this is when all of your knowledge is needed.  Being aggressive at times especially when you have the advantage of position, trusting your reads on other players.  Not rushing to get it all in unless you are the short stack. and need to double up.  If you are in a position of being one of the last 2 or 3 and offered to chop the prize, you may want to look at all the factors before making your decision.


Play conservative or tight in the early rounds of a tournament, moving to a little more loose or aggressive as the tournament moves on.  It is a must to learn both styles to succeed in poker.  Learning to adjust and adapt to other players styles is a lifetime journey for a poker player.  Good Luck! and may the cards be for you.

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