Single table tournament strategy in poker

As we speak then STT’s or single table tournaments are played by millions of people in online poker every single day. The opportunity to play a fast action final table of a poker tournament is one that is alluring for many. To play STT’s for fun is cool and easy to do but playing them for profit is also fun as well. In fact if many more poker players simply treated poker as more of a recreational activity than a serious one then they may be more in tune with being able to accept the variance.

A standard single table tournament event has around ten players in it and typically awards prize money to the remaining three players with 50% of the prize pool going to the winner, 30% to second and 20% to third. The blinds go up very rapidly but that is their appeal because it means that people can play poker who don’t have loads of time to spare. A typical STT is often over within 30-45 minutes and in fact players have the option to play in as many as they can handle.

Unlike large field poker tournaments, STT’s reward survival more than it usually does. You only have to survive longer than seven other players in order to get to the money. This makes tight play during the early stages a very good strategy. If your starting stack is say 1500 in chips and the blinds are 10-20 then you can coast through the early levels without much erosion to your stack.

The fact of the matter is that you are not going to be able to get to the final three seats simply by folding so get rid of that notion right here and now. Many novices have tried that tactic and it simply doesn’t work. So you are going to have to change gears and become more aggressive but in an intelligent way. When your stack shrinks to say less than 10bb then you are looking for situations to get all in pre-flop.

Do not under any circumstances look to steal blinds and then fold to an all-in. Raising to say 3bb with 8c-6c from the button and folding to a big blind that shoves all-in for 12bb when you only have 10bb as a starting stack is terrible play. That is simply tossing away 30% of your stack without even fighting for it.

The biggest difference between big winners in STT’s and mediocre winners is in the frequency of wins that they get. This all comes down to aggression levels and the best players become aggressive at just the right times but which times are they? The best time to become aggressive is when your opponents fear elimination and this is when they are only one or two places away from the money.

Nobody wants to have sat in an single table tournament for say 30 minutes only to then bust out in fourth or fifth place. That represents a huge waste of time and not to mention the lost potential of the cash out. So the best STT players become aggressive and take extra risks to attain the extra chips necessary to take them beyond third place and into the winners? enclosure.

Carl Sampson is an online poker player and poker ambassador for 888poker

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