Everyone needs a poker strategy. If you don’t have one, then you’re probably the player everyone is going after because you’re making mistakes your opponents can benefit from. So, let’s put on the brakes and put that car in park.

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Here are a few poker strategy tips to improve how you play (and hopefully put more money in your pocket).

Have a Decent Bankroll

Some players suggest a bankroll of 200 to 300 times the buy-in amount. While others suggest 50 buy-ins is a more ideal target. Meaning if your bankroll is about $1,000 then they buy-in should be less than $20. Why do you need so much to start with?

Big wins won’t come right away or that often. For smaller hands, you need the extra money to cover your losses between your winning hands.

Don’t Open Too Wide

A problem with some players is they start in a tournament and when called, a wide opener is vulnerable. You might have maybe 3 bets tops.

An opening hand like a 7 of spades and a 5 of spades isn’t a bad strategy if you're in an early position or in the middle. However, it’s better to have a small pair or a suited connector. Why? These are ideally good hands pre-flop when stacks are deep. This is based on implied odds and for more on this, look up the rule of 5 and 10.

Early On, Play Your Hand Tight

A mistake some players make is they play too loose early in the tournament with small blinds. That can be a trap. You will see a lot of loose players but you don’t have to be one. Just bide your time, play your hands tight and wait for a strong hand to come.

Playing only your strong hands help you make effective decisions after the flop i.e., in a game like Texas Hold Em', you have to play well before, during and after the flop. You also want to save your money for strong hands later in the tournament.

Play, Based on Your Position

Your position in a tournament can give you a huge advantage. If you’re in a late position (like last or next to last at the table), you’ll have the chance to see how other players perform and it’s a huge advantage. Late positions also let you play a weaker hand and still get away with it. Early positions (if you’re playing first or second) mean you need really strong cards.

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If you’re unfamiliar with poker positions, read up on beginning poker positions or playing in position. For example, let’s say there’s a seat open to the left of an aggressive player. You might want to take that position because it will give you the most time against them.

Learn From the Other Players

If you’re in big tournaments it can be hard to keep track of 1,000 other players. However, as you progress and play in smaller tournaments for more money, watch what your opponents do. The further along you go in big-money tournaments, the greater the chances you see the same players so your notes can help.

Don’t Focus Strictly on Making it to the Big Money

Some players mess up because they only focus on the big money prizes instead of playing to win each hand. To help you grow as a player and to improve your results, don’t waste your stack sitting too tightly. Work on building up your stack.

Tournament players only there for big prizes cash out more often and it’s for lesser amounts. Instead, work on finishing in first place. You’ll still be knocked out of the top positions due to other winning players. However, the big wins you have will definitely make up for it.

Ultimately, a few strategies can help you advance further in the tournament. Observe other players, watch your position and play tight but not wide. These are just a few tips that can help you advance further in your online poker tournament.