So you lost the big hand that knocked you out of the tournament, and now you look at the history of the hand to see if you made a mistake. It’s a great way to improve your game. But often it’s not clear what aspect of the game you really need to improve. Some may be needed more than others. Given the assumption that you haven’t actually made any money in tournaments, here are some poker skills to work on right away.
Understand opportunities. This concerns the mathematical part of the game, and in tournament listings – it’s not just odds, it’s also implied odds that you need to understand that you can play duplicate hands, but with different odds scenarios your decision to play the hand or not, could be on the opposite end.
Profile player rating. This is also an indispensable aspect even at the lower end as all your antagonists tend to fall into predictable profile conventions. Understanding what these characteristics are will help you in making more accurate decisions against them. If you don’t have a good idea of the type of opponent you’re up against, your decisions will be much more difficult than they need to be.
Starting hand. Determining the EV of a particular hand, and understanding the heavy losses of a dominated hand can instantly increase your success rate significantly in online poker tournaments. Hole card strength is often described by the EV rating or group hand ranking in a poker calculator like a tournament indicator. Surprisingly, most of those ratings are in the negative and that will tell you something right away. Also, hands that look strong – for example the King-Queen costume are often dominated by pre-flop raisers, and can result in big pots with you on the losing side.
Count your M stage and tournaments. There is a basic rule called M or mzone which if you know at any given time in the tournament, can fundamentally change your strategy. It takes a little math and a little knowledge, and a lot of courage at times to figure out what the right move is to take. However, once the mathematical understanding of the game is recognized in your soul, you may just be a force at any table, tournament table! Another important factor is how the prize money will be distributed, often resulting in a wide spectrum of betting tactics. Usually after you get the money, for example, you might want to change gears and decide to take a shot of the final table where the ream advantage is.
Control your own emotions at the table. This is one of the biggest hurdles you have to shoot, before you actually win. What seems obvious to a hand watcher, can make you a total fool if you let your emotions make the decisions for you.
Almost all new online players fall victim to at least one, often several of the weaknesses outlined above. If you can spot these tendencies in your own game, take action to improve them, and you’ll see a real difference in your game.