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The Poker Academy Session 8: Playing The Stages Of A Tournament

A Session By Session Look At The Poker Academy's No-Limit Hold'em Tournament Course


Join us as we take a closer look at the 12-session course from the brilliant strategic minds at The Poker Academy. Every two weeks, Card Player will break down the curriculum from poker pro Rick Fuller and two-time WSOP bracelet winner Rep Porter, to detail the positive impact that The Poker Academy can have on your game.

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Last time we looked at session 7, Advanced Pot Odds Concepts. Let’s move on through the course.

Session 8 — Playing The Stages Of The Tournament

If you play the final table of a tournament the same way you played at the start of the tournament, you might find yourself struggling to accumulate chips. That’s why The Poker Academy has devoted an entire session to learning how to establish a baseline strategy for the three stages of a poker tournament, which are early, middle and late.

“In the early stages of a tournament, it’s all about accumulating chips,” said Rep Porter. “It’s about building up your chip stack so you can play effectively deeper into the middle stages of the tournament. As the average stacks get smaller, you have to play more conservatively and can’t take as many risks. If you accumulate chips, you put yourself in a better situation before you start to have pressure on your stack and it becomes all about survival.”

The course then teaches you how to calculate the average stack and how to determine a strategy for accumulating chips or a strategy for surviving.

The site instructors take you through each stage of the tournament. In the early stages, they show you how to make the proper preflop adjustments, when to play speculative hands and when to play big pots.

In the middle stages of the tournament, your stack size determines when to play to accumulate chips. If you understand your opponent’s goals preflop, you can make better decisions against them. Also, the course shows you how to pick up orphan pots, or those pots that no one at the table is seemingly showing interest in.

“When the antes come into play, the pots are a little bit bigger and there is more value in stealing when there’s not much risk to your stack,” said Rick Fuller. “One strategy you are going to want to employ is identifying and picking up orphan pots.”

Because of late stages of a tournament are so crucial, the instructors devote two videos to it. The first deals with the topic of how to play a short stack, including bet sizing tips, how to be the aggressor and how to conserve the small amount of chips you do have. But there are also critical and awkward stacks to consider, so the second video shows you how to understand when players are pot committed and also advocates taking some risk to avoid becoming a critical stack yourself.

Next time, we’ll take a look at Session 9, Reading Your Opponents.

If you’d like to take your game to the next level, sign up for The Poker Academy today.