It's every poker player's dream to take home that big prize at the end of a major tourney, triumphing after hours of sharp play to come out on top. Getting there isn't easy however, and along with technical skills one needs to also play with the right mental readiness to truly win big.
So what are some tips when it comes to the mental side of the game? Read on to find out.
Fear in poker is a good thing because it helps you survive. However, being too scared to make plays because you've bought in with a hefty amount is a mistake you'll eventually regret. At the end of the day, poker is a game with an element of risk. Being too attached to the money you invested will prevent you from playing aggressively and taking calculated risks, things which are essential to success when on the felts. So stop worrying about whether you're going to hit a bad beat and focus on playing your top-quality game.
Playing poker requires confidence, which you are sure to have. However, many times players who make it past the bubble get caught up in the fact that they are now 'in the money'. Relaxing too much when the playing field has narrowed to only the best can have lethal consequences to the rest of your time in the tournament.
Players who make it close to the top also think they have done 'good enough' and are probably not able win at the final table. While the chances of coming first are always slim, you only make it worse by believing you can't do it.
So don’t doubt that you can beat the pro in front of you. You may not always win, but you'll give yourself the chance and eventually come good.
It may just happen that you play the perfect game and still lose a big pot due to variance. You're now sitting with just a handful of Big Blinds with an extremely small stack. Most beginner players are unable to control their emotions at this stage and just push all-in with the first half-decent hand they get. More often than not, their hands don’t hold up to other good player calls.
Even when short-stacked, the possibilities to steal blinds and bluff opponents by value-betting at the right time do exist. You will also get more opportunities to use your threat of going all-in more subtly and effectively, thereby getting people to fold more often when you want them to.
So don’t just look to shove pre-flop when you're short-stacked. Tighten up and play aggressive when the chance presents itself, even if it takes time.
If you're interested in tournament poker, you can take part in our free-entry tournaments that happen every 10 minutes. If you think you have the skills, then take part in the Game Changer and win from a buy-in of Rs. 2 Crore from an entry of just Rs. 5,500!
For the serious poker player, participating in tournaments is an absolute must if you're looking to grow in the game. With attractive entry rates, guaranteed prize pools and great winnings, India's tournament poker circuit is in a great phase, and you should look to take advantage of it.
If you're new to tournament poker however, you may be nervous about spending on entry fees and then crashing out early. Don’t worry though, we've got some great tips to help you make it through to the later stages of tournaments.
In the early rounds of a poker tournament, the blinds are small in comparison to your stack, meaning it's easy to keep calling with mediocre hands in the hope you hit something on the flop. This is a mistake made by many beginners and is something you should absolutely not do.
The blinds may be small, but ten hands in you'll suddenly find that your stack is a lot shallower if you aren't winning. Even if you do get the chance to double up, it’ll be on a smaller stack and so the rewards won't be quite as great.
If you find yourself at a table with a lot of players like this then you're in luck. When you have a good hand/and or are in position, don’t be afraid to raise the pre-flop bet by 3X or 4X. Players without a good hand will usually fold, but loose beginners will still likely call. Even if you don’t hit anything on the flop, small continuation-bets are still a good idea because such players are also likely not to hit anything.
Overall, being tight but playing good hands aggressively will net you big winnings against such players in the long run.
Position is critical to success in any poker game, and this applies equally to tournaments. Not only does the relative value of each hand go up the later you play at the table, but you also get more information on your opponents hands when they bet first.
Eg. If you are holding 5-6 suited and are playing early, it usually best to fold because you don’t know how the opponent after you is going to play. If he makes a steep raise, you'll be forced to fold and give up the money you put in the pot. However, if you are last to bet and everyone before you has simply called, then you are in a much safer position to call as well, letting you see the flop.
This also works with pot sizes. When last to play you get to see how large the pot is, basis which you can decide if it makes sense to call with your hand. If everyone before you has played and you only have to make a small bet to see the flop, then in many cases it makes sense to call.
PokerBaazi lets you take part in free-entry tournaments and earn money. Not only can this help you practice and improve your tourney game, but you can also bankroll your tournament entries from these winnings. With a game happening every 10 minutes, it's a great way to start your journey in poker tournaments.
Satellite tournaments (Sattys) are smaller qualifying events with low entry fees that let you take part in the bigger tourneys if you win. As such, they are a great boon and a must-play for good poker players who want to maximise their winnings with a small investment.
For example, PokerBaazi's GameChanger tournament with a guaranteed prize pool of Rs. 2 Crore has an entry fee of INR 5,500. However, you can take part in sattys on PokerBaazi for just INR 250 and win an entry to the tournament at a much cheaper rate!
One of the basic mistakes that new poker players make is playing too many hands. This mistake does not get caught out when a group of beginners are playing together, but it can lead to heavy losses in online games.
While it can be tempting to see the flop and see how your hand plays out, good players can use their cards to control the game even before the flop is seen. Understanding the strength of your hand pre-flop can help you make the right plays according to the situation, maximising your returns in the long run.
