At our major poker festivals, specifically the European Poker Tour (EPT), we are catching up with the various Team PokerStars Ambassadors and asking them for strategy tips on a variety of important poker tournament matters. The result is The Daily Strategy, a series of articles examining various elements of play. There’s an awful lot to learn from the articles below.
A FIRST-TIMER’S TIPS FOR A MAJOR FESTIVAL
Everyone has to start somewhere, and taking your first steps at an EPT festival can be daunting. Thankfully there are plenty of players out there who remember very well what it was like, and who can share their wisdom with newcomers to a poker tournament. Georgina “GJ_Reggie” James mostly plays online, so she knows what it’s like to find yourself in an unfamiliar environment. And here James shares some invaluable tips for adjusting to life at a major poker festival. It starts before you even pack your bags. Read: Tips for an EPT first-timer
HOW TO PLAY DAY 1
LEX VELDHUIS | PARKER TALBOT | JONATHAN DUHAMEL
Everyone is equal, the stacks are deep and the money is a long way off. Playing Day 1 of an EPT Main Event can be a nerve-wracking experience for new players, while even the old-timers may take a while to get into the swing of things. We have expert advice from three current and former Team PokerStars Ambassadors, all with proven knowledge of how to approach the opening stages of a major live event. Click through to hear the strategy advice of Lex Veldhuis, Parker “tonkaaaa” Talbot and Jonathan Duhamel on how to play Day 1.
HOW TO PLAY DAY 2
The Italian maestro Dario Minieri had a reputation for adopting a boom or bust strategy to tournaments, build a big stack or go home early. But as this article will attest, Minieri was a player who thought deeply about his tournament strategy. Here he shares his thoughts for Day 2 of an EPT Main Event, where stacks now vary considerably in size and the tournament is edging towards its bubble stage. But even more important than that, “You should just try to play your best poker at every moment and the other things happen by themselves.” Read: Approaching Day 2
HOW TO PLAY THE BUBBLE
JOHNNY LODDEN | LEX VELDHUIS
On the face of it, there are few periods in tournament play that are as important as the bubble. It’s the difference between making some money and losing some, and pretty much every player in the field will know it. Both Johnny Lodden and Lex Veldhuis had some very clear strategy tips for playing during this period. “Professional players don’t care who they’re up against and attack you anyway, regardless of your reputation,” Lodden says, before describing how he counters it.
HOW TO PLAY WHEN YOU’RE APPROACHING THE FINAL TABLE
When you’ve made it through the bubble and almost all of your opponents have departed, you might start thinking about reaching the final table. But how do you give yourself the best chance of getting to the big money stages, and what should you be thinking about ahead of what might be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity? According to Andre Akkari, sometimes forgetting about the final table is the best way of reaching it. “If you keep focusing on the final table only, you might not be focusing on what you have to focus on now.” Read: Approaching the final table
HOW TO PLAY THE FINAL TABLE
Team PokerStars Pro has had a great deal of success at the World Series of Poker Main Event through the years, including a huge runner-up finish for Ivan Demidov in 2008. Demidov was a very good person to ask about how to play at the final table, if you run well enough to make it all the way to the end game. “It’s definitely about making more money. Of course winning is nice but second place is fine too! It’s not bad!” Read everything that Demidov had to say. Read: How to play at the final table
HOW TO MAKE THE MOST OF AN EPT FESTIVAL
EPT festivals are long and demanding, but you also want to make the most of them because they don’t come around too often. The Finnish former Team Pro Ville Wahlbeck was well known for his incredible stamina and willingness to play pretty much any game, for as long as it took. But even Wahlbeck had limits. In this article he dishes out some very sensible advice about planning, sticking within your bankroll, mixing things up to stay fresh and making the most of the tournament downtime. Read: How to schedule your EPT festival
HOW TO BROADEN YOUR HORIZONS
Mason Pye is the self-appointed leader of the Mixed Games Movement — a loose organisation committed to promoting poker variants that are not no limit Texas hold’em. Pye is a huge fan of all non-hold’em games, and in this Daily Strategy article gives some advice about how you can also get passionate about Omaha, stud, razz, badugi and everything else. “You should focus on one game and learn all the rules and get your strategy pinned down. Then you can move on to the next one.” Read: Broadening your poker horizons