ALL ABOUT POKER:
by Bill Burton
Bill Burton is the Casino Gambling Guide and columnist for the Internet portal About.com located at:www.casinogambling.about.com. He is the author of "1000 Best Casino Gambling Secrets" (available online at www.billburton.com) and "Get the Edge at Low Limit Texas Hold'em" (available at 10% discount from the BJI online store). Bill is also an instructor for Golden Touch Craps: www.thecrapsclub.com
The 2007 World Series of Poker is history. The number of players in this year's $10,000 no limit Texas Hold'em final event was announced as 6,358, which was less than the last yearís record 8,773 players. The decrease was due to the new anti-internet gambling bill that forced the WSOP to turn down third party entries from the online poker sites. Players winning an entry form the online sites were sent the money and many of them chose to keep the money rather than register for the event. The number of players did, however, beat the 5,619 entries for the 2005 event. Many players won their way into the event through satellites that were held around the country.
The "first day" of the event was broken down into four days to accommodate the number of entries. Each day the field played down to just a few hundred. After the first four "first day" matches there were only 2,340 players starting the second day of play. That means that only about 37 percent of the players survived the first day.
"Dead Money" is a term used in a derogatory way to describe an unskilled player who enters a poker tournament and has virtually no chance of winning. From the large percentage of players eliminated after the first day, there was a lot of dead money in the tournament. There were also a lot of skilled poker pros who could not survive the minefield that was made up mostly by novice poker players.
Surviving the Minefield
The sheer volume of players entering the major tournaments has created a minefield for the skilled players. Many of the players, who won their entry into a big tournament via a low cost satellite, have a completely different mind set than the player who paid full $10,000 for their entry. They are more inclined to gamble and take a chance, playing inferior hands in the hopes of getting lucky. They figure if the get knocked out they are not losing that much and they may even have a good story to share with their friends.
Many of these unskilled players have two moves during a no limit tournament. They either fold their hand or they go all in. This strategy may work fine for awhile and win you a few pots but it will never win you the top prize. What it will do is knock a few good players along the way. This is why many of the top players will try to avoid these confrontations for all their chips early on in the tournament.
You canít win a poker tournament in a single hand but you can get knocked out with one. This is where the luck (or lack of) factor comes in for many tournament players. They suffer one or two bad beats and they are knocked out of the tournament. A bad beat in poker is when you have a good hand that is a favorite to win but you get beat by another higher hand. Most of the time it is a hand that caught a miracle draw on the river and the player should not have been playing it to begin with.
Patience and discipline are two of the traits that separate the winners from the losers and you will need them both to help you survive the early rounds. Many of the "dead money" players donít have the patience to fold hand after hand. They get bored and want to force the action with the all in bets. This is a quick way to make a fast exit from the tournament.
One way to help avoid becoming a victim to the "all in" player is to be very conscience of your position. Too many players will enter the pot with marginal hands from early position. This leaves them open to raises and possibly an all in raise from the players acting after them. Since your goal in the early stages of the tournament is to stay away from these situations, it is best to only play strong hands from late position.
In a tournament you will never be able to avoid all confrontations. If you did you would never win, however, you can increase your chance of survival in the tournament by playing solid hands and avoiding the potential "coin flip" situations. Pace yourself, play tight and pay attention. You canít make it to the final table if you donít survive the first few hours and you donít want to be "dead money."
Good Luck at the tables.
Until Next time remember:
Luck comes and goes.....Knowledge Stays Forever.
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