Tips for Winning Tournaments More Often

Casino, Poker

Tips for Winning Tournaments More Often

Casino, Poker

Two aces lean against stacks of poker chips.

Tips for Winning Tournaments More Often

Casino, Poker

Two aces lean against stacks of poker chips.

Poker is the most popular casino table game today, despite being around for hundreds of years. This classic card game has the potential for massive rewards, but that’s not the only reason people play it. From the cognitive benefits of playing poker to the thrill of having the top-ranking hand, it has become a popular pass-time for millions of players all over the world. And, thanks to online casinos and all of the different variations that they offer, poker games are more accessible than ever. Still, there are some players who choose to look beyond the typical formats of poker in search of a bigger challenge. This is where poker tournaments come into play. 

In the increasingly competitive world of online poker, some of the ways to stand out and improve your chances of winning include having a strategy, mentally preparing yourself, and practicing. The same can be said for playing poker tournaments. However, you can’t just walk into a multi-table tournament (MTT) with the same basic poker strategy you use for your casual games and expect that to carry you through to the final tables. When you’re comparing poker tournaments to cash games, there are different time commitments, variances, and skill-level requirements that you need to consider (to name a few differences). So, you need to make sure you understand what you’re getting yourself into before you get your buy-in ready. 

Poker players rarely achieve greatness or success by chance. On the contrary, it often takes endless gameplay and researching some of the top tips and tricks for playing this classic casino game, some of which we explore in detail in this article.

Online Poker Tournaments vs. Live Poker Tournaments

Before diving straight into the list of online poker tips to increase your success rate in tournaments, it’s important to highlight some of the differences and similarities between online poker and live poker. The first similarity is that the basis of the game remains the same, whether you’re playing live or online. However, online poker tournaments and live poker tournaments differ in game speed, accessibility, and player interaction, just to name a few aspects.

Game Speed

If you want to know how to win when playing poker online, the first thing you need to know is that online games are typically faster in pace because they are automated, whereas live games can be slower because of manual operations. In person, the thinking and decision-making process can also be longer; but online, players have limited time. So, if you’re going to be entering an online poker tournament, you need to make sure that you know your poker tournament strategy like the back of your hand and that you’re ready to adapt it to whatever situation comes your way – and quickly.


Online poker tournaments are more easily accessible and convenient because they are available on poker sites, which are accessible from the comfort of your own home and on just about any smart device. Live tournaments, on the other hand, require you to be physically present at the location.

Player Interaction

One of the biggest reasons that poker is so popular is that it is a social game. You get to sit at a table with other players and compete in a controlled, friendly environment. However, a big part of playing poker is reading body language. When the stakes are high, being able to tell if your opponent is bluffing or not can greatly affect your strategy, but this isn’t exactly possible with online poker games. 

When you’re playing at a live tournament, you’re sitting at the same table as your opponents, so you’re able to read the subtle changes in their body language to determine whether they’re in a strong position or not and adjust your strategy accordingly if you need to. However, because online poker tournaments are played virtually, you can’t look for tells in the same way – you can only really assess your opponents’ response time and betting strategy. So, to improve your chances of winning in online poker, it’s important to make sure you know exactly what online poker tells you need to look out for so that you can still “read” your opponents as much as possible without actually being able to see them.

10 Tips for Winning Tournaments More Often

Poker is characterized by uncertainty and no sure bet, so players can experience losing streaks or winning streaks at any level. This is what is called variance in poker. It’s also why equipping yourself with tools and top tips could be to your benefit. Whether you’re playing live or online, following poker tournament tips can help you avoid pitfalls that could cost you your game! Just keep in mind that there are a number of different kinds of poker tournament formats available at both online and land-based casinos, each of which works slightly differently. 

So, given that there are so many different scenarios that may occur when playing, these tips for poker tournaments cover a broad spectrum of poker strategies that you can use as a baseline to help you get ahead, gain the upper hand over your opponents, make your decisions quicker, and help you feel a bit more confident in a tournament setting. 

Below are 10 tips to increase your chances of winning tournaments more often.

1. Start Slow

A well-dressed gambler with a curled mustache and a goatee thinks about their next play in a game of poker.

This is one tip to highlight on your poker notes! Starting slowly means treating the tournament like a marathon, not a sprint. Don’t go in guns blazing; you can only really win in the later stages. So, there’s no need to up the ante from the get-go.

2. Practice Patience

Many novice players make the mistake of building a large stack and then fail by trying to win the tournament too early. Don’t be that player. Patience is one of your biggest assets if you want to know how to win at poker tournaments. The speed at which the blinds increase should guide your decision-making and how tightly you play.

3. Be Strategic in Your Bluffing

Bluffing can be the difference between getting ahead or throwing your whole game away. Mastering the art of bluffing (and doing so strategically) can ultimately change table dynamics. 

4. Protect Your Stack

Several stacks of poker chips are surrounded by scattered poker chips.

Don’t let your ego get the better of you and risk throwing the game. Your stack should be your main priority; build it, protect it, and then apply pressure to opponents with a shorter stack later in the game.

5. Understand Your Position

Your decision-making should be guided by whether you’re in a weak or strong position relative to your opponents. It will determine how aggressively or loosely you play.

6. Control Your Emotions

It’s easy to let your emotions take over during a tournament because the stakes are high but learn to control them. Keep your head in the game, and don’t lose focus, regardless of whether you’re on a winning or losing streak.

7. Play Selectively and Aggressively

When you have a strong hand, be strategic and tactful in when and how you play aggressively to build your pot. This is especially true in the early stages.

8. Understand Table Dynamics

A person with long, shiny nails reveals their poker hand of four aces. There are stacks of poker chips on either side of the cards.

Whether you’re playing a Texas Hold’em poker game or a stud poker game, the stakes are always high at tournament level. You need to understand table dynamics and be very observant of your opponents, their strategies, and possibly even their positions. This will enable you to determine where you stand relative to them, so you can overpower weak players and be cautious with stronger opponents.

9. Beware of Making Unnecessary Loose Calls

Being more disciplined and patient in your decision-making around the poker table, or even if you’re playing poker online games, is crucial. In a nutshell, avoid calling bets or raises with weak or marginal hands. Doing so can help you preserve your chips and put you in a more favorable position.

10. Continue Learning

The only way to keep getting better is through learning. Develop a poker schedule to study poker strategy by reading books, studying poker greats and their tactics, or watching training videos. After all, you’re never too old — or experienced — to learn something new.

Measuring Success in Poker Tournaments

Success in poker tournaments is typically measured in lifetime earnings, meaning that the cumulative prize money that you’ve earned throughout your poker career is what matters. There are some shortfalls of this approach, such as the fact that it doesn’t take buy-ins into account, which is why some might argue that it’s skewed. However, there are other ways to measure success, such as using a player’s aggregate of final tables and titles won, but these also have their own shortfalls.

Put Your Newfound Poker Knowledge to the Test at Borgata Online

Now that you know a thing or two about what it takes to play poker online or in person with increased chances of success, why not put your knowledge to the test? At Borgata Online, you’re truly spoiled for choice when it comes to poker variations to choose from. That’s not all; you can also access many other popular online casino games — including slots, casino table games, and live dealer casino games — when you register at Borgata Online.