If you are new to Tournament Texas Hold'Em and really want to learn to be a good player, then I have a recommendation for you on where to start the learning process. If you do this, it's going to be a long, slow, and somewhat boring journey, but I think in the long run, you will see it has the potential to make you a better player.
One mistake that I see a lot of players (I did it too) do, is they immediately jump into the world of No Limit Hold'Em, even before they have learned anything about the game. After all, it's what we see on T.V., it's glamerous, and it can be very exciting too. Heck, we all know that Poker is a game of luck, right?
Well, the very first thing you need to do, is realize that luck is short term, and it's your skill that will win out in the long run. Yes, luck is and always will be a part of poker, but if you rely on luck alone, then plan on not having any money in your pocket for long stretches at a time.
You also need to forget what you think you know about poker and instead be ready, willing, and able to accept and adapt to the materials you will need to know.
First, (just for now) forget about No Limit, and Pot Limit Texas Hold'Em. Instead, you need to concentrate on Limit Hold'Em. Why? Well, learning Limit Hold'Em will afford you the opportunity to learn Patience and Discipline which should be your watch word at any level and type of poker. And more importantly, you will learn the fundamentals that you need in order to succeed.
Limit Hold'Em is a mostly straightforward form of Hold'Em where there is usually very little bluffing. It's where you will initially learn to play starting hands from position, to more easily figure out pot odds, and it's a great starting point for learning the Odds and Probabilities that you will need in order to make an informed poker decision.
You also need to start out with a Tight, yet Aggressive play style. Yes, I know you've been told to mix it up and try plays here and there, but the simple fact of the matter is that when you learned to swim, you probably did the dog paddle first until you had enough skill to mix it up and move on.
To start out learning Limit Hold'Em, you probably want to read some books on the subject, but I think you will find more than enough reading material here at PSO by using the search function in the main page to find "Basic" level Limit Hold'Em lessons. I liked the PSO Limit Lessons, and I also found the lessons taught by Rolf Slotboom to be extremely helpful. Also don't forget the videos.
Once you've started to absorb the materials, You should memorize the starting hands by the position they should be played in and initially, you should'nt deviate. As you become more experienced, and you learn the player types you are up against, you can move the starting hands up and down a sliding scale depending on your opponent.
So, you read the materials, you understand starting hands and position, Whats next? Well, in Limit Hold'Em, having a good grasp on Odds and Probabilities is a must. I personally recommend the Matthew Hilger book on the subject, however, there are other good books out there.
If you don't have a mathematically inclinded mind that can easily map out and solve equations, then you need to memorize some key odds and probabilities to give you an edge and the Hilger Book has everything mapped out for you. You just need to select what you feel is important to know for your game and then memorize it.
Now that you've watched videos, read materials, memorized everything you need to know, It's time to jump into your first full fledged tournament, right? Not really, because I'm going to recommend a different approach and that's for you to start out with Satelitte Tournaments (aka Sit and Go's (SnG's)).
Start by entering Single Table SnG's (9 or 10 Players) at a level you can afford (you can also play at PSO), and play them until you can consistently get into the top 2. That's right, forget about 3rd place and instead concentrate on getting heads up. Once you become a consistent winner, you can then move onto a 2 table SnG until you are consitent, then start entering 3 table SnGs, then 4 table SnG's and once you are consistently winning the 4 table scenarios, it's time to enter your first full scale tournament.
If you don't win your first few tournaments, it's not a big deal. This is a learning process designed for you to become a better player. Patience and Discipline is paramount to your success.
Okay, I've covered a ton of information in this Blog, and it's mainly for someone who is new to Hold'Em. But, if you are an experienced player and are struggling, you might be able to take some of the concepts I discuss about here and then apply them to your game.
Good luck at the tables everyone, and remember start by playing Tight, Aggressive and then once you've become the master, then start mixing it up.