Guide to Online Poker Tournament Strategy

Last Updated on February 3, 2021 Author:Adrian Sterne

Online Poker StrategyBeing stuck at home has its advantages. World-famous poker tournaments might be out of the question, but a back-up online poker tournament is always welcome.

In case you haven’t participated in any online poker tournaments before or want to introduce additional skill into your already established poker tournament strategy, you’re in the right place.

This guide will introduce you to the most useful tips that will help you dominate an online poker tournament because we know transitioning from a live game to an online one isn’t easy. With these informative and straightforward tips, you will be able to climb the ladder from a newcomer to the top poker shark in no time. Take a look.

Pre-Tournament Setup

An often overlooked part of the preparation process is the pre-tournament setup. Many players are willing to simply ignore this step, although it has proven to be useful time and again. So, if you want to win an MTT (multi-table tournament), do not skip the pre-tournament setup.

Whether you’re just testing the waters or you have a goal in mind, there are a few different styles of poker tournaments on New Poker Sites that you can try out. If you opt for an MTT, you should prepare yourself mentally and physically for at least a five-hour tournament.

If you’ve set your sights on winning, you must be willing to commit to the game. Try not to have other tasks or people around you that can distract you. It is essential to be sufficiently prepared with additional equipment that can help you go further in the tournament. Download poker tracking software that will help you track, analyze, and improve your poker skills. Other software solutions will help you analyze your opponents’ hands.

Finally, make yourself comfortable and determine your bankroll requirements for the tournament.

MTT Poker Mindset

Players are often unaware that continuous winning and losing both affect one’s mindset. It might sound strange that winning can negatively impact a player’s attitude, but it’s true. If a player gets used to winning, they will consciously neglect any additional training and playing with smaller stakes. Players of this type will shoot high and risk too much only to end up devastated after a loss.

Additionally, these players are used to receiving praise and having other players look up to them. These situations create unrealistic expectations.

Similarly, players that are used to losing will not feel confident enough when playing. Once things start to go their way, these players typically retreat and miss out on mind-blowing opportunities.

That’s why we find it essential to mention mental roadblocks when it comes to playing poker tournaments. If you can’t focus on having a positive mindset, take note of your win-rate by position to measure your ability. This can significantly help you determine where you stand and decide whether continuing in the tournament is worth it.

Early Stage Strategy

Before we get down to a few key strategic points in the early stages of a poker tournament, try to identify the types of players at your table. If you can spot the fun player at the table, try to play more pots against them. These players commonly make mistakes, so you may be able to profit from them more often.

When it comes to the strongest players at the table, be more cautious. Try to keep your game at a stable level at all times and play more pots in position. Study the positions to get the advantage of seeing your opponent act first. That way, you will have more information about the strength of their hand.

Additionally, if you’re the player in position, you will have the opportunity to dictate the action since you will be the one determining the raises and extra bets. This is especially crucial in the early stages of the game.

Middle Stage Strategy

Most online poker tournaments move fast, so getting to the middle stage of the contest will seem to happen in a blink of an eye. By the intermediate stage, you will see various stack sizes around the table as players have already won and lost a few pots. Now, depending on your stack, you can adjust your strategy. That means you have three strategies that can help you win the tournament. Take a look.

Big Stack Plays

First of all, get rid of the “I can afford to gamble” mindset. Regardless of your stack size, you need to be cautious and try not to get too carried away. Although your main task is to put pressure on your opponents, you still need to pick your battles and be patient.

A good piece of advice is to put pressure on tight medium stacks as they will most likely break and allow you to add to your stack. Time your re-raises and attacks when aiming for your opponents’ medium stacks. On the other hand, players with short stacks will play a riskier game as they try to double up.

Medium Stack Plays

With a medium stack, it’s best to focus on stealing from tight players and re-stealing from loose players. What typically puts opponents in a tough spot is re-raising with a medium stack, also known as three-betting.

Your opponents know that they can’t call too wide because the stacks are not deep. That works for you, as your opponents will typically back down, allowing you to add some good pots to your stack.

Short Stack Plays

As you might be aware, short stacks lead to more all-ins compared to medium and big stacks. Calling with a short stack is not the best possible solution as you’ll be too short to follow through until the end. The best option here is to go all in or simply fold.

Since short stacks result in fewer flops, the play is often quite mathematical. So, if you want to re-raise your opponent in preflop, you should follow these two steps:

  • Foreseeing your opponents’ range (how often they will be able to call).
  • Determining how well your hand fairs against that range i.e. your hands’ equity.

Late Stage Strategy

As you’re getting close to your share of the prize pool, the hands you play might alter drastically. Although getting paid is the goal, you shouldn’t put a lot of focus on that during the game. Players with their sights set on getting paid will make tight folds to get closer to the money or jump the payout ladder. Put pressure on them with raises and re-raises and see your chips accumulating.

If you are serious about going all the way, you should learn about the ICM (Independent Chip Model) and how it can influence your poker strategy.

Final Table Strategy

If you come to the final table stage, you’re just a step away from winning the online poker tournament. You’ll notice that the money moves much quicker at the final table, meaning you will have more opportunities to pick up easy pots. Target the tight opponents trying to outlast each other, as well as the weak players at the table.

By this stage, you will have a clearer insight into your opponents and their play style. Since you’re playing online, you have the option of opening other tables before reaching the final table to read your opponents.

Stack size is once again crucial so remember what you’ve learned about stack strategies. With that advice and an offensive mind, you will be able to capitalize quickly and go head to head for the title.


If you decide to join an no deposit online poker tournament to try your skills, test out the waters, or simply for fun, then this elaborate strategy might not be for you. However, if your goal is to maximize your winnings and take home the title and a share of the prize pool, I hope you’ve been paying attention.

Prepare yourself and your surroundings before you start playing, and keep in mind the strategies for each stage of the tournament. Don’t get stuck in your own head and don’t attack without reason. Be smart when making decisions and keep an eye on your opponents.

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Hi, I am the Chief Editor of, this site is dedicated to all thing poker. I have been working around the poker industry for the last 15 years, with different brands. The main purpose of this site is to keep you uptodate with the industry and offer you the best deals around.

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3 years ago

This site is awesome and has a lot of helpful content here. I have learnt alot from the following post – hopefully will be a much better poker player going now online

2 years ago

Some great tips, finding the best value tournaments from all poker sites is also key.