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A Week of Tournaments!

By: Andromeda284 @ 16:14 (EDT) / 552 / Comment ( 3 )

Before I go on to talk about my Tournament experiences so far, I just want to take a minute to thank everyone who has been reading my blog entries and has taken the time to comment! It's very encouraging, and it's great to be part of such a supportive Poker Community!

Ok, so now let's talk about Tournaments!

For those of you who have been following my blog, you'll know that I have set myself poker goals. One of them was to participate in tournaments for practice.

These are the tournaments I've participated in recently

1. Open Skill League Freeroll:
I found that this is the best one for practice as it's free, and of course it's available every day, several times a day. Since setting my goals, I've been participating in this tournament only once a day and I am learning as well as enjoying playing.

2. 100K Privilege Freeroll:
For this tournament I have been using my tickets to participate. Again, I've been taking part just for practice, so didn't last very long.

3. PSO WCOOP Super Freebuy Satellite
Yup, you guessed it - I had a ticket for this too! Needless to say, I didn't get very far, but it was a good experience nonetheless.

4. NLHE $1.00
This tournament was small in relation to the others - only 45 players. I used a ticket for this too. In this tournament I found that I blinded down very quickly - just couldn't maintain or build the stack. Therefore, I only managed to get to 25th place. Happy days.

5. PM Sit & Go Tournament
This is the first Sit & Go Tournament I took part in. Again, it was only 45 players. I enjoyed taking part in this tournament as I liked the format and it didn't last too long either. Ok, so I did only come 15th place but there is improvement since the previous one.

Once again, this tournament only involved 45 players, so was quite small-scale. However, this is the tournament in which I learnt the most, and really applied the knowledge I gained from PSO courses, Live Sessions, and reading about strategies and poker articles.

So what exactly did I learn?

Well, the fact that I managed to get to the final table (yay!) and win third place helped because by seeing through the tournament from beginning to end, I was able to see the different stages in action, and how to adapt my aproach to the game according to the table.

For instance, towards the final table players folded more, went "all-in" more (even without monster hands), and generally showed a more tight-aggressive tendency (I'm probably stating the obvious here).

Now, this tournament wasn't a bed of roses from early phase to final table.

I faced some interesting challenges:
Firstly, I did blind right down at one stage! This seems to be a recurring issue. However, the blinds were at a reasonable amount, and the antes hadn't started yet so at this early stage I was able to play as tight as possible. So only went in when I was convinced there was a greater possibility that my hand would win. Luckily, with the small stack I had, I still played aggressively and won the pot. This of course, put me back in a good position.
Second challenge I faced was tilting.
Yes...tilting! Or, at least I think I was in tilt!
Being convinced I had the best hand, throughout the er..."street" I raised/bet often. The opponent also bet/raised. So logically, one would think that to raise/bet the opponent must have a strong hand, or has connected well with the community cards.
It makes sense now.
But at the time, I just clicked the "raise" tab!! I don't know what I was thinking!
That's the thing, I wasn't thinking!
So as you can imagine, that loss did make a huge dent in my stack. This happened more than once! What I will take away from this experience is to stop and think before I respond to a raise or bet.
It is not a bidding war! Nor is it an auction!

What did I do differently to past tournaments?
1. Folded more often:
Yes, I folded most of my hole cards. After reading somewhere that one of the biggest mistakes beginners make is to play too many hands, I folded more. This time I was more selective as I previously reviewed what were the best starting hands. Also, at the early stages of the tournament, this aproach seemed to work well.

2. More aggression:
Whether it was with a monster hand or not, I noticed that by raising pre-flop, placing bets instead of calling or checking helped to build the pot and force some opponents to fold. This seemed to work!

3. Made observations and considered postion:
Now, I know that position is fundamental and observing opponents is also a focal point. However, before, I was focusing more on the cards and my own play instead of being aware of the table and opponents around me. When I folded, I paid attention to the players and their actions - I spotted a super-tight player! This observation helped me deal with him/her later in the tournament. By being aware of my opponent's actions, and responding to their call/raise/bets etc accordingly, I was able to make more informed decisions, and found that most of the time they were right decisions.

At this stage, I am enjoying poker and learning more by making use of the resources at PSO, however by taking part in tournaments, even if I don't finish at a top rank, it's helping me to understand how it all works. By playing, and putting into practice the theory, it's as though the pieces of the puzzle are coming together!

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