Playing well in tournaments

Posted by betlover on Feb 5, 2011 in online poker

I came in 250th in a recent tournament. That was only out of 450 players! Why did it happen? What can I do to improve my play? The answers may surprise you. Read on for a full confession and honest analysis after my heartbreaking session of NL Texas Holdem at Full Tilt.

Yesterday night I played in a freeroll at full tilt poker. I got the entrance as I just signed up with a full tilt bonus code. The competition was tough. I went into the event nervous. Big mistake. You can’t play your best when you feel outclassed. I lost the tournament, went out in 250th place. I didn’t do that well – trust me, there were only 450 entrants. I made a lot of mistakes.

The first one as I mentioned beforehand was going into the game nervous. I put too much importance on it. I wanted the prize money. I needed the prize money. I had it spent in my mind. Any poker book will tell you that it is a mistake. I play better in free rolls where I can earn less than $10 for my time than I did in this match. Why? I felt inferior. I assumed when I planned my pre-tournament strategy that they all knew what they were doing. I gave them a lot more respect than I should have and much more respect than I gave myself.

The point is – in fact the point of this whole article is this – there is so much advice out there about poker. I listened to my brother’s advice. I asked him how to play hands during this tournament. I second-guessed and over-analyzed myself. Then, I saw hands that I wanted to play – that my gut told me to play that I ignored playing because I was too rigidly playing the way others had told me to.

I didn’t trust myself. I was playing everyone’s game except my own. That was my biggest mistake – not listening to my intuition. If I could do it over again, I’d be excited – not nervous – to play. I’d be ready to put in hours upon hours of playing time to knock out this field of pretty decent Texas Hold ‘Em players – because that’s what they were – decent holdem players. Some were fantastic; but, most were just okay.

I wasn’t any worse off than the rest. We started with equal chips – and, I wager, pretty equal skill levels. I was no better or worse than my competition! Luck, in my opinion, is also equal over time. Some people seem to have it one night and others will get it another. However, the difference was that I let my own insecurities throw me off my game. I let others’ advice dictate my actions at the table. I also let the other players at the table bully me around.

I will take this loss as a huge learning experience. I’ll get back on the poker bandwagon. I’ll play my ‘A’ game or I won’t play at all. I’ll take chances. I’ll be me. Most of all – I’ll have fun and play poker like it’s a game because that’s all it is in the end, a game. It’s a beautiful, wonderful, fantastic game that I truly love. I lost sight of that because I wanted to buy some extra presents for my kids. And I got angry at myself for failing. Unfortunately, if I was half as smart as I think I am, I would have figured this all out before I entered into that tournament. Live, learn and move on to play another day. That’s my new poker mantra.

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