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Texas Holdem – Playing Large Poker Tournaments

Find out the best way of playing large poker tournaments.

Texas Hold ‘Em is an interesting game in so many ways.  The betting systems are unique, the rules are at first surprising, and the various hand improvement odds are unique.  However, one of the most interesting parts is the various numbers of players with which it may be played.  A tournament with only seven or eight people can be perfectly enjoyable, but many tournaments are played with upwards of several hundred players.

Learning how to play the game is actually pretty easy, but learning how to play any form of poker on so broad a scale is not an easy proposition.

The first thing a new tournament player needs to do is get a common misconception out of their mind.  Most players go in to a large tournament thinking “with this many people, my odds of winning are not nearly as good.”  The fact of the matter is that Texas Hold ‘Em is not nearly so affected by probabilities as some other forms of poker are.  The larger tournaments yield a much higher prize pool, and the decrease in your chances of winning will not be large enough to counter that benefit.  If you keep your wits about you and play carefully, it is possible to consistently place well in larger games.  You may not always be in a paid seat, but you will at least play well and have fun.

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That said, the most difficult part of playing large poker tournaments is the balance between pacing yourself and building your stack.  In these large games, the tables are rearranged periodically to keep a balance of numbers.  While it is more or less out of your control, it is best to hope that you don’t get moved around very much.  When you come to a new table, you have to essentially start over in building your knowledge of your opponents.  If you do get transplanted, make a note to observe not only the tells and reactions of your opponents but also the reactions to them by other players.  For example, if an opponent were to make an unusually high bet and then start a noticeable subconscious signal (like hand shaking, see Poker Tells), usually the rest of the table will react in a uniform way (i.e. all call or all fold).  You should do the same unless your cards are significantly out of the ordinary.

When it comes to stack building, it is important not to take any unnecessary risks.  Early mistakes in larger games can come back to haunt you in very significant ways.  You almost need to win a few pots before the first table re-assortment to maintain a strong position, but it is possible to maintain a decent position by playing safe.  As a general rule, you can use a simple math equation to decide how balanced your play is.  Take the total amount of chips available and divide it by the number of player minus one.  That puts you in a decent position.  If you don’t have that much, you may want to play a little bit more aggressively.  If you have more than that, you can consider playing a few hands safely to avoid short stacking.

32Red Poker  is a good place to try out your new found skills of playing in larger Texas Holdem Tournaments.

The basic rule in playing large poker tournaments especially Texas Holdem tournaments is simple: play it slow, and have fun.

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