Some people who have been playing in cash games suddenly switch to tournament games and feel very uncomfortable and even discouraged, complaining that the tournament players are simply “messing around” and “playing all the time”. In fact, this is due to the difference between the strategies of cash games and tournament games. Cash game players are accustomed to playing at a relatively slow pace, especially at low to mid-dollar tables, where they can sit and play very few cards all night as a quiet “tight” player. At tournament tables, however, it’s a different story. We see a lot of players opening a lot of hands in middle position and even seeing a lot of pre-flop all-in action, especially in tournaments where the blinds are rising quickly.
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Tournament strategy is more complex than cash strategy
In cash games, players are concerned about being able to make more +EV decisions. However, in tournament play, it becomes more important to be able to master how to be a good loose player to gain more of an advantage or exploit weaker players.
In tournament play, you must compete more aggressively for the pot, always paying attention to your position, all-in hand range, size blind, ante, remaining opponents’ styles and your relative positions, the amount of chips in the field, etc. In cash games, the amount of chips is equal to their value, however, in tournaments, the value of the early chips is far less than the late chips, and you have to consider the “ICM” model, for example, a player who has already entered the bonus round, even if he only has one big blind in his hand, becomes very valuable when faced with the bonus mechanism of one player advancing in the bonus round for one more elimination. very valuable. Especially if the player is playing in a ticketed tournament, the remaining chips in his hand are not just about survival but about quantity.
If a cash game player wants to be a good tournament player, he needs to expand his poker mind.
The game needs to be loose and fierce
In low and mid-level cash games, tight aggression is the best strategy. However, if you want to be a successful tournament player, you need to play more aggressively and actively look for opportunities to double up. This makes tournaments seem crazy because sometimes you have to take risks with some not-so-good hands, especially late in the tournament, and sometimes middle pairs need to go for value bets as much as possible, as well as execute 3-bets with flush straights and frequent attacks on blind players, and conversely, aggressively guard your big blind. Also, the amount of chips in a tournament will determine the range and strategy. For example, big chip players often put a lot of pressure on short and medium sized players because as the blinds grow, the short sized players will gradually tighten their range.
Different betting scales for cash games and tournament games
In tournament games, you will usually see a lot of players betting in the 25%-35% range. This is because most players in tournaments are tight, they fold at a high rate, and most tight handed players do not want to get involved in a very large pool because they usually only have one hand ready to buy in.
Common betting scales for tournaments
- Pre-flop: 2.25-3BB + 1BB (here represents one sneaker in front of you, two then add another 1BB)
- Re-raise: Standard is x3BB, e.g. lead raiser raises 4BB, Re-raise to 12BB
Tournament play requires more patience
This may seem to contradict the previous point about being a looser and meaner player who competes more aggressively for the bottom of the pot. The reason why tournaments require more patience is that good players wait patiently for a better time to enter the pot. A tournament is a long trip and everyone is looking forward to the finish line, especially in live tournaments which usually take several days and the final winner cannot be predicted until the last minute, so without patience you will not be able to go far.
Cash games are different. You can choose to leave the table or give yourself some time to rest if you feel bad or keep not coming. Once the tournament starts, you need to keep yourself alert and focused, treating your table as if it were the final table, and this demand on yourself can last for hours, which is undoubtedly patient for tournament players.
Robbing the blinds in tournaments is more common
Phil Gordon has openly admitted that he steals blinds for a living in tournaments, so it is very valuable for players to grab the blinds often in tournaments, especially in the middle of the tournament when the ante comes in. It is important to steal the blinds, and it is equally important to defend your blinds when your opponent steals them. This makes for a wide range of blind positions. Cash game players will find it incredible that the range of blind players is so wide, and it is actually due to the structure of the tournament. In cash games, the big blind usually only accounts for about 1% of the effective chips, however, in tournaments this can rise to 10%, especially at the FT (final table).
The chances of making a profit in a tournament are few and far between
Usually there are a lot of people participating in a tournament, but only the lucky 20% or so in the front are able to win the prizes. But the fact is that getting into the prize circle is not always a pleasure, so it is said that only a few people or even only one person is happy in a tournament (and the second place is not always satisfied). So if a player wants to become a tournament regular, he usually gets the advice to “prepare 100 buy-ins”. Because most of the time, tournament players usually get nothing, preparing enough money is a way to keep their mindset intact.
Texas Holdem Poker Tips – Only One Chance
In a typical tournament, players cannot Re-buy, either because the tournament system dictates it or because players are only prepared to buy one lot. So some major swings in the tournament (all-in or over-the-pool bets) will be well thought out. Especially during the bubble phase, don’t call big chip overbet easily unless you have a strong hand or you have just as many chips. Therefore it is said that for tournament players, one mistake can lead to a million havoc and every decision a player makes should be well thought out to avoid making mistakes with a large amount of chips.
In addition, there are many differences between tournament games and cash games. For example, tournaments have a low buy-in and high return, and players can get a hundred times the return in a single game, which is very difficult to do in cash games. Tournaments are more time consuming, while cash is more flexible. Tournaments can even start with 0 money, etc. If you have some of your own experiences with tournaments and cash, feel free to add to the conversation by leaving a comment about why you like or choose the type of game you are currently involved in.