Choosing the Right Poker Tournament - Poker's Best Games
The difference between the right and wrong poker tournament can be the difference between big wins and big losses. Knowing your game and style is crucial.
Choosing Your Game
If you're going to play tournament poker, you should be familiar with the various poker games. While Omaha high seems quite similar to Texas hold'em, the strategies you employ are quite different. Seven card stud is altogether a different game, and requires knowing both different rules and different strategies. It's a good idea to try out the different games in free online poker rooms before you try to test your skills against a lot of players in an online poker tournament. If you feel quite comfortable with a variety of different games, you can try a HOSE or HORSE tournament. These are tournaments where the games change every deal. HORSE is Hold'em, Omaha, Razz, Seven-card stud (high), and Eights or better (seven card stud high-low). HOSE is the same, but without the game of razz. Tournaments like these are only for a player who has a lot of experience in all the different games. When you're looking for tournaments, you should generally choose the game you're most comfortable with.
Choosing Your Tournament Price
The price of the buy-in is obviously a crucial factor in choosing which tournament to play. If you're new to poker or if you're not very good, you should avoid risking much money. Freerolls or very inexpensive tournaments are a good way to test your wings without feeling too bad if you lose. If you're a very good player, then you probably don't want to waste your time playing any tournament that doesn't have a substantial prize. If you're not sure, you should only risk as much cash as you can easily afford to lose. Remember that money for poker play should be viewed as part of your entertainment budget. Poker tournaments aren't an investment or a way of making a living unless you've reached the very top.
If you're looking to make it to the top of the poker world, but your budget can't afford a buy-in to the World Poker Tour or the World Series of Poker, then your best bet is to play a satellite tournament. Satellites can have a fairly low buy-in, and still get you a seat at the WSOP. The downside is that you'll have to play against almost every player on the site to get to the top. The upside is that you don't need to risk thousands of dollars for a shot at the big time. If you have more modest goals, you can play at a regular tournament with a nice cash prize, and if you win, you'll have some cash in hand right away. The upside to this kind of tournament is that once you win, you have the money, and you don't have to worry about being beaten later on. Playing regular tournaments may not give you the money to buy a house on the Riviera, but a few good wins can certainly give you a boost on your credit card payments.