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By: Chakrit Srisinghasongkram, Tue Jun 5th, 2007
Online poker has been growing by leaps and bounds and, consequently, websites are engaging in more aggressive online promotional efforts to get players to join their membership rolls.
One of the most successful promotional efforts has been the holding of poker tournaments. These online poker tournaments mean an opportunity to sharpen your skills, gain a chance to meet new poker buddies, learn a few new poker tricks and, of course, win big.
First Step: Establish a Proper Mindset
People who join tournaments have a different mindset from the usual players. They're in this to win; they're not here to have fun or to spend a few leisure hours tossing cards and bets around. They have a clear-cut goal or objective in mind - and it would be disrespectful on your part if you don't take the game as seriously as these other players do.
If you're thinking of joining a tournament to find out what it's like - fine, the other players can accept that. However, entering a tournament because you're bored, or because you have it in mind to 'mess-up' other people's game may get you tossed out by the other players. It's a different matter though if you're only saying so to gain a psychological edge over your competitors.
Bottom line: your level of play must match the seriousness of the game.
Next: Type of Tournaments
There are numerous tournaments available on the online poker circuit, ranging from those with entry fees to those without, the types of poker that will be played ('Texas Hold-'em or something else), and so on.
Most online tournaments are the multi-table formats where players are assigned from table to table as vacancies crop up. The players start with a fixed amount of chips, with the objective of eliminating other players by winning more hands than the rest. As said, as vacancies open up in other tables, you may be reassigned to them until a few players are left.
Another tournament is the shootout where you stay at your table until everyone else has been eliminated, after which you - and the other winners at other tables - face each other for another elimination round. Last player left standing is the winner.
Third: Choosing Your Tournaments
Choosing the tournament you want to participate in should be considered in light of two factors: one, your level of play; and two, your objective in playing.
If you're a beginner, it would be best to look for beginner's tournaments where you get a chance to improve your skills and capabilities while playing with others at your skill level. Getting into a higher game-playing level may be easy but you have to expect faster plays with these players - you may end up slowing down the game, which will lead the others to start complaining - which may get you booted out or worse.
Secondly, knowing your objectives will determine your mindset. Some tournaments are played to select players for the next higher levels. Players in such tournaments will, therefore, have their minds set on that goal; they may well play cautiously and tight because they have a longer-term goal. The game may also be a straight "Winner Takes All" pot - in which case, they may play aggressively and impatiently, wanting to get the hands done quickly.
In either case, there are weaknesses to exploit - and strengths to be wary of. This may mean adapting your playing style to play to your opponents weaknesses while avoiding their strengths.
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