How to Play the Early Levels of a Multi-Table Online Poker Tournament

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Playing online poker tournaments can be very intimidating, especially if you’re doing the multi-table variety. The first stages of the tournament have strategies that differ from the middle and final phases of the competition. Getting through the initial points is your utmost priority because it’s at this time that will mean you’re going to push on forward or leave the table as a loser.

Once you get to the middle stages, then perhaps this is where the real game begins. Before you can get to that point, you need to cover the preliminaries first. It’s at this moment that your main focus shouldn’t be on winning, but how to survive. With different competitors at their throats, it wouldn’t matter how much loot you got if it’s going to disappear in a heartbeat. To help you survive the early levels of a multi-table online poker tournament, we’ve put together this short guide.

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Don’t Disregard the Early Levels

“All that matters is I win the turnamen poker (poker tournament).” This thought is what may be buzzing around the minds of first-time online poker tournament players. After all, what else is there but to win, right? There are a number of players, including some veteran online poker participants who don’t want to gain a bunch of chips right off the bat. Why? It’s because if they do and they lose, then it’s going to be a tougher blow to deal with as compared to when you just have a small pile at the beginning of the match. Poker tournament relies on the aspect of elimination; in other words, surviving is better than winning immediately.

Don’t Go Crazy Over Deep Stacks

Different online poker tournaments vary in a broad sense. However, there are many cases wherein pre-ante levels will have participants sitting behind uniquely deep stacks. These stacks, however, may become shallow over time. In a lot of multi-table online poker tournament setups, the average chip stack will drop to about 50 big blinds, or perhaps even less when the middle stages of the event kicks into high gear. However, during the initial stages, these stacks can go as deep as 100, 200, or even 250 BBs. A very common error many beginner online players make is that they tend to go “all out” with their preflop. As a result, it’ll put them in awkward and sometimes hard-to-deal situations.

Be the Hunter, Not the Hunted

Think of other online poker competitors to be trappers just waiting for their prey to get caught in their wily traps. A great mindset while playing online poker tournaments is to lean to being tight while being very cautious with your hands at play. However, also keep an eye on other players as they might “trap” you into playing hands that would work in their favor. Just think about your upcoming move before deciding to call or fold.

Opponent Profiling

Lastly, but definitely not the least, even if the pots are relatively small at the beginning (because most players don’t want to lose all their chips during the initial stages of the tournament), you should immediately pick up which opponent has a huge bankroll at their disposal. In many cases, you’ll be dealing with players who are more aggressive than others. Keep an eye on these opponents, as these will be the main challengers to deal with during the later stages of the match.

When you’re playing online poker tournaments, whether it may be in a multi-table format or otherwise, don’t think that you can breeze through the early stages of the match. Play it cool and right, and you’ll find yourself sitting with the top contenders during the final phases.

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