Getting eliminated in a poker tournament is NEVER a good feeling, and the underlying idea is certainly to make it as deep as you can in every tournament you enter, but is that all there is to it? Of course you understand by now that poker is anything but a simple game, and tournament strategy requires even more layered thinking for long term success and profitability.
One of the most important factors when strategizing in poker tournaments is making the money. For some players, this isn’t actually that important as their bankroll is at a level of comfort having 50, 100 and even 200 buy-ins or more, waiting in their account for the next tournament. A lot of rounders and pros will play more aggressively in this situation because they want to make the money with a healthy stack.
For most online players though, this simply isn’t the case and making the money should be of paramount importance. The reason for this is because when you are actually building a bankroll, the best money to play with is that of your opponents, not your own. I call this OPM, or Other Players’ Money, and if you are just starting out in online poker, then OPM is your only way to long term success, save for extraordinary luck.
The only way to start using OPM is to do your utmost to make the money in every tournament you play. It may not be optimum play for a large payout, but in the low limits it does work for several reasons. Firstly, there are enough donkey playing fools in online poker that will essentially put you in the money by virtue of their impatient, ill advised aggression.
Secondly, the attrition rate in low limit tournaments is quick sometimes, that you can count on your actually entry fee to be worth at least double what you paid.
Lastly, you can count on making the money about 15 to 20 percent of the time, and no matter how you play, the math is on your side that you will make the final table often enough to earn those higher payouts, no matter how tight you play.
Now adopting this philosophy normally requires tight-aggressive Harrington style play, but it’s not so easy to stick to that style while witnessing the foolish players around you and their lucky, but growing stacks. Getting caught up in that though, means you are playing on your lack of emotional control, and not using a solid winning strategy.
It all comes down to numbers and probabilities. If you play tight aggressive, you will make the money often enough to build your OPM poker bankroll, and then play risk free forever more. Now, what do you really think is more profitable?