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Friday, November 25, 2005

Ten Tips for Texas Hold'em

1. Be patient - It is very easy to panic and become impatient as you see the players around you winning pots and adding to their chip lead. You have to remain calm and wait for a solid hand. A tournament is a marathon, not a sprint. You must bide your time and chips so that when you do get a hand you have the opportunity to play it correctly and win a large pot. Nothing is worse than getting a monster hand and not having enough chips to make it pay off.

2. Let other players eliminate themselves - Winning is always the goal in a poker tournament. Do you have to eliminate players to win? Yes. Do you have to eliminate them all? No. By sitting back and playing fewer hands (especially in later rounds), players will weed each other out until you are guaranteed to be in the money. At this time, you can become more aggressive.

3.Take risks early - It is inevitable that sometime during a tournament you will need to take a risk in order to have a chance at winning. The important thing to remember is to take calculated risks. This usually means playing looser or taking more chances in early rounds. The blinds are lower in early rounds so laying down a missed hand in an early hand will not eat a huge chunk out of your bankroll.

4. Sit out a round when you join a new table - You will be moved several times during a tournament. Each time you are moved, sit out a few hands to get a feel for the table. Learn how each player plays. This will prevent you from getting caught in a hand and not having any idea of how your opponent plays.

5. Watch for traps - This is especially true in no limit tournaments. One successful trap can make you a winner or knock you out of the tournament completely. Be careful when making a bet with a dangerous board even if you plan to fold if you get raised. These small mistakes will eat away your chips quickly. Recognize the possibility of a trap and try to make a smaller bet to entice your opponent to reveal more information about their hand.

6. Don?t be afraid to go all in - When you?re playing in any no limit tournament, chances are you?ll have to go all in at least once. The key is to not fear going all in, but to recognize when you have the best hand and force someone else to catch you.

7. Avoid pushing all in on a draw hand - Going all in should be reserved for instances when you feel you have the best hand. In order to go all in with any sort of draw hand, you must be getting tremendous pot odds. Be absolutely certain that if you do hit your hand, it will be good enough to win. And even then, think twice. Keep in mind that you are not ahead and you will be putting your tournament life in luck?s hand. By only going all in when you have a made hand, you will force others to get lucky.

8. Try to steal blinds - If you?re in a late position, do not be afraid to make a play for the blinds. For every blind you steal, it?s like not having to post one the next time around. Stealing blinds is great way to tread water while you wait for a monster hand.

9. Be a bully - If you see someone is low on chips, don?t be afraid to push them around. Make them uncomfortable by making larger raises. When they are short stacked they will think twice before risking valuable chips unless they have a lock. Pushing around short stack players will not make you rich, but it is a great way to win several small pots that will protect your lead.

10.Latter rounds - If you have a decent amount of chips you should play extremely tight in the later rounds. This is when low stacked players will be looking to move all in and chip leaders will only be playing the "nuts". Your starting cards become extremely important because it is very likely every hand will result in someone going all in. Adjust your game accordingly. Even if you?re not where you want to be as far as chip count, be extremely patient and wait for a very strong hand.

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