by Kenny Hyder
It’s that time of year again. PUBCON BABY!
While we’re all excited to hit Vegas yet again as we check the events schedule to plan out which sessions we’ll be attending, I know for sure there’s only one event that is marked in stone on my calendar. The ever popular Pubcon Poker Tournament hosted by DK at Purpose Inc.
This year DK is doing something really cool and requiring all players to post an entry on their blog about a charity in order to qualify for the tournament. Two thumbs up DK! I am always an advocate for doing stuff that counts. While I would normally pimp The Blind Project. a charity that fights to abolish the sex slave trade in Asia, I thought I would bring up another non-profit that I am a member of that is a little more relevant to DK’s event.
The Poker Players Alliance is a non-profit membership organization that fights to give poker players a safe, secure & regulated place to play both online and offline. Lawmakers across the country are fighting to make it more and more difficult to play poker legally both online and offline, whether it be in your homes, bars, or even at charity events such as DK’s. The Poker Players Alliance is a committed group of players devoted to keeping the game of poker alive and legal. If you are a regular or even occasional poker player, the Poker Players Alliance can use your help!
- Rest — Pubcon is out of control. For those of you who are regulars, you know what I mean. For those of you who are going for your first time, you’ll see. If the tournament starts at 8:00, I recommend catching a nap beforehand so you’re well rested. Being alert and well rested will seriously improve your game and give you an advantage over the players who are still fighting the hangover from the day before. (That being said, don’t oversleep and miss the tourney altogether like I did last year!)
- Drinking - Now while not drinking may seem ridiculous at an event when there is an open bar, you can’t play serious poker when your judgements are seriously impaired. If your goal is to win, consider not drinking, or seriously limiting yourself to one or two drinks an hour. Otherwise if you are just there to have a good time and enjoy the open bar… Come sit at my table
- Don’t Overvalue Hands - If you have top pair top kicker on a board with possible straight and flush draws, be careful about getting all of your money into the pot. Just because you think your opponent isn’t that strong, how do you they’re not trapping? Even if they’re not, do you know the odds that they will draw out to make the best hand? Best advice is to proceed with caution.
- Don’t Be Predictable - If you
find that opponents that you were beating, you are now loosing to hand after hand, maybe you have predictable patterns that players can easily read. Try to change up your play to avoid being too predictable.
- Remember the Action — One of the things that novice poker players always forget is to keep track of what has already happened in the hand. If your opponent limped in preflop, then checked the flop and turn, and then suddenly fires out a big bet on the river when an Ace hit — does it make sense that he/she has an ace? Why wouldn’t they bet preflop, or when an uncoordinated board came out on the flop?
- Play A Style Opposite of the Table You Are Seated At - As a general rule of thumb, you will do better in poker when you play a style opposite of the rest of the table. If the table is playing generally aggressive, take a conservative style; if the table is playing conservative, play aggressive.
- “Poker Tells” — While it is unlikely that you will pick up someone that has a “tell” as obvious as not looking at you when they have a hand, and staring you down when they don’t, be alert of small physical tells like someone who might get nervous and put a chip on their cards when they normally don’t. If you spot on a tell, sit on it. Oh, and, share it with me
- Respect the Power of Position — While you may have heard that “position is power”, you need to understand why. In blackjack, the house always has position, they get to see what you do before they have to make any decisions. Sometimes you bust before the house has to do anything. The same applies to poker, if you are out of position, your opponent has a lot of information about you based on the decisions you are forced to make before he/she has to do anything.
- Don’t Get Bored — If this is the first live tournament you’ve played, don’t be surprised when every hand isn’t an all-in showdown of AA vs. KK. Poker tournaments are a lot of sitting around, and a lot of bad cards that you should fold. Don’t get bored and find yourself playing hands that you shouldn’t just because you want something to do.
- Defense - Tournament poker is much different from cash poker in that you can’t buy back in if you bust out. Because of this you want to play defensively, making sure to defend your chip stack. Tournament play is not the place for outrageous all-in bluffs or chasing down expensive hands to the river if you want to build your stack. Consider not only your strategy on each hand, but your strategy for the tournament as a whole to make it to the final table.
Good luck to everyone that will be playing, hope to see you there!