Bucking Conventional Tournament Wisdom

There is more than one way to skin a cat, and there is more than one way to make money playing tournament poker as well. Is there more than one way to win tournament poker, though? There may be, but the one that many professional poker players seem to focus on actually seems to be counter intuitive to conventional poker tournament wisdom, which may be why it works so well…when it works, that is.

Have ever tuned into a poker TV show, or checked out your favorite poker news site, and remarked at how many professional poker players seem to bust out early in a tournament? You would think that, being pros with so much tournament experience, they could hold out longer? One of the big reasons they are busting out is…they are trying to win the event. Not just place in the event, but win it in first place, often along with a coveted prize, such as a World Series of Poker bracelet. Their strategy? To enter the final rounds of play with a commanding chip lead. To get a commanding chip lead means to take risks early on, and taking risks, of course, means a potential of busting out on the first day of competition.

To just place in a tournament is not the easiest thing in the world, but if you play tight, solid poker, it should happen more often than not. But when find out that you are in the money, the field has narrowed quite a bit, the competition is often tougher, and the blinds are higher; all of which requires you to have the biggest chip stack you can muster if you don’t want to be one of the first in the money to go. So the next time you are thinking, “I don’t want to just cash, I want to win,” keep in mind that would require you to take some chances early on, which could mean you won’t cash at all.

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