Strategic tips for small-stakes online Texas Hold’em tournaments

by | Jul 8, 2019 | Poker News

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Small-stakes games don’t necessarily have to be viewed as “cheap” or “a waste of time.”  Played correctly, they can prove to be lucrative, even if they are frustrating sometimes.  However, some games, including some with buy-ins as low as $1, attract thousands of players, which means big pots are in store. 

While becoming a millionaire through low-stakes cashes isn’t possible, they can still help to build strategies and make moving up the ranks easier.  If you’re going to participate in low-stakes tournaments, be prepared with a couple of tips.

Low buy-in games with large fields can often take a few hours to find a winner.  Be prepared to stay in the game and be patient. Don’t get started if you’re not ready to commit for the whole time.  On rare occasions, low buy-in games have lasted up to 12 hours, so they’re not for everyone. 

Low-stakes tournaments typically have a large variance because of the numbers the events attract.  Since low-stakes tournaments are almost exclusively synonymous with recreational player, be prepared to see anything and everything at the table.  All too often, players will call big raises, or even all-ins, while holding virtually nothing of strength. This can be exacerbating, but it is part of the game and you have to be prepared. 

While this circumstance is entirely positive over the long haul, over the short term, you can regularly wind up playing worse than you might otherwise play.  In the event you get stuck in a rut, keep your bankroll padded to jump back in and fight back. Most players will recommend something in the scope of 200-300 times of your normal buy-in.

Keep your play simple and pay attention to value bets.  When one comes along, take it as high as you can go and, almost without exception, don’t ever try to bluff.  Just like many players will call almost anything, you have to expect an insane call at any time and you could end up losing your stack against the most ridiculous hand possible.  Some recreational players believe, incorrectly, that scoring a win with a no-hand makes them a professional.  

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Similarly, ensure you get the most extreme incentive from your made hands.  Higher-stakes competition players may routinely fire 1/3 pot-sized wagers at their adversaries; however, that is on the grounds that it is progressively hard to get satisfied at those stakes.  At the lower end of the range, you can pull off wagering more. Since such a large number of your adversaries will love to call your wagers, you should exploit with your solid property.

Be prepared to lay down some big hands.  The tournament is going to have its share of donks and you need to take it all in stride.  Determine how players are playing, just like you would in any tournament, and use this to your advantage.  If you see that a weak player limp-calls preflop, calls on the flop and the turn and then blasts on the river, it’s pretty obvious that he or she has a strong hand.  Let it go and save your energy for the next hand. 

In the event that somebody discloses to you that you need to play an “adjusted style” of poker in low-stakes games with large fields, just laugh it off.  This is someone who is trying to impress you with his poker knowledge (albeit limited) and wants to appear as someone used to playing higher stakes.

While against more grounded competition, you would need to play a balanced game.  However, in low-stakes where the players are not that experienced, this isn’t as much of a concern.  Inexperienced players won’t be able to get a good read on you, even if you vary your style, so go for the jugular and secure the victory. 

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