Tournament poker brings with it a new element to the game. All of your normal betting patterns and bluster go out the window during a tournament. Tournament poker is much more methodical and patient than ordinary poker.
During a tournament you are not playing the money. No one is playing for a sum of money. Rather, you are playing for tournament points. And, just as you can build tournament points you can lose them. Have you ever played a tournament and felt like your hand was a good one? It just doesn’t cross your mind that you could have played a better, morelective game of poker, just not for the money.
In heads-up poker you are playing the other, not the cards. You are in a mind-set of trying to outsmart your opponent(s) and in most cases, luck is not on your side. You are required to take a lot of strategic decisions rather than play the cards.
In tournaments you need to be patient. Harrington on heads-up poker strategy says that a good player is only a force late in the tournament. You can be a force early, but you will be out sooner than others if you are smart. It is easy to forget that you need to be smart late in the tournament when your stack is Small or big. Later, when your stack gets bigger, your satisfaction level will be much higher and you will be better prepared.
In heads-up poker tables, you cannot afford to show your cards off. You will not win anything unless you are clever enough to make your opponents openly show their cards. Try to get a read on your opponents. It is happen part of the game and part of the principle of pokerbo. If you are not up against a shark, be very careful. Some players are really difficult to read.
Heads-up poker is much more tight than ten-handed sit and go games. The blinds go up faster and so do the antes. The game moves at a much faster pace. Only the best keep up with the game while it is changing. One of the things that makes heads-up poker different from ten-handed sit and go games is that the blinds and antes increase more gradually in a ten-handed sit and go.
As the blinds increase, the quality of the hands also improves. By moving to heads-up poker, you give up some of the advantages of full ring games. For instance, when the blinds are $25-$50, a mediocre hand may have a much better chance of doubling you than in a full ring game.
If you are not a mediocre poker player, you will probably be ready to accept heads-up poker. It is a different game that requires a different strategy. In heads-up poker, you are up against a single player. In a ten-handed sit and go, there are still enough players to make the game less tight, so it is not a bad idea to play tight early. In ten-handed sit and go, you want to play aggressive all the time. The more players you can scare, the better. All of your plays will be much more carefully from here on out. Also, be patient. The more patient that you are, the better. patient is a virtue in this game. How long will it take you to recover from beinga chip leader in one tournament? How long will it take you to realize that your opponent is using a different strategy? How long will it take you to realize that you are the chip leader and he is just playing his cards? How long will it take you to realize that the hand you were playing the other night is not a hand you should play, even if it looks good? How long will it take you to get over a bad beat? It takes a lot of time to get over a bad beat. Bad beats are a part of poker. You have to deal with them whether you like it or not. If you think it is worth it, play one hand and be done with it. Otherwise, you will get carried away and play until you are broke. Bad beats are part of the game and no one likes getting them every time. Bad beats will cost you a lot of money and sometimes your chip stack!
The important thing to remember when you are the chip leader is to take control of the game. Walk away and take control. Don’t keep playing until you lose your composure. Walk away and tighten up your game and you will start winning.