So whether it's cash games or tournaments, these hands are a must-know:
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These are some of the best hands you can be holding pre-flop. With pocket pairs and hands with Aces, we recommend playing aggressively regardless of your position. When it's on your turn you should raise, and if someone raised before then you should re-raise.
The other hands are still strong and can be played from any position, but require a little more thinking in case your opponent might also have a good hand.
Whenever you get these hole cards though, try and make the most of them and win a big pot!
While these are all good hands, they become much stronger when in a late position from where you can call or raise. This because playing later lets you gain information from other players and determine the strength of the table.
In early positions, you will only want to play the better half of these hands and avoid cards like K9 suited. On a player where everyone tends to call pre-flop rather than raise, these can be good hands. Otherwise, on an experienced table where players raise a lot pre-flop, you'll want to be more selective about how you play.
While it's always nice to have pocket-pairs or hold an Ace, it can be dangerous to get carried away with such hands.
Small pocket pairs can be great if you hit your set, but otherwise become largely redundant because the chance of other players having a larger pair post-flop become quite high.
The case can be similar with an Ace and low kicker. You might hit the Ace-pair, but if your opponent is betting aggressively then it is likely they have the same pair a higher kicker.
It's best to play such hands in a late position almost exclusively, because if you call and betting escalates, then it's unlikely your hole cards will be good enough. It's better to fold pocket 2s when your first to call if the table is aggressive, otherwise you'll just lose your money on an aggressive table.
Time and again, our winners have proven that in poker, skill is the only master. You can become a poker pro only by developing your skills. This week has again crowned players who have been around in the Indian poker circuit for a while now.
Here is a quick recap of our daily featured tournaments between July 20 & July 26:
This Saturday night fever was taken down by none other than Chiraag Patel a.k.a. “Versutus” for a payday of INR 1,75,000. Chiraag is a well-known name in both live and online poker circuit in India. He has had some major deep runs in PokerBaazi Premier League (PPL) and our other daily featured tournaments.
A frequent attendee at our various online featured tournament, this event was shipped by Rohit “Kudos0505” Behal. The event registered a total guarantee of INR 26.60 LAC and awarded Rohit a winning prize of INR 5,16,838!
Seen at various international live poker events such as the World Poker Tour (WPT) and Asia Pacific Poker Tour (APPT), it was Jaydeep Dawer a.k.a. “JDBhaiya” who took the tourney down. He went away with a paycheque of INR 3,15,000.
This event announced Nivedita “ManneNivi” Manepalli as the winner who went away with the top prize worth INR 2,15,460. We are glad to have hosted and helped new players shine out in the sea of poker pros.
The Summit was shipped by Gaurav “gaug17” Sood for a payday of INR 4,30,599. His last major run was in our flagship online poker tournament series- PPL SE (2019).
It was Sanket Arora a.k.a. “blackcod” who shipped the tournament for the winning prize of INR 2,20,900. A regular on PokerBaazi felts and various other online poker platforms, he has also been a participant in Baazi Poker Tour (BPT), our live poker series a few years back.
In addition to our online poker events, we are gearing up to bring back our live poker series- Baazi Poker Tour (BPT). It is scheduled to roll out between October 9th & October 14th at the PokerBaazi LIVE room in Casino Pride 2, Goa.
One of the most exciting and strategic aspects of poker is the heads-up game. In heads-up poker, there is no in-between, either you finish first or last. Even in a tournament, coming second against your opponent can be agony when you've fought so hard to make it to the final rounds.
So what should you do? Learn the basics and make sure you come out on top!
In heads-up poker, it's quite common for a high card or small-pair to win. When there are just two players in the game, hands like Ace-high, low pockets etc. dramatically increase in value. While studying poker odds is always helpful, it's especially useful in heads-up poker.
It can be tempting to check, call or simply limp into the pot, but you should only do so occasionally and after much thought. More than just your cards, how you manage your bets will go a long way in winning in heads-up.
When in heads-up, the small blind is the preferred position to have as you play second after the flop. This lets you get a better read on your opponent as the game progresses. Pre-flop, it allows you to take the initiative and discover what kind of hand your opponent has. If he simply calls, you can assume he doesn’t have a very strong hand, and if he re-raises then you have an idea that he might be sitting on something better.
All-in-all, the small-blind/button is the position from which you want to make your more aggressive plays.
It's easy to let your emotions get the best of you when you're winning or losing in every hand. The best way to do this is by giving yourself a few extra seconds each hand before coming to a decision. This will also make it harder for your opponent to get a read on you.
At the end of the day, heads-up poker is about the mind games between you and your opponent. Look for patterns and be mindful about the difference in play as the positions change. If your opponent tends to simply call or check pre-flop, you can punish him by raising more often. If he tends to make too many bets out of position, create uncertainty by re-raising.
While we've only scratched the surface on the basics of play in heads-up poker, stay tuned for more and share your thoughts with us